When an artist’s tour manager settles a show, they do accounting and collect payment.
As a part of the process, they crunch the numbers for that night. If it doesn’t match what the promoter rep has in their own accounting, the promoter and TM work together to find the problem.
It’s not typically adversarial – instead it’s two parties who want to verify that everything is accounted for properly. Trust but verify.
Listen now to learn what other situations are worthy of trust but verify – there are a lot of them – so you don’t miss out on money your band rightfully earned!
What you’ll learn:
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starting with settling shows at counter practice is that the promoter is gonna crunch the numbers for that show in a spreadsheet or app that they have, and the tour manager or whoever's representing the band is gonna run the same numbers in their own sheet or app. And then if the numbers match, that's great.
Everything's worked out and everybody's happy. the band hopefully gets paid a nice chunk of change and they part ways, but if they don't match the cause for that difference between the numbers in each settlement [00:01:00] sheet or app or whatever they're using has to be figured out and they keep working on this until both the promoter and the tour manager are happy with the result.
So that's where the classic proverb of trust, but verify comes in because you trust the other party, but you crunch your own numbers just in case, because who knows. They might not be trying to cheat you, but maybe they have an error on their spreadsheet. I've seen it happen. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago, because even if you're not dealing with somebody else, you should have a system of checks and balances for yourself. And specifically, I was repurposing an old Mer sheet from a large metal tour to offer it to the students of my coaching program called road ready.
And this is a merch sheet that was sent to me by an artist manager who I was working with and he had received it. A very famous metal band. I'm not gonna name names, but they were a band that goes around quite a bit. And one of their members spent a couple of years over in [00:02:00] uh, Czechia formerly known as the Czech Republic. So if, if you know about metal, it's that band. As part of kind of revising this sheet, I was trying to make it as simple as possible for my students while still have it with all the features that they need.
So I was making sure everything works properly and that it would be the right sheet for them. And while I was doing that, I found multiple errors in the formulas that they put in the spreadsheet. If somebody had used that spreadsheet, which they did on a very large metal tour, it would've cost them quite a bit of money.
A lot of the numbers were just absolutely wrong. So that was really shocking to me because this was sent to me for use by an artist manager for his own artist and he didn't check it and I never ended up using it because I ended up making my own, which was much more basic for that level of tour.
But. I also realized that it would be nice to have a more advanced sheet out there because it does offer more reporting. So now I have two versions, but anyway, that all aside. The [00:03:00] band that was touring with this probably lost a lot of me money. And this was back in 2009 or 2010 when they were doing that tour.
So hopefully they figured that out. And haven't been using that since. I hope that they've redone this anyway, who knows how much that merchandise manager cost, the act he was working for. It could have potentially been thousands or tens of thousands, or maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on how it all added.
That is why I always check the tools or spreadsheets or whatever it is the first time I use it, I test it to make sure it's accurate. And especially if I'm gonna be sharing them with other people, like if I'm sharing them with my students, I wanna make sure there are zero mistakes in there. So I test everything and you should too.
Don't rely on other people. Don't rely on me. If I send you a spreadsheet, double check it before you use it, because maybe it's not. now I always test my stuff, but still I've gone back and found sheets with mistakes in it. I'm not perfect. so my point is that any time you are gonna do one of [00:04:00] the following, you need to test it.
So if you start using a new tool, which could be an app or a spreadsheet or anything like. Try it out before you put it into use, do a mock show. If it's a merch sheet, pretend to be selling and do your count in your count out whatever you would do for the normal night, do that and make sure the numbers all add up properly.
Because if they don't, there's a problem in it. Same thing. If you get new gear, You got a new amp that sounded amazing on the sales floor at your local music. Well, good, but you probably only played it for like 15, 20 minutes tops. Is it gonna last through a full one hour set?
You want to have it up and running for a full rehearsal and a little extra, a few times to make sure it's not a lemon cuz what if you use it the first time for more than like a few minutes on stage and it dies because there's a faulty power supply that fried itself. That's not what you want to have.
Same thing, going back to spreadsheets, this doesn't even have to be a new spreadsheet. If you modify a spreadsheet, you wanna double check all the functions of that sheet, because what if something you modified [00:05:00] affected another formula? if you're like me, you have formulas going all over the sheet where they just kind of cascade and fill everything out, which is really great.
