This article is intended for those in our industry who are responsible for writing the technical specifications of an Artist Contract Rider.
Of course, for those of us on the receiving end of said rider, some of what is presented here might be entertaining, but we receivers earnestly hope the writers will learn - and use - this information to make all our lives (and dispositions) better.
The technical rider provides the client and on-site production staff with a detailed description of exactly what the artist requires in order to perform. Without it, show day just isn’t going to be a pleasant experience.
The benefits of a well-written rider are many. In the first instance, the client needs to know what is expected of them and the rider can often help the client decide, before signing the contract, whether the accumulated cost of the production is a viable business decision.
It also assures that when the artist arrives at the venue, he has a parking place, the labor will be present and the right color of M&Ms are in the bowl.
In addition, the technical rider also provides the production company with the information needed to accurately provide a price to the client. A poorly written rider will usually result in post-contract signing cost add-ons that wreck the client’s budget.
It may even make the difference to the client, when considering which is the right production company to do the job.
Therefore, with proper and accurate detail in writing, the rider facilitates the process of advancing the show, for both the artist, and the production manager. As such, ‘a phone call from the production company to the artist’s representative can be short and sweet, or a long and painful digging process, based on the content of the rider in hand.
This first contact will determine the attitudes of all parties when the hand arrives at the venue on show day. In short, a well-written, accurate technical rider will ensure that game day is smooth, seamless and devoid of unpleasant surprises.
We were actually asked to bid on a show 2,000 miles away based on this totally useless technical rider. (click to enlarge)
Dressing rooms, towels, hospitality and guest lists do not fit the definition of “technical” and these considerations really shouldn’t be included in this portion of the contract, although many of us have had much entertainment over the years from reading them. There are, in fact, websites devoted to these jewels of prose ( for example, see http://www.thesmokinggun.com/backstage).
However, production companies need to know exactly what level of production is required to accomplish the task, and it is via the following details that they can determine what gear should be provided for a given event.
As such, it really isn’t useful to just pluck someone else’s equipment list off a rider and insert it into yours.
Showing up without enough gear just isn’t an option, hut lugging along too much gear is as equally costly to the production company as well.