Ziggy Zapata Title

EMPLOYER INFORMATION

Ziggy Zapata Entertainment Agency

ZIGGY ZAPATA ENTERPRISES ENTERTAINMENT AGENCY

THE LAW

This agency operates under the following legislation and regulations:

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

To the best of their resources, venue employers such as clubs and hotels should provide the following to performers booked from this agency:

PAYMENT OF FEES BY EMPLOYERS

One of the most confusing issues for entertainment industry employers seems to be the application of GST. The first thing all employers need to realise is that if they are not the end-users of the entertainment booked, then they can claim a refund of GST from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of any GST that is charged to them by performers. This claim is called Input GST on the Business Activity Statement (BAS). The reason for this is that at venues such as clubs and hotels, the end users are actually the patrons, who pay GST on their purchases, such as drinks or entry fees.

This means that these venues merely pay performers the GST and then claim the same amount back from the ATO when they lodge their BAS. So for instance if a performer quotes $550 including GST, the venue is actually only paying $500. However in virtually all cases, private function bookers have to pay the GST component of a performer's fee simply because they are the actual end users.

CANCELLATIONS BY EMPLOYERS

As the statutory 14 day cancellation period for booking entertainers was removed from the Act, employers have the legal right to cancel performances at any time, however the greatest point of contention has always been short notice cancellations. As most bookings are made well in advance, it is virtually impossible for performers to replace cancelled bookings at short notice.

This agency recognises that employers sometimes need to change their entertainment arrangements at short notice and will always endeavour to arrange replacement bookings for performers at other venues if possible. This is the ideal solution, as nobody loses. Unfortunately in most cases there is no opportunity to do so, therefore this agency will insist that performers who cannot be relocated to other bookings be paid their full fees if employers cancel them within the 14 day period specified in this agency's booking agreement.

DEFAULTS BY EMPLOYERS

It is rare for employers, especially those in the registered club area to deliberately default on payment of fees, however unless performers have not fulfilled their obligations, their fees must always be paid. Performers have a right to earn a living and this agency will endeavour to assist performers to take legal action against defaulting employers to recover fees owing.

EARLY FINISHING TIMES

If a venue's patrons leave early and if there is little or no likelihood of more patrons coming into the venue, employers should ask performers to finish their show and pack up. Employers should use wisdom and discretion in such a situation, realising that keeping performers playing in an empty venue just to make them fulfil their contracted time achieves nothing and is degrading and demeaning.

DRINKS

Performers, especially vocalists, require fluids during the course of their shows to assist them in performing. This is not a luxury, but a necessity, just as the supply of electricity is required for their equipment. Employers are asked to arrange the supply of complimentary soft drinks for performers throughout the course of their shows.

BACKDOOR BOOKINGS

This agency does its utmost to book the very best performers for venues and earns a very small commission from this endeavour and nothing else. It is in the interest of venues to not jeopardise the financial viability of the agency and drive it out of business by trying to bypass it by engaging those performers directly, especially when the fees would be identical. This agency asks that if venues wish to book any performers sent to them by this agency, that they refrain from trying to engage them directly, but always arrange future bookings through this agency.

PRIVATE FUNCTION EMPLOYERS

People who book performers for private functions such as weddings or birthday parties are covered by the same legal requirements as venue employers. As most of these functions are held on private premises, obviously many of the amenities found in clubs and hotels are not available, however private function employers need to provide the facilities required by performers, such as convenient power points, enough room for performers to set up their equipment and easy access to the performing areas, plus food and drinks as required.

PRIVATE FUNCTION CANCELLATIONS

The greatest problems that arise from bookings for private functions are cancellations, often given at very short notice, such as for parties or weddings that are called off suddenly. In many instances, performers who were booked many months previously and who had declined many other engagements for those dates are suddenly cancelled, often with little or no warning and with no chance to regain other bookings.

PRIVATE FUNCTION BOOKING DEPOSITS

To minimise the pursuit of legal action, non-refundable deposits from 50% up to 100% of the full fee will be required to be lodged in advance with this agency for bookings made by private individuals or non-entertainment industry bodies, depending on the degree of risk assessed. Legally binding booking agreements will be sent and must be signed and returned to this agency, accompanied by the deposits required. If they are not received within 14 days, the bookings will automatically be cancelled without notice. The only reasons that such non-refundable deposits will be returned to bookers is if the performers default, or a cancellation is mutually agreed to by all parties.

Bookers must understand that once performers accept engagements from them, they are obliged to decline other offers for those dates, therefore non-refundable deposits are actually fees for performers to hold those dates exclusively for bookers. This is literally the only financial protection that performers have in a very volatile and uncertain industry, as well as providing incentives for bookers to not cancel engagements on a whim, which often happens.

Imagine the disaster for a private booker if the situation was reversed and the band he booked for his very important wedding or function suddenly cancelled on the day before the event because they received a better offer. The booker would have a catastrophe on his hands, such as an important function with hundreds of people and no entertainment. A deposit is the proof of a contractual agreement that binds both the booker and entertainer and protects both parties.

SPECIAL MATERIAL FOR PRIVATE FUNCTIONS

There are probably more than a billion songs that have been written. Every performer and band has a set repertoire, however nobody knows every song ever written and obviously nobody can expect this from an entertainer, even one with a massive amount of material. Private functions differ from club and hotel engagements by the fact that clubs and hotels expect performers to play their set repertoire and almost never ask for songs outside the performer's repertoire as a condition of booking.

Many private function bookers, such as wedding organisers, will often ask the performer to play particular songs. Of course if those songs are in the performer's repertoire, there is no problem. However, many private function bookers often ask for specific songs that are not in the performer's repertoire and expect those performers to just produce them at the engagement.

This situation does cause problems, because private function performers generally do not understand that when they book a performer for a standard four-hour engagement, they are buying that performer's show for that time only and nothing else. If they ask that performer to learn a song that is not a part of that performer's repertoire, it takes time to learn it, often some hours for the performer to be able to do a polished professional version.

Therefore, private function bookers must understand that if they wish to have a particular song played at their function and the performer is expected