As requested by various persons. There are some tables on the original that haven't formatted properly but you get the idea-
Universal record labels have developed this guide to clarify what we need from you in order to speedily process tour support requests. The recommendations we make in this guide should help us both through what can sometimes be a difficult process, particularly where support is being requested for the first time.
As we are all aware, live work can be a key tool in helping to break an artist. Tour support exists to help make up the difference between costs and income. As we all know the early stages of an artists live career are rarely profitable. The main principal underpinning the evaluation of a request for tour support is a simple question: Is the shortfall a good investment for both the artist and the label?
To answer this question many issues have to be considered. Examples of these might include: Does the artist have records to promote in that particular territory? Is the tour relevant to where the artist is currently positioned in the market? Other factors might include venue size, other artists on the bill, location of venues, timing of the tour and likely sales and promotional benefits that will arise.
In order for us to collate the information we need to undertake a necessary assessment, we require as much lead-up time as possible.
2 TOUR SUPPORT OR PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITY?
Touring is different from a promotional appearance. We consider a performance to be ‘touring’ if it takes place before an audience or tickets are available for the same. If the appearance is in a TV or radio studio it is likely to be promotional only and you should submit similar budgets to our promotional department for this work. We will scrutinise these budgets in the same way as tour support requests.
It does not make any difference to the recoupability of a project if it was suggested or requested by a Universal department or territory. We require all managers and artists to be aware of Universals recoupment policy and to understand whether any upcoming project will impact on the artists balance.
Here are some additional bullet points that form the foundation of how we view recoupability throughout Universal. If you are in doubt about any aspect of recoupment policy then either contact your business affairs department or Universal Creative Services Department via email at CreativeSD@aol.com.
2.1: Showcases: We consider any showcase event as a fully recoupable activity - except any intended purely for label personnel only. All costs relating to the performance elements (lights, sound, rehearsals, wages, equipment hire, etc) will have to be budgeted out and applied for in the normal way of tour support. All other costs being (bar tabs, catering etc) being a marketing costs. Venue hire may be split but this is done on a case-by-case basis.
2.2: Schools & ‘PA’ tours: These are viewed as recoupable tours like any other.
2.3: In-stores: Events inside record stores are a non-recoupable activity.
2.4: Musician & crew wages and conditions: Universal has strict guidelines on all wage levels and conditions for all musicians. It is vital you do not enter into any arrangements before discussing them with us first. We will want anyone working for our artists to agree to policies on hotels, pd’s, travel and other matters. Please discuss these with us prior to entering negotiations as to do otherwise can cause difficulties.
2.5: Radio & TV projects: Your relevant promotions department will usually agree to fund an event with an over-riding and fundamental broadcast element (ie, Radio One session, Later, TotP, etc). Always gain confirmation in advance from your promotions department that they agree to accept any related costs. These budgets will be scrutinised in the same way as touring.
2.6 International: It is important to understand that while a request may come in for an artist from any territory, that territory will assume you are aware of the recoupable impact (i.e. if its showcase gig it would still be recoupable even though they asked for it). If in any doubt please contact your Business Affairs department and we will clarify things for you. If it is amongst a complicated tour schedule we will take a view, so you can decide if it is a viable proposition for your artist.
2.7: Rehearsals & Auditions: It is good practice to assume that any audition, rehearsal, live or start-up activity will have a recoupable aspect. We strongly recommend that for the avoidance of any doubt about an upcoming project you check with Business Affairs as to the relevant recoupability.
2.8: Confirmation of tour support (side letter): With tour support, only the receipt of a side letter from Business Affairs offering support for a particular project can be regarded as confirmation a Universal record label will contribute. Until that time we can accept no responsibility for any costs you may incur. To be clear, until any project has been put before those that sign-off and subsequently approved, it remains just an idea. Further, there is no shortcut to the sign-off process and any commitments made by an artists or manager prior to a side letter being issued is entirely at their own risk. (NB: see section 11 of this guide for more details).
2.9: Payments: In general, with any recoupable activity we give the artist or management the funds to meet an agreed budget (75% upfront, the rest on accounts). With marketing, TV and Promo funds these are generally met by that department unless it is more practical to do otherwise. This might be when we have tour that is diverted for example and we can accept one invoice to cover a whole range of pre-agreed costs. (NB: see section 11 of this guide for more details).
