If you are serious about becoming a live performer, meaning you’ll drag your sorry butt out of the basement and actually find gigs, then you’ll need to get all the proper paperwork in order. If you were to talk to any professional DJ they’ll tell you that there are certain things that are a must before any show, or to get a show for that matter. Maybe you have someone you know who can lend you a stage, no paper work needed, but whenever you would like to expand your territory it is essential to have every single little detail worked on before the time, otherwise you might find yourself in a pickle.
So what paperwork does an aspiring DJ need?
The first and probably most important thing about your career will be getting contracts signed. Why? Simply because without a contract the venue that booked your act will not be legally required to pay you, and even though you might think that “he’s a good guy”, when it comes to money even the best of people can turn into the stingiest moneygrubbers out there. So here’s how you get protected.
First of all you’ll draw up the contract between you and the venue or person purchasing your act. On this contract is needed the date and address of both parties. Also you will state exactly for how long you’ll play from what time to what time and the responsibilities of the person or club before, during and after the show.
Also establish the price to be paid, the dynamics of being paid and so forth. When I talk about dynamics of being paid I simply refer to how the payment will work. I suggest 50% upfront and 50% right before you step on stage. The moment you are onstage and playing your act you pretty much finished your side of the deal, but in many cases clubs will hold the money for as long as they can. So by getting the last 50% just as you step on stage you’ll know that you got what you came for, now you don’t have to worry about money and just about your act.
There are plenty of places where you can purchase a pre-made contract for under $20 USD if you don’t want to write it up yourself. I strongly recommend that you have a tailor made contract fitting your act specifically, meaning that even if you purchase a contract template you should still tweak it to fit you and your act specifically.
Your contract is your security and without it you might find yourself in quite a sham, especially if you really need the money, which when it comes to DJ’s in the beginning of their career is very likely.
So to recap in a short list what you need to put in your contract are the following points:
- Between who and who is the contract (Full names, addresses, signatures)
- What is the service you are selling in detail (time your act starts, how long it will last etc)
- Details of payments (50% upfront, 50% before getting on stage)
- Date of contract/ date of event
I cannot stress enough the importance of getting the damn thing signed, without a signature it will be as useful as toilet paper with words. On the next section we’ll be discussing riders.