So, are you a musical-term maestro or do you need to brush up on your live-music lingo?

Thanks to our good friends at International Entertainment Buyers Association for creating this outstanding live music glossary. Use it to communicate like a true music industry pro!


The Event

Venue: Site where an event or concert is held. Examples include clubs, theaters, auditoriums, arenas, amphitheaters, casino showrooms, and festivals.

Hard Ticket Event: An event to which tickets are sold to the general public and where final payment to the Headline Artist is directly related to how many tickets are sold. Typically, the main source of entertainment is the Artists’ performance(s).

Soft Ticket Event: An event offering several forms and/or days of entertainment for one low-priced (possibly free) ticket, and an Artist’s payment is not connected to the number of tickets sold. Casino shows (which utilize a high number of comp tickets), fundraisers, and private shows are also considered Soft Ticket Events. Soft Ticket Events typically pay a premium price for an artist.


The Players

Headliner: “Largest” Artist performing at an event. Usually the highest paid and the last to perform.

Support: Also known as the opening act(s); Artist(s) that perform prior to the Headline Artist.

Agent: Also known as Booking Agent; represents the Artist for live performances, negotiates performance fees, presents offers to the Artist’s management representative, and passes or confirms offers.

Buyer: Also known as Talent or Entertainment Buyer; negotiates offers and artist contracts on behalf of an event. A buyer is to an event what an agent is to an artist.

Purchaser: Contract verbiage for the Event and/or Event Representative who signs the Artist contract.

Promoter: A person or company that finances and/or organizes an event. Often, the Promoter and the Buyer and the Purchaser are one and the same.

Producer: The verbiage “Producer” varies depending on usage. A Telent/Entertainment Buyer can be considered a Producer. However, in an “agency-issued” contract, Producer refers to the Artist’s company and/or business name.

Tour Manager: Organizer of everything relating to an Artist while “on the road,” including, but not limited to: travel planning & scheduling, show advance, settlement, catering needs, event transportation needs, daily band schedule, production needs/advance (if no Production Manager).

Production Manager: Organizer of everything relating to an Artist’s production and equipment needs/requests while “on the road,” including, but not limited to: stage, sound, lights, backline, backdrop.

Stage Manager: Overall supervisor of an event’s stage and backstage area. Stage managers help ensure that everything stays on schedule the day of an event.


The Process

Checking Avails: The process of researching an Artist’s availability to play an event at a certain location on a specific date.

Placing Holds: The process of reserving tentative dates on a venue’s event calendar and reserving tentative dates on an Artist’s calendar.

Routed Dates: Dates scheduled in a row, in locations that are legally-drivable overnight.

One-Off: An isolated date that doesn’t route with any other date.

Fly date: An event to which an Artist flies to and from.

Offer: A form submitted by an event’s representative to an Artist’s agent outlining the details of the proposed deal including performance fee, date, location, deposit information, ticket prices, etc.

Pass: When an Artist declines an offer.

Confirmed/Confirmation: An Artist’s acceptance of an offer to perform/appear at a specific event for agreed-upon terms.

Contract: Legal document issued by an Artist’s agency outlining the details of the performance agreement.

Deal Points: Specific points of a deal which are material to the negotiation. V.I. P. meet and greets, sponsor mentions in all advertising, security issues, transportation issues may all be considered deal points.

Radius Clause: Stated mileage from an event location that an Artist may not perform publicly within a specified number of days prior to and following said event. For example: “Artist agrees to not publicly perform within 100 miles of event location 90 days prior to and 30 days following said Event.”

Force Majeure: An unexpected and disruptive event that may excuse a party from a contract. This protective clause of a performance agreement helps assure an Artist will be paid in the event of inclement weather, a catastrophic event, or an “act of God.”

Rider: Additional document that adds, alters, or amends the provisions of an associated or attached agreement or contract.

Artist Rider: Legally-binding document attached to an Artist’s contract providing further information regarding an Artist’s requirements concerning their performance.

Venue Rider: Document providing additional details about a venue and/or event’s requirements/requests.

Show Advance/Production Advance: The process of communication/negotiation between Tour/Production Manager(s) and event representatives regarding event details including, but not limited to: production, catering, local ground transportation, day of show schedule.


The Money

Gross Potential: An event’s total gross income from all potential ticket sales. Mathematically, ticket prices multiplied by capacity at each price level.

GBOR: Gross Box Office Receipts.

Net Potential: Gross Potential after Tax.

Expenses: A promoter’s costs associated with promoting and presenting an event including, but not limited to: venue rent, advertising, catering, insurance, security, stagehands, ticket takers & ushers, ticketing & credit card fees. As known as “show costs,” these predetermined line item expenses are accounted for in detail in the event settlement. Applies mainly to hard ticket events.

Variables: Show expenses that are not fixed. Normally, a percentage based on the number of tickets sold or the net potential. For example, rent may be a variable of 10% of GBOR.

Cap: The most a variable expense can reach for the purpose of settling a show. For example: variable rent expense of 10% may be “capped” at a certain figure and that “cap” is the maximum rent allowable for settlement.

Breakeven/Split Point: The monetary point at which all agreed upon event expenses have been covered by ticket sales and, in some cases, at which the promoter and the Artist begin to share the revenues of the event.

Guarantee: Dollar amount an Artist is guaranteed to receive as their performance fee.

Overages/Bonuses: Monies an Artist receives, in addition to their guarantee, as agreed upon in the Artist’s contract.

Flat Guarantee Deal: A performance agreement in which an Artist’s fee is a predetermined dollar amount without the possibility of any additional monies.