We do not book, confirm, pay or guarantee anything direct, but rather supply the artist with the funds to do the job.
2.10: Claiming residues (remaining 25%’s): In your side letter it will state that you have 120 days from the end of the tour to submit accounts, after which time any residue is forfeited.
3. WHAT INFORMATION DO WE NEED?
Initially we need three sets of information:
1) A full ‘activity diary’.
2) A complete costings breakdown.
3) Comprehensive details of all income.
We will go through these areas to clarify each section.
3.1 Example of ‘Activity Diary’: An inexperienced manager might put together a diary such as this for a band from Leicester using two crew:
Aug 1 Rehearsal
10 Day off
To provide the sort of information we all need and to assist in planning and evaluation, the diary should look like this:
DATE ACTIVITY VENUE CAP/ CREW AFTER SHOW COMMENTS
Sat 1 Aug
Rehearsal Leicester 1 crew Home TM/FoH joins tour for pre –production
Sun 2 Aug Rehearsal Leicester 1 crew Home
Mon 3 Aug
Rehearsal Leicester 3 crew Home
1x twin Backline & Mons pick up splitter and travel to Leicester
Tues 4 Aug King Tuts Glasgow 450 Hotel
Weds 5 Aug Manchester University 550 Home
Thurs 6 Aug Big Jobs Birmingham 600 Home
Fri 7 Aug Donkeys Bristol 500 Hotel
Sat 8 Aug Plymouth University 1200 Hotel
Sun 9 Aug Reading University 1100 Home Backline & Mons travel back to London
Mon 10 Aug DAY OFF DAY OFF OFF DAY OFF DAY OFF
Tues 11 Aug Astoria II London 1600 Hotel
Whether it is a new band or a big Euro tour for an established artist, the principle is the same. We can understand the movements of people, calculate the hotel nights and see what is happening. This is also invaluable to Press and Promotions in order for them to maximise activity, and therefore make the tour itself a more viable and valuable investment.
3.2 Costings breakdowns: These come in many forms and we will resist offering a template or standard sheet for anyone to use. The differences are actually quite useful in order to see how thorough the planning has been. We provide comprehensive and clear guidelines on all areas of costs and how to show them in sections 5 to 10 of this guide.
3.3 Income statement: Although budgeting works on the principle of guarantees, we also need to know percentage breaks, venue capacities and other incomes such as buy-ons or sponsorship. This way we have an idea as to possible reduction in costs achieved when the accounts are finally reconciled prior to any final payment. An example of how this might be shown is set out below:
DATE VENUE CAP INCOME
Sat 1 Aug Bath Moles 300 £200 (plus £1 per ticket after 200- max £300)
Sun 2 Aug Bristol Bierkeller 750 £550 (plus 50% after first £2500- max £850)
Mon 3 Aug Exeter University 450 £200 flat plus hotel
Tues 4 Aug Minehead Roadmenders 120 £150 (plus 50% after first £500- max £200)
A more advanced tour income statement might look like this:
DATE VENUE CAP INCOME
Sat 1 Aug Paris La Cigalle 2000 £3500 against 80:20 (max £5200)
Sun 2 Aug Lyon Festival 15000 £4750 flat plus flights and hotels
Mon 3 Aug Hamburg Markthalle 2100 £3000 against 85:15 (max £7725) plus flights
Tues 4 Aug Milan Roadmenders 1200 £2000 against 90:10 (max £2250)
We reserve the right to request information from the agent about actual incomes when reconciling the final accounts.
4 DELIVERING THE BUDGET
By far the best practice is to get the budgets in as early as possible. These should be faxed to your relevant Business Affairs department (all contact fax numbers are in the back of this guide) within a few days of the proposed tour dates arriving from the agent. Sending a request for tour support two weeks prior to leaving on a headline tour is poor practice. Even small venues are booked or held months in advance, so budgets should follow shortly after.
We take the view that there is no excuse for confirming a show prior to discussing it with Universal. If given a budget after dates have already been announced we absolutely set aside the fact that the band are exposed to costs and review the budget in the normal way. Any shortfall this may create is entirely the bands own. We therefore must underline that you must consult with us prior to confirming any activity that requires tour support.
