Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What is a back end deal?

FUCK BACK END DEALS!  Fuck em right in the face.  One of the things that makes me more angry than almost any other thing that agencies try to pull is the infamous "Back End Deal".  I fucking hate it, and it's a scam.  It is basically robbery.

The idea of a back end deal is that if your night is a success, you will pay the headliner an extra bonus at the end of the night.  The theory behind it is that the headliner's popularity was the reason your night was a success.  I call 100% bullshit on that theory.  If the night was a success, it was because of the months of promoting that the promoter did, and the years of hard work it took for that promoter to build their fanbase and following.  Sure, the headliner is a big reason why people come out to the show, but for the most part, no headliner is going out of their way to raise awareness in a region 7 states away from their home town.  They may make a facebook post about the show that night, but they are not doing any extra work on the event other than performing.

The reason it truly pisses me off though, is because it is so one-sided.  There is no "front end deal".  By the logic of a back end deal, wouldn't a flop show entitle me to a refund, assuming that the headliner's lack of popularity made the party lose money?

I have cancelled bookings and almost blacklisted entire agencies for not dropping the back end deal clause in their contracts when I negotiate with them.  As with anything I say, this is all just my opinion and experience.  You may feel differently, or have a logical explanation for back end deals, but I say FUCK NO!!!


After posting this, I had a little bit of light shed on the subject.  As I said before, I just write on my personal experience and opinions, but 2 big DJs hit me up with some knowledge...

DJ number one, who I'm not sure wants to be quoted said, "B
ackend deals attached to a fee that is normal for the artist is def bull shit, so I see where you are coming from there. But back end deals that are attached to a below average fee are there to lower the risk on the promoter, and are very useful for artists to get more dates on a tour.  I have back end deals on tours where if we dont hit the numbers, I barely make enough money to cover expenses. But if the events sells out, then I think I am entitled to more for assuming that risk."

Jody from Hellfire Machina says, "My experience of the Back End Deal is very different to yours I think.  I love them personally. I've used them to bring down the fee of an artist (and lessen the risk) during negotiations with the agency. That way if the night does well everyone's smiling, and if doesn't, the loss isn't as much. It works well for breaking established artists in new territories and also when stacking lineup's. So there is a front end deal, it's just unwritten.  It's the lower fee in exchange for the back end bonus."


Basically what I got out of this is that a back end deal can actually be beneficial to the promoter.  That is to say if the DJ cut you a major deal on a lower booking fee in the first place.  So essentially the DJ wants to know that if the promoter made a fat stack of cash on the night, the DJ is not getting fucked since he gave them such a great deal on the booking fee.  But if there is no lowered fee in the first place, but they have a standard back end clause, tell them to go fuck their mothers.

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