Magazine article International Musician

Crossing Borders: Why Bad Things Happen to Good Artists

Magazine article International Musician

Crossing Borders: Why Bad Things Happen to Good Artists

Article excerpt

It is often the things we are unaware of, or the things that slip through the cracks, that can cause bad things to happen to good artists. In the ever-changing and complex world of performance, today's artist, especially a touring artist, must keep abreast of new regulations and be aware of the basic requirements for contracts, touring, visas, work permits, withholding, and taxation. Here are the most important considerations for any artist:

1) Time Is Paramount: Many artists are not aware of the amount of time needed to prepare and finalize all of the necessary paperwork in today's performing arts industry. The time required for promoting you and/or your group for performances, taking auditions, participating in showcases, making connections, utilizing social media, etc., may be longer than you think. I have known artists who have worked hard at promoting themselves and are only starting to reap the benefits three to five years later. Getting established in the arts is a long-term commitment.

In addition, the time it takes to negotiate and get a signature on a contract can be prolonged for many reasons. You need to consider all the steps that must be completed to enable the contract to be realized, from applying for and receiving a visa, to dealing with withholding regulations. Give yourself enough time to accomplish your goals.

2) The Devil Is in the Details: An artist must understand what a contract says and/or implies and the two parties to a contract must communicate openly and candidly to avoid confusion. For example, a contract may state what the fee will be, but, in addition, an artist should ask: in what currency the fee will be paid?; will it be paid by cash or check?; exactly when will it be paid (before the performance date; the day of the performance-before or after; a week after the performance, etc.)?; and what happens if the currency loses its value due to weakening of the currency? …

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