We have in the past received requests for shows that had already happened. We would rarely, if ever, pay tour support in retrospect.
We feel that the best practice is to clear the budget early on so that everybody can move on to the creative aspects of the tour. We recognise that this is not always possible and will move as quickly as we can in extraordinary circumstances.
For international tours, the budgets should be sent to both our International department and Business Affairs
4.1 The sign-off process. All tour support is approved in the same way. Your budgets go to Business Affairs (as laid out above) where they are logged and forwarded to our tour support consultants. They will scrutinise the costs and diaries and make a recommendation. Business Affairs will then seek approval from the company’s MD, Finance Director, Legal Director and any other relevant director (i.e. International, Marketing). It is these people who have the right to approve tour support and no one else.
Only when the tour support request is approved is a side-letter issued by Business Affairs. That letter should be signed and returned (usually by those who have signed the original recording contract) along with an invoice for 75% of the agreed amount upfront (plus VAT).
There is no alternative to the sign-off process and no money can leave the building until the side-letter has been returned signed.
It is important to be aware that with a large request, or when cumulatively a band has used significant funds, the sign-off will also be automatically referred to the group CEO.
5-10 BUDGET BREAKDOWNS
5 TRANSPORT & ACCOMMODATION
5.1 Flights: As with most of these guidelines, clear information is key. With a proper activity diary we can see what is happening and develop a clear understanding of the movements of personnel. Larger acts should prepare these details carefully and supply quotes for the airfares from a recognised industry travel agent.
5.1(a) Excess baggage allowances. These can prove very expensive (often 1% of full first class fair per kilo) and should only ever be used for minor items in extraordinary circumstances. If not for equipment then it’s a band cost, not tour support.
5.2 Buses: This cost should be broken down per day (including ‘dead’ days to and from the depot, if any) and include the usual driver pd’s and fuel (ferry costs should be shown separately if needed). As this is often a major expense, we do require that if over £5000 then a full quote from the company concerned has to accompany the budget. In some cases we will ask that other bus companies be asked to quote.
5.3 Van/Splitter: for smaller bands this can work out a cheaper option. Again, a per day rate should be shown. Please be aware that delivery costs can mount up and shopping around can save hundreds of pounds on even a short tour.
5.4 Fuel: This should be based on costs per gallon, estimated total mileage and average mpg for the vehicle concerned. A diesel splitter does about 20/25 mpg. Please be realistic!
5.5 Taxis and trains: These should be broken down.
5.5(a) Pick-up points: In most respects, even very well established bands view getting to and from a pick-up point, joining or leaving a tour as the musicians’ or crew members’ own responsibility that goes with the job.
5.5(b) Non-local crew: Using non-local crew can prove prohibitively expensive and we need enough information to take a view as to whether it is financially viable.
5.5(c) Rehearsals: I do not expect to see incidental travel to and from rehearsals in a budget. If however, some large equipment needs to be moved then we can take a view on that.
5.6 Tolls & parking: Not unreasonable if related to the activity.
5.7 Hotels: With the activity diary we can calculate how many nights are needed. We do not pay for single rooms on a loss making tour except for the TM, if necessary. We also feel it is reasonable for the main performer to have a single if the demands on their time due to additional commitments warrant it – e.g. for press work, or if the female/male ratio is uneven. if a sleeper bus is being used, the odd day room is not unreasonable, but more than that will have to be clearly shown in the diary.
6 WAGES & PER DIEMS
The over-riding thing to remember is that we have to be consulted prior to any wage structure being offered to musicians and crew.
There are four main bullet points to remember:
1 – We expect one rate for travel/production/rehearsal days, another rate for showdays. Business Affairs will put you in contact with our tour specialist to discuss realistic rates for your act.
2 – We would not pay high rates for a new act, but expect deals that grow with the bands success. We can discuss when relevant re-negotiation points might be (i.e, at top 10 single and again at top 10 album).
3 – It will be important when negotiating that company guidelines on hotels, pd policy, etc are accepted.
4 – With all TV & Radio activity two things will apply: (1) we work a top-up system for wages as (i.e., if the muso is on £175 a showday and gets £140 from the TV, they can invoice us for the difference of £35). (2) Cars policy for London based personnel doing London TV & Radio projects is that we only provide transport before 8am and after 8.30pm.
