Kickbacks to a venue

Posted In: Performing

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    janna-bisceglia on #199616

    I recently moved to a new area and started contacting venues to drop off my brochure and card. A venue responded asking me what my rates were and what percentage I offered the venue that was “sponsoring me”. I’ve never run into this before with a venue and am a bit confused. Have any of you?

    I’m going to call and see if they act more like a booking agent where I am a subcontractor, or if they simply expect a kickback when a client books me on their recommendation. Would there be any legalities surrounding that?

    janna-bisceglia on #199617

    I should specify that this is the context of wedding venues.

    Sylvia on #199642

    Had to laugh a little, but it’s not funny.  Years ago, I went a couple of times to a ranch setting (B&B) for outdoor weddings.  (TX)  I charge more for outdoor and distance, but still….not a whole lot there money-wise.  Then the lady approached me and said that if I got more jobs there, I should be giving them a cut.  I informed her how much I made by going there, and that was the end of the conversation…and the last time I went.  I never got a call from anyone for a wedding at that place again…don’t know if she caused that, or if it would have happened anyway.  I wondered how much she wanted, but I didn’t ask.    How cheap can they be?  They saw all the work involved in schlepping a harp, setting up, setting up an amp, changing clothes, tuning, (and doing it all in reverse to leave) and then they wanted to rip off part of what little I was making. That’s the only time it ever happened to me, thank goodness.

    Personally, I would not give a kickback, but maybe that’s the standard in some areas.  I’d be interested in knowing what part of the country you are in.

    janna-bisceglia on #199648

    Well, I’ve now had the response of two other wedding venues and one even offered to link to my website, with no mention of kickbacks, so maybe the one place is something of a fluke. I’m in NE Washington (Spokane area).

    Sylvia on #199674

    Wow.  That’s great.  A link to their website is wonderful.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #200190

    It’s a common practice in some areas, though it is likely illegal. The idea is that you are bribing, I mean paying you so that you have an exclusive ability to work there, but I wonder if you can get that in writing. It is disgusting. But if it is a nonprofit venue, like a performing arts center or organization, making donations would be gratefully appreciated and might encourage more bookings without being illegal about it. In addition, a caterer who books you for a reception that they have, if they are paying you, they may well be charging the client double your fee and keeping the rest. I have long thought that harpists should figure out a way to be the one on top, not on bottom. On the other hand, paying a commission/tip to someone for booking you is not unheard-of. If you were booking florists, for example, to work the weddings you are arranging, a commission would be appropriate, in a way. It’s dicey, but the main point is knowing ahead of time, I guess. It’s all in how they do it.


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