Festival Summit: Artist fees
Chairs: Kim Bloem, Mojo Concerts (NL) & Sophie Lobl, C3Presents (US)
The perennial question of artist fees was on the agenda at the Festival Summit and it was no surprise that co-chair Kim Bloem of Mojo Concerts in the Netherlands warned delegates that the session would be unlikely to solve the controversial topic. However, there was some light shed on how agents decide on a fee, thanks to insight from Peter Elliott of London-based Primary Talent Agency and David Galea of UTA in the US.
But first, to the matter of how agents perceive festivals. Are they “just another show”? wondered Bloem.
No, said Galea. The exposure has significant importance. But more often than not it’s about convincing them not to play rather than having to convince them to play.
Elliott added that festivals come into play more quickly in an artist’s career these days, and development is faster. Artists often look to play festivals in a new country because of finances and greater exposure.
Are there too many festivals? pondered co-chair Sophie Lobl of C3Presents.
Dany Hassenstein of Switzerland’s Paléo Festival responded that “natural selection” was weeding out the badly managed events. “The question should be: are there enough acts to satisfy all these events? It seems so, because there are festivals running for months in Europe. Will there be enough in the future? That’s the question,” he said.
"...are there enough acts to satisfy all these events?"
Michal Kaščák, of Slovakia’s Pohoda Festival explained he doesn’t have much competition in his home nation, but he does compete for acts with the likes of Roskilde, Werchter and Opener “so if they want an act, I can’t get it,” he said. “We used to spend 33% of our budget on our headliners, now it's 70%,” he continued.
Bloem asked the agents how they set a fee for the artist. Galea responded: “I have a range of fees. Chiefly, radius goes into my thinking. If they come and do a festival, what can they not do around it?”
He explained that sometimes the fee can depend on the opportunity the festival presents, or the act’s touring history in a territory.
The panel considerd the impact of streaming on fees. For some, streaming figures don’t equate to ticket-buying fans. For others, a hot act that’s never come to a territory before but will pick up a lot of media attention could be worth more than one that has been before and done 5,000 tickets.
“Ultimately, it’s what people are prepared to pay for the right opportunity for the artist,” said Elliott.
The Festival Summit 2018 was run in association with: