Long before we were separated by a novel disease and self-incarcerated in our own homes, the metrics for acquiring an artiste to perform at an event had a recognizable offer and reward system. 

An offer is made through a recognizable middle man and if accepted, terms for logistics and advance payment is agreed on and delivered well before the required date.

That was before the world changed.

Now, there is a growing uncertainty about the new rules of engagement when it comes to performances and their worth. With the rise of virtual events like the Africa Day Concert, the BET 2020 Awards and a variety of other virtual alternatives, it is apparent that performances are back in play but they now have to be delivered remotely.

The nagging question that show promoters and artiste managers are trying desperately to answer, now that performances are remotely delivered and there are no logistics involved, is how much should an artiste be paid for a virtual performance?

The argument favors both sides of the spectrum.

 A virtual performance will definitely attract a virtual audience that more likely than not are non-paying. This brings a new perspective to how much future events will be worth going forward, and in turn downplays the amount artistes should be paid for an event that is technically unprofitable. So if by the very nature of an event, it doesn’t make the show promoters any money, why should the performing artiste, who by reason of our unique circumstances incurs no recognizable logistic, be paid a premium?

Another school of thought, majors on the fact that since virtual events by their very nature do not require bloated budgets on the part of the show promoters or brand, they are free to dole out basically the same payment matrix that they are used to pre-pandemic. This ofcourse is based on the pre-requisite that the show has some form of sponsorship attached to it.

But this new normal will not in anyway go down well with an artiste, who has by the very nature of his craft, gotten used to a seven figure reward for his carefully-curated skills.

What logical argument will make an A-list artiste go from set sum remuneration to a highly subsidized version?

Likewise, what conclusions will require a show promoter to reward a virtual performance exactly the way he would if the artiste had made a physical appearance?

But there is urgency to resolving these subtle issues, because as managers and show promoters struggle to figure out the new remuneration system that will be acceptable to both artistes and event organizers in a virtual world; events are due.

And if by a financial technicality, consumers are unable to enjoy the theatrical ‘pleasures of the world’ they are used to, all hell might probably break loose; virtually.

This article was written by Henri ‘Yireconnect on Instagram with him here

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