#TBT Thinking Ahead On Overscale

While the post-pandemic environment may not seem like an opportune time for musician stakeholders to think about overscale, rest assured, it is.

If you aren’t familiar with individual overscale agreements, these are the contracts that certain orchestra musicians utilize to negotiate terms above and beyond those set forth in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). They are negotiated outside the auspices of the CBA between the musician and the association. In short, individually negotiated overscale is the vehicle that allows orchestras to be competitive when attracting and retaining specific talent.

If nothing else, the pandemic has moved orchestras into fertile territory they have traditionally resisted, such as finally seeing the value in remote and hybrid work scenarios. Another has been assessing musician value on qualities beyond traditional benchmarks and rewarding them for putting those skillsets into action for the organization.

Prior to the pandemic, employers either turned a blind eye or wanted employees to provide those skills without any additional renumeration. Funny how quickly that tune can change when demands shift. To that end, I wanted to highlight a post from 2015 that dispels three myths about the black arts of overscale negotiation because the last thing a musician should want to do in this climate is inadvertently leave money on the table.

Three Big Mistakes To Avoid When Negotiating Overscale

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

Related Posts