Live music venues are everywhere – coffeehouses, pizza joints, bistro’s and taco huts, to name a few places where you can see live music in many towns. Basically, if a store can find a corner to fit a few people in, they often become instant music venues.
This is good for musicians looking for places to practice their chops or build an audience, but it also means doing business with places that don’t really see themselves in the business of promoting shows. The result can be frustration and misunderstanding.
Contracts are used in business to clarify and preserve the agreement between two people or businesses, or between a business and its customer. That;s really all they are – a statement of the agreement.
Yet, for some reason, many people are afraid of using them. To me, that’s suspicious. Because the only legitimate reason a venue would be reluctant to put the agreement in writing is so they won’t be obliged to honor it.
A written contract is smart. It makes sure that everyone understands what the terms are and keeps things from being forgotten. Even if you don’t use a formal contract, you should always send a memo confirming the gig and listing all the terms. The state that the venue should notify you immediately if it believes the terms are incorrect.
This will make it less likely a venue will try to weasel out of paying you, and if they do try, this will help to get things straightened out.