6.1 Musicians: Session musician rates vary enormously. We stress that to agree to rates before clearing the budget with us can lead to serious problems. If additional musicians are required please lay out your justification for this. Again, these costs should be per day, but as with crew, rates for, travel, production days and rehearsals are different. Full and proper invoices from the musicians will be required for the final accounts.
6.2 Crew: You should tell us how the amount of crew you need has been calculated. Also, rates for rehearsals, travel and production days and the days each crew member starts and stops are needed.
6.3 Merchandisers: As we do not get involved in the income, please do not ask us to take onboard any of the related costs.
6.4 Per diems: In a shortfall situation we are quite clear on this point. Pd’s for the UK are a maximum of £15pd, £15pd in Europe and ROW, £20pd in North America and Japan, in exceptional circumstances they may be more. We do not pay pd’s for rehearsals (except for those who might be in hotels or away from home), nor do we pay them for home town shows. Any more that these amounts are not a matter for tour support and will have to come from the bands own funds.
7.1 Pre & post production: These may not be unreasonable given that we are saying that proper planning is crucial to us both. It will always depend on the length and complexity of the tour. A TM or production manager for some set-up time should be shown in the budget. We would not pay the usual touring rate (see wage notes above).
7.2 Rehearsals: If a rehearsal period is needed then we need a breakdown of the room cost per day, as well as how the crew are to be used and gradually brought in.
7.3 Equipment purchase: This is a difficult area in that purchases made will form an asset of the band after the tour. Our view is generally that acts should have the tools of their trade – but that these should be funded from advances. We do not buy capital assets from tour support.
7.4 Equipment hire: Often necessary, but two areas crop up regularly. Firstly, session musicians should have the tools of their trade. However, if there is something specific that derives from the recordings this can be negotiated. Secondly, flight cases should be part of a normal band’s assets. It will often be better for a band in the long run to buy these items from its own funds. As hire gear works out at about 1/20th of the purchase price per day, long tours require some good planning, as items can be bought and then re-sold, or longer-term strategies worked out. Whatever else occurs, quotes will be needed along with full breakdowns of costs.
7.5 PA/Lights/Monitor rigs: If you are carrying a whole rig with you this should be explained in view of the overall costs. Has it affected the income? How would it affect the overall costs given the increases in transport, crew etc if you were to use house rigs? We obviously need precise information in this area. If it is just a set of wedges or an ear system for the vocalist, then you should show this under equipment hire.
7.6 Spares: Strings, batteries, sticks, comestibles etc. an amount per rehearsal and show day should be shown.
7.7 Trucking: Only relating to PA/lights/mons rigs, costs for trucking should be fully quoted for, or itemised in the quote from the PA company if they are doing it.
7.8 Shipping/Freight: I need to see ‘per kilo’ costs or quote from recognised music freighters. Much cheaper than excess baggage, but more time consuming. Has to be viewed against cost of local hire.
7.9 Catering: In normal circumstances in a shortfall situation this would be left to the rider and the pd’s. If there is catering this should be reflected in reduced PD’s as you cannot justify both.
7.10 Tour advertising costs: As with buy-ons (item 8.5 below) tour ads are a cost like any other and if you intend to advertise over and above the normal promoters input this must be put in the budget. Ad spends made in unison with your own marketing department (or tour promoters) will also be recouped as tour support. If the ads refer to another venture, like a single release then we may take a view about how this needs to be split.
7.11 Phone/Mobile: We fully recognise that these bills can mount up and a realistic allowance in this area should be included. For accounts we will generally allow these as disbursements.
7.12 Laminates & itineraries: We do require proper full itineraries in good time for those at the record company. Do not underestimate the focusing effect on everyone as to what the band are doing and the marketing, press and promotional opportunities that might be gained from circulating itineraries.
7.13 Visas: For some countries these can take many weeks to prepare and can also prove expensive. A quote from a recognised music industry source (i.e. Traffic Control) should be included. Please note that many problems arise with non-EEC foreign nationals starting their career in the UK. If in any doubt as to a musician’s status please make sure that you have spoken to an immigration lawyer before assuming everything will be ok. The fact that the band are signed to a UK company, or that the rest of the band are UK nationals means very little to the DoE and work permits can prove impossible or at best difficult to obtain.
7.14 Carnets: Now that we are members of the EEC these are mostly a thing of the past for European tours. Remember, certain European countries are not part of the EEC. It is best to check this out with a talk to a specialist if you are going through Switzerland (even if you are not playing there) or Scandinavia. For the RoW they are still a must and care should be taken to get this organised in very good time.
8 BUSINESS COSTS
8.1 Insurance (cancellation): There are many recognised music insurers who will give you the full quote we need. If the insurance has been taken out for the year, and not all of your touring needs support, then a reasonable equation of how it is proportioned will need to be shown.
8.2 Insurance (health & travel): We do not contribute to normal business health and travel insurance. This is a matter for the band as part of their normal business model.
8.3 Insurance (equipment): We do not contribute to equipment insurance. This is a matter for the band as part of their normal business model.
8.4 Accounting: We do not approve large bills in this area. You can claim for a maximum of £100 per £10,000 (or part of) contribution towards this cost as a disbursement. The accounts we need are generally compiled by either tour managers or managers as part of their normal responsibilities. Anything in excess of this is matter for the bands own business model.
NB: We do reserve the right to request that the artists accountant provide a letter stating their approval of any accounts we receive.
8.5 Buy-ons given: If a buy-on is needed for a support slot it will form a recoupable cost on the tour like any other. These are sometimes called ‘ad contributions’ or ‘production contributions’ but we view them as buy-ons just the same.
8.6 Management costs: The artist’s management costs are not a matter for tour support. As with other areas of activity such as A&R, we take the view that we have our business model with our artist and the manager has theirs – including avenues to recoup costs from their artist for expenses incurred.
9.1 Buy-ons received and sponsorships: We regard this as income to be put against expenditure like anything else and this must be included in working out the shortfall.
9.2 TV and broadcast fees: If the band are in a shortfall situation, we expect all TV & broadcast income to be used to offset any losses. If the musicians are getting paid for the TV, we operate a ‘top-up’ system where if they are earning less than their minimum rate for a showday we will top it up, but if its more then those fees take the place of that days income from recoupable funds.
9.3 Merchandising: If income for merchandising buy-outs or license agreements has been acquired, or terms accepted, by the band to cover the period of activity in question we need to be made aware of this so that a reasonable proportion can be dedicated as income.
9.4 Gig fees: These must be shown prior to any deductions for taxes or any commissions. Further, as shown earlier, any profit break that may come in must be shown, but the shortfall is calculated on guarantees.
9.5 PRS incomes: These are clearly shown on the contract costs breakdown and must be included as we reserve the right to use them as income.
10 CALCULATING THE SHORTFALL
10.1 VAT: Most bands should be registered for VAT based on their level or business and we would advise a separate touring bank account. All budget figures should be net of VAT, but it should be added at the usual rate to the invoice if you are registered. Please remember this when setting allowances for fuel, hotels, spares etc.
10.2 Agents’ commission: This should be shown as a cost based on the income guarantees.
10.3 Contingencies: We do not allow contingencies in budgets. It is our view that contingencies are unnecessary when a tour is properly planned. There are some circumstances when it is practical to make a small allowance, even then it is a prior agreement on what areas might apply. However, we do recognise that things happen when bands go on the road and if a TM does hit a problem and does what he/she believes to be right we would always be sympathetic to treating it as an overage at the end of the tour and we will take a view.
10.4 Withholding tax: We do realise that the rules on withholding tax change regularly. Germany and Scandinavia in particular can cause problems and require good planning. If the cash flow is a serious problem, or for some reason the tax is unavoidable then this may not be given as tour support but rather be recoupable on the next advance. We may need a letter from the band accountants stating why this money cannot be reclaimed and we will review it on a case-by-case basis.
10.5 Cross-collateralisation: If profits are being made in some territories, or specific shows such as festivals we may feel that these profits should be used to offset losses on other touring projects. An example of this might be when an artist on a European tour could make considerable profit in Germany, but on travelling to Italy be making a loss in that country. We would not welcome budgets for just the shows that will make a loss in such a case.
We tend not to c-c against three specific areas: (1) GB & Europe, (2) The Americas, and (3) Asia & Australasia. Any activity outside of these zones will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Festival period overrides all these zones and we regard that period as if it were a territory in itself wherever that activity is in the entire world.
In the rare occurrence that cross-collateralisation is an issue we will consider each case on its own merits.
11 PROCESSING THE APPLICATION
11.1 Submitting the budget: As detailed in clause 4 above, this should be faxed to your business affairs department. If it is an international project a budget should also be sent to our international department. It is a good idea to copy your A&R contact and your marketing, press and promotions team should be sent a copy of the activity diary.
Universal-Island 020 8910 3287 020 8910 3218
Polydor 020 8910 4844 020 8910 4794
Mercury 020 8910 5165 020 8910 5157
Classics & Jazz 020 8910 5167 020 8910 5416
Please note these numbers may change in 2005. If you need any assistance either contact your business affairs department or email CreativeSD@aol.com.
11.2 Invoicing: Once we have agreed on a figure, you should send an invoice for 75% upfront. It will probably be best to send the 75% invoice when returning the side-letter. As stated previously, no money can be forwarded at all until a letter is returned signed.
11.3 Side letter: In order to forward any monies for either touring or showcases, the artist must sign a letter agreeing the dates, budget, shortfall and float are recoupable. This should go out to you within a few days of the shortfall amount being agreed.
11.4 Reconciling the accounts: The remaining 25% will be held back until reconciled accounts have been presented and accepted. This should come with a spreadsheet of actual expenses from the artists chartered or certified accountant. We do reserve the right to inspect all receipts, invoices and float returns and will ask to see these on a regular basis.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: In your side letter it will state that you have 120 days from the end of the tour to submit accounts, after which time any residue is forfeited.
If you have any queries please call the your Business Affairs department.
12 NOTES ON SOME OTHER RECOUPABLE ACTIVITIES.
12.1 A&R Recording costs: This guide does not set out to encompass A&R and recording costs. If you need any clarification on the your A&R and recording costs then you should seek that from your dedicated A&R person, or via Business Affairs.
12.2 Rehearsals and Auditions for TV/promo schedule: Whereas we accept costs for the actual events involved in TV and promotional projects, we do reserve the right to take a view on any rehearsals or auditions. If these have a longer-term effect for the artists business we will regard all, or a proportion as being recoupable. These are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but we strongly advise checking with Business Affairs prior to committing to any costs, to do otherwise can cause serious problems.
To be clear, promotions have the right to expect artist to be broadly ready to perform their work.
12.3 Clothing: UMG companies reserve the right to recoup from clothes purchases. As with other majors we take the view this activity has longer term consequences for the artists business model that are outside our own. This item is generally dealt with by the marketing departments.
If the clothes are purely for a tour, they should form part of a normal tour support request.
12.4 Video: Your contract will dictate the proportion of recoupability and costs will be proportioned in that way. If you have any queries on this matter you should contact Business Affairs.
Any non-London travel for label video personnel to attend shoots (ie international travel, hotel, flights, cars etc) will form part of any normal video budget and proportionally recouped like any other cost.
13 MANAGEMENT COSTS
13.1 Management expenses/travel: The artist’s management costs are not a matter for the labels. We take the view that we have our business model with our artist and the managers have theirs – including avenues to recoup costs from their artist for expenses incurred.
For the avoidance of any doubt, no travel, hotel, pd subsistence or any other cost for a manager or management company staff can be a matter for the labels. If a manager needs to be present for any artist activity (including recording), in any location, we regard that as the fulfilment of their normal duties and they should recoup any related costs from their artist via a normal artist/manager business arrangement.
It is not possible to pass those costs onto the record company in any way. Any queries regarding this can only be dealt with by the Business Affairs department.
13.2 Personal assistant costs/wages: If the artists has to have someone with them at all times it does not follow that it is therefore a matter for the labels but rather part of that artists own business model.
In certain instances we may be amenable to some related travel costs for specific projects, but never wages themselves.
13.3 Security: UMG take a very serious view of our artist’s safety. For public events we would of course take a realistic view of whether it is needed and place any approved costs against that particular project. However, if an artist needs security to go about their normal non-appearance business we do not believe it is reasonable to pass those costs onto the record company.