Versus Deal: A performance agreement in which an Artist’s fee is either the guarantee or a percentage of the net income, whichever is greater. Typically, the Artist’s percentage is 85% of the net.

Guarantee Plus Percentage Deal: A performance agreement in which an Artist’s fee is the guarantee plus a percentage of the net income. In this scenario, the Artist’s guarantee is included as a line item expense for the purpose of calculating the amount of the bonus, or the bonus percentage is based on a performance benchmark such as a certain number of tickets sold.

Settlement: Process of accounting for all event-related revenue and expenses. Usually takes place after the box office closes on the day of the event. Is used to calculate the event’s profit/loss and, in some cases, an Artist’s final payment.

Walkout: Total amount of money an artist receives as payment for a performance, including the guarantee and/or percentage and any overages or bonuses.


the Tickets

Box Office: Main physical location of event ticketing, usually located in or at the venue.

G.A. Ticket: A “general admission” ticket that allows an attendee access to a designated area of the venue without a specific seat assignment.

Electronic Ticket: An event ticket issued to an attendee electronically, via email or PDF download. Each ticket contains a unique barcode that is scanned as an attendee enters a venue, and then prohibits any duplicate copies from also gaining access.

Comp Ticket: A “complimentary” ticket that allows event admission free of charge.

P.O.P. Ticket: A “pay one price” ticket that allows admission to several different attractions; such as admission to a Fair which also allows attendees access to a nightly concert, live stock show, and rodeo. Used at soft ticket events.

Festival Ticket: A ticket that allows attendees admission to one or multiple days of a festival event. Used at soft ticket events.

Scaling: The number of tickets at each different price level, based on the configuration and layout of the venue.

Kills: Seats that cannot be sold for a particular reason such as production, staging, or sight lines.

Ticket Count: The number of tickets “off the system” at a specific time. Tickets “off the system” includes those sold, comped, killed, and on hold. A ticket count can include the gross dollar amount of all ticket sales at the specific time the count is taken.

Ticket Audit: A detailed report of the status of all event tickets at a specific time. An audit is required to give a ticket count. A final ticket audit is required for settlement on hard ticket events.

Ticket Manifest: A detailed report of all event tickets, including location and price (scaling).

Drop Count: Historically, a count of “ticket stubs” after an event, used to determine attendance. Ticket scanners may provide the drop count, when used.


the Promotion

Announcement: Day (and often time) when an event first announces an Artist’s upcoming appearance.

Ad Break: Date when event advertising begins. May or may not be the same date that the event is announced.

Presents/Welcomes: Designation given to an event’s primary media outlet, granting certain exclusive benefits and privileges.

Billing: How Artist’s names and likenesses are presented in relation to each other, and in relation to other information, in event advertising (print, television, radio, et al).

Sole/Headline Billing: Situations where no other name or likeness appears before, or larger than, the headlining Artist. Used most often with hard ticket events.

Co-Bill/Equal Billing: When Artists are presented equally in advertising.

Festival Billing: Used in situations where there are multiple headlining Artists, and/or when the concert performance is just a portion of the entertainment offered at an event. Headline Artists will still receive prominent placement, however exact placement/size will be determined by the Event.


The Show

Catering: Food and beverages provided at the event by the promoter primarily for working personnel. Catering requests are outlined in detail in most artist riders and are discussed during the advance.

Catering Buy-Out: A negotiated dollar amount paid to an Artist by the promoter in lieu of providing food and beverages at the event.

Bus Stock: Items supplied by the promoter, requested by an Artist, specifically for an Artist’s bus(es). Typically includes ice, food/beverages, paper products, towels, etc.

After Show Food: Artist-requested food and beverages provided by the promoter for an Artist and their staff after their performance.

Local Ground: A passenger vehicle with a driver provided by the promoter to locally transport an Artist and their staff between the venue, hotel, and airport.

Runner: Individual supplied by the promoter on the day of the event to provide Artist(s) with local ground transportation and to run errands for the Artist(s). Typically, the runner must be over 21, sober, and familiar with the area surrounding the venue.

Production: Sound, lights, and stage equipment.

Backline: Band equipment such as amps, drums, keyboards, etc. Normally carried by an Artist on tour but often provided locally by the promoter for a One-Off or Fly Date.

FOH: Front of House. The area where sound and lighting boards are located, normally within 100 feet of center stage.

Monitor World: Area where the monitor board is located, normally stage-right or stage-left.

Stage Plot: Diagram outlining an Artist’s preferred stage set-up for their show, typically included in the Artist Rider.

Input List: Detailed list of where each input (mics, amps, Dis, etc.) should be patched in order to show up correctly on the sound boards.

Sound Check: Process of checking sound equipment to determine that all microphones and other inputs are set-up correctly and that sound levels are appropriate.

Line Check: Process used to determine that all microphones and other inputs are setup correctly, but without checking sound levels.

Meet and Greet: An autograph and/or photo session held with an Artist and fans, contest winners, and others. Typically organized through fan clubs, radio stations, and the promoter/event.

Merch/Merchandise: Artist and/or event goods sold at an event including, but not limited to: t-shirts, caps, key chains, posters, tour books, CDs.

Merch Split: The agreed upon percentages of merchandise sales revenue from an event retained by the venue/event and given to an Artist. Varies by event but typically is 70% to Artist and 30% to Event. On CDs and DVDs, the Artist typically receives 90% of the sales of these items at the event.


Now that you know the vocab, how can you effectively apply these to your music biz? Click below to learn more about how BEM can help get and keep your show on the road.