This fact sheet will cover processes that will set you up for success, engaging in contracts that protect you, invoice terms (what to include) and what to do in the event that you are owed money for a performance.
A contract is strongly recommended, and the Live Music Office has some great templates. If an invoice isn't appropriate due to the nature of the show then at a minimum there should be an agreement over email.
In lieu of a contract it is important to have in writing:
Venue/festival booker and venue manager’s name, phone number and email address
Load in, sound check and performance times
Date and method of pay - how much you will be paid and the type of deal the show will work on, any venue hire fees
If applicable: ticket price and ticketing details
Other things that you should consider include:
Merchandise arrangement, and whether there is a split with the venue
Whether the venue has backline
Production expectations - it is important to know whether you will be required to pay for a lighting operator and/or sound person
The terms of an agreement vary depending on the nature of the gig, but some common arrangements are:
50% upon agreeing to do the gig and 50% within 14 days of doing the gig.
Musicians Australia has also campaigned for a $250 minimum fee based on a ‘3-hour call’ as set out in the Live Performance Award. This requires that musicians are paid between $150-200 for a 3-hour call, and an additional $50-100 in allowances (eg. set up time, meals, supply of instruments, and travel).
While you may be asked to play for free or for in exchange of goods such as clothes or alcohol, it is important to put a value on your time and the labour of your performance, as well as everything leading up to it.
Some venues may also ask for a percentage of your merch takings. It is important to be made aware of this in advance so that you can make appropriate considerations such as increasing the price of your merch. If the venue does take a cut of your merch, ensure that they provide you with facilities including: a merch seller (paid either by yourself or the venue) and a well-lit merch table. You should also enquire regarding EFTPOS facilities and organise a float if you want to take cash.
It is necessary to invoice for your services. A Tax Invoice must contain the following:
Though it's not required by law, all small businesses should consider having Public Liability insurance to protect themselves against personal injury caused to a third-party or damage to property. Some festivals and venues may even write this as a requirement of performing with them in their contract.
Recommended insurance providers:
AON – Music Victoria Essentials members and above receive discounts on Public Liability (with or without Equipment & Instrument insurance), as well as Equipment & Instrument insurance (with or without Public Liability)
If there is anything you would suggest to be added to this document please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to set up an ABN for your music industry business/practice through the Australian Business Register's website.
Writing for Music Industry Inside Out, music/arts accountant Scott Maughan has put together a comprehensive how-to guide for musicians and music workers trying to navigate their yearly tax return. Click here to view the guide.
Click here to use the ATO's home office expenses calculators to work out your claim for work-related expenses you incur as a result of work you do from home as an employee.
Click here for moneysmart.gov.au's Budget Planner Template.
This budget template enables you to:
work out where your money is going
create your own custom items
change the currency
White has created the following documents to assist Music Industry Professionals with their Financial Wellbeing: