Negotiating Online Gig Opportunities

– Posted in: Biz Booster Hot Tip! NEGOTIATION
Negotiating Online Gig Opportunities - by Jeri Goldstein     

Many artists are negotiating online gig opportunities with their contacts during these COVID times.

Venues who previously contracted and cancelled gigs, are coming back to the artists to explore hosting a live streaming program or a recorded program to be shared with their audiences.

This is great for the artists. As I mentioned in my Biz Booster, Practical Planning in Our New Reality,

returning to venues where you already had contracts, is a great place to start negotiating online gig opportunities.

Many artists have been getting calls from their contacts to either reschedule the live gig or schedule an online gig.

What many artists are also experiencing is the venue asking to re-negotiate the original terms.

In many cases, they are honoring the originally contracted fees, even though the artists are required to do fewer performance. And, in other cases, since they are asking the artist to do one live streaming or recorded event to be shown to multiple audiences, they want to renegotiate the fee accordingly.

This is a learning period for everyone. For the venues that already contracted with their artists, they still have the money that was originally allocated. But for some, the fiscal year will end, and that funding will be gone. So venues, like libraries and some schools, have been trying to get the gigs in while the money is still available. That’s wonderful!

So how do you think about these negotiating opportunities?

I think you need to start with your value as an artist, first. You are being asked to present the work you do because you offer your unique brand of art, music, etc. Just because you are presenting it in a different format, doesn’t diminish your artistry or what it takes for you to present your art in a different way. In fact, you ought to include a discussion of what it now takes for you to retrofit your presentation.

In many cases, as artists up their tech skills, they are the ones educating the venues as to what is possible and how to execute those possibilities. As artists, you need to value your own training and consider that within your pricing. What you are now bringing to the table is enabling many venues to remain valuable to their audiences.

Kudos to you as you buy new equipment, learn new technologies and create new program offerings to fit the times.

One of the situations that keeps coming up in my conversations with artists, is the one where now the venue wants to have one either live streaming event or recorded event to be presented to multiple audiences. And since these events are now or will be recorded, they want them to remain available for viewing beyond the event date.

Some might consider re-negotiating the fee as one presentation rather than the 4 or 5 or more that were originally contracted. And for so many artists, having one gig instead of no gig, is likely to be very attractive.

But I would encourage you to have the broader conversation of what it takes to create a great presentation online, so their audience can enjoy it. This could help set you up for a value conversation that allows you to receive a fee closer to the original fee for each of the venues in the original contract.

Then, I would suggest setting a time limit for how long any one live, now recorded streaming or pre-recorded program can be accessible by their audience. One week seems to be the going time frame.

If you are starting from scratch with a completely new contract and date, then build into your pricing consideration for the tech set up necessary for you to present your show now.

Before you had load-in and set-up, sound and light check and load-out to consider, not to mention getting to the venue. Now you have the set-up of your in-house recording and presentation technology, advance planning with the venue for your linking to the various tech presentation platforms, and possibly educating the venue presenters about how best to work with you using these platforms.

If you received travel and expenses on top of your gig fee, well that is one of the venue’s budget items that they are now saving.

Another consideration is ticketing. Are any of the newly online programs being ticketed or are they free programs to the audience. Make sure that you get the new numbers for each case. If before you were performing in a 500-seat theater and now, even though tickets are being sold, but only 100 can possibly attend, then that must be taken into account, when renegotiating. The opposite is also true. If there were seating limitations before, but now the theater is only limited by the streaming platform limitations, then that needs to be reviewed.

Negotiations have taken on a whole new life in this situation. But negotiation is still all about building your relationships, getting the facts from the venue or buyer and knowing your own specifics to present your best performance. You still need to be specific about your budget and your needs.

Now that you might be negotiating online gig opportunities, make sure you consider all the new factors involved in presenting in the streaming or pre-recorded format.

Most of all, make sure you make your case to the presenter of how much you are helping them stay relevant to their audiences while their venues are closed for live performances. That is the key argument for getting the fees you deserve.

How are you negotiating during this time period? How have you managed any new negotiations for online gig opportunities?

Leave me a comment below.

I can’t wait to hear about your success.

Now, Thanks to the Band Curfew from the UK for providing the Biz Booster theme Music, Future Dance.

And for more career boosting tips, articles, books, resources, tele-seminars and online courses, visit me at

1 comment… add one
  • Norm Farnum July 3, 2020, 2:44 pm

    Great points here to be considered. We had about half-dozen gigs cancelled and many others simply stop or not booking at this time. Of those that did cancel, about half rescheduled, and here in Missouri, we’re beginning to book some new once again.

    One good occurrence: now we’re doing a weekly Facebook Live presentation: Fiddlin’ Friday at Five. Come check it out!

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