But if you mess up one little thing, it can amplify that mistake in following formulas. So you wanna be sure that you always double check anything you do after you've made the change to see that it's still doing whatever you're trying to do in the correct way. Same thing goes, if you're settling a show or some other kind of payment, double check, all the numbers, trusting people is really important, but they're gonna understand if you wanna do your own math.
this also means that you need to know how the math and accounting behind whatever it is you're doing work. This is why it's important to learn how a settlement works. Even if you're mainly gonna be doing just a flat guarantee or a basic door deal, you should know how the more complex deals work. So if you have to do one, at some point, you can go through it and make sure that you're getting the money that you're owed. and you're not being cheated out of any payments by the promoter or venue again, [00:06:00] trust, but verify
Another really important place this comes into play is before you sign any contract, always read the entire contract. And if it's a deal for big money, which I would say is more than a few hundred dollars, have an entertainment lawyer, review it for you. You have no idea how many artists have been tricked into signing bad deals?
Just because they were told, oh, it's not that big of a deal. You know, whatever, you can sign it, don't worry about it. And then it ends up being a huge deal. always review the contract. If you have any questions about it, don't ask the person who gave it to you, ask your entertainment lawyer.
Instead, you don't want it to be a conflict of interest. It should not be the same lawyer the other person is using, or the other party. If it's a company, whatever you do get those contracts reviewed, unless it's your own template and you know, nothing at all has been changed.
And if it's your. It should have been drafted by an attorney that you trust and you know, is gonna do right by you. it's that vital to make sure any contract you sign is perfectly [00:07:00] ironclad, which the idea of an iron ironclad contract.
Pretty difficult. Cuz people will always try to poke holes in things but get it as airtight as possible. And that is gonna be the best thing you can do. and yeah, it's gonna cost you money to hire a lawyer, but it is so worth it when you don't end up owning hundreds of thousands of dollars to a record label or somebody else.
Now these are just a few examples, but they're all super important for your band. You never wanna leave money on the table or have an on stage gear failure, sign a bad deal, all of that stuff trust, but verify should rule your band's business. This also expands to being open with your bandmates about the finances of the band, give them that opportunity to trust you, but verify.
You're turning this around and you're verifying to them That you're being honest. You're showing them how things are going in your band. And that is a way to keep them in the loop, even if their eyes glaze over. Doesn't matter, because if you've been open with them from the start, you're creating a healthier [00:08:00] relationship with those bandmates and who doesn't want that.
That does it for this episode of the Bandhive podcast. Thank you so much for tuning and listening. I really appreciate it. And And I hope that this episode has made you think about the ways that you can trust people, but also make sure you are doing the absolute best for your band in an honest way.
So trust, but verify double check, everything people will understand. And this applies to anything, you know, for me, if I sign a rental agreement on a car or a van or something like that, where I sign a lease on an apartment, or I sign a purchase agreement on a car or whatever it is, I'm. I always read the contract and that can take some time and people might get annoyed by it.
Cause they're waiting on me to read this thing before I sign it, but that's what it's there for. It's meant to be read. And I can tell you a specific example of where this has saved me so much money. A few years ago, I was living in LA and I had a 12 month lease on the apartment.
about nine months in. We got a notice from the property manager saying that the rents were [00:09:00] going up in the building. And I said, no way, we have a 12 month lease that says, this is the price. You can't raise the rents during the lease. And we already had tons of issues with that landlord or with that property management company, I should say.
But guess what they wrote back and said, we don't agree with you. We think we can raise the rent anytime. I said, yep. Well, we already moved out. So we're still paying because we're not breaking the lease, but if you break the lease, then we can stop paying. Magically. They said, well, you know what? It's okay, because you're not living there anymore.
We won't raise the rent. You can finish the lease. They finally found somebody else to take the unit so we didn't have to pay anymore. But it was about three months after we moved out that I had to keep paying which that sucked, but I kept my end of the deal. I didn't break the lease. and when I threatened them and said, if you break the lease, then I don't have to keep.
That got them to back down, even though they said they don't agree. The health also realized I'm sure that I was right and they just didn't want to admit it. [00:10:00] And that is why reading contracts is absolutely important. You always need to understand what is in there, because that lets you stand up for yourself.
reading any agreement and verifying all the information accessible to you is one of the best things you can. Long story short, read the lease, read the contract, whatever it is, because if you know what's in there, you can stand up for yourself.
And that is so incredibly important in the music business. If you could take 30 seconds to do me a favor, that would be so appreciated. If you're listening in iTunes or apple podcasts, please go leave a rating and review letting people know what you think of the Bandhive podcast.
That would mean so much to me. And it helps us reach more artists who can learn from the advice that I share on this show. advice that Matt and Aaron have shared on the show. And also the advice that all of our amazing guests have shared on the band.
Hi podcast. So please, if you're an apple podcast or an iTunes, go leave a review and let people know [00:11:00] what you think We'll be back with another brand new episode of the Bandhive Podcast next Tuesday at 6:00 AM Eastern time in your favorite podcast app until then I hope you have a great week stay safe.
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