Digital Music News has obtained an artist agreement offered to an artist for the Illinois location of the amusement park chain Six Flags: Great America for their “Live and Local” series. Needless to say, it’s less than favorable to the artist. Not only must the artist play AT LEAST 5 sets (“no riding rides between sets”), but they will not receive compensation, may not ask for tips and may not have their volume louder than 85db – however it doesn’t specify at what distance that will be measured. But even measured 25 feet away, 85 db is pretty darn quiet. Good luck having a drum kit, or an electric guitar amp. A singer/songwriter, maybe. But that’s still SUPER quiet.
So, what is the artist getting in return for their 5 performances? 10 complimentary tickets. And meal tickets – which must be PURCHASED for $13 a pop! What a deal! The artist does get to retain merch sales. So, there’s that. But playing so quietly, on equipment that the artist must provide, with no sound guy, on no stage with no lights will not make the artist look very attractive to potential merch customers.
Here’s the thing, Six Flags. I get it, many festivals and venues like this don’t pay performers. You’re probably equating this to street performing. But street performers can make tips. 85db is WAY too quiet. Put a rock band in there and measure what a reasonable volume would be. Specify how far away you’re measuring. Provide a stage, sound system and a professional sound engineer. Don’t make full bands lug an entire PA system into the park. That’s annoying. Provide a table for merch. Give the bands an attractive stage in a prominent area of the park with high foot traffic. Provide ample chairs and a section to dance – depending on the kind of band. Give them meal tickets, FOR FREE. Promote the bands on Six Flags’ website – photos, website links, videos, music. Put the bands names/images/bios in the Six Flags program. Pay them SOMETHING – even if it’s just enough to cover gas and the hotel for that night. If done right, bands COULD make a lot of money on tips and merch sales, get decent exposure, and this might be worth it. But as this agreement stands now, this is a joke and quite insulting.
See full agreement below.
Image is by Beyond Neon on Flickr and used with the Creative Commons License