An article from CMU today casts an alarming spotlight on the plight of the live music scene and the pitfalls which are preventing both venues, promoters and artists from recovering in the post-COVID world. Whilst recognising that different geographical areas will emerge from the crisis at different times, it is even with the knowledge that concerts are even possible to arrange that problems raise their head alarmingly:
“Aside from artist guarantees in 2021 likely to be around 20% lower than what had been agreed for 2020 shows, there could also be changes with payment terms. Although perhaps most interesting is what the memo says about cancelled shows.
For shows cancelled due to poor ticket sales – possibly as a result of ongoing COVID-19 concerns among the fanbase – the artist will only get 25% of their fee. With shows cancelled due to ‘force majeure’ – which means major unforeseen events including, of course, a second spike of COVID – the artist would get no fee at all. That would also apply if a change to physical distancing rules made a show unviable.
Meanwhile, “if an artist cancels its performance in breach of the agreement, the artist will pay the promoter two times the artist’s fee”. Which is quite a bold demand. And with all that in mind, artists are being told that they should seek their own cancellation insurance. Assuming they can afford to do so as insurance premiums shoot up.
The Live Nation memo concludes: “We are fully aware of the significance of these changes, and we did not make these changes without serious consideration. We appreciate you – and all artists – understanding the need for us to make these changes in order to allow the festival business to continue not only for the artists and the producers, but also for the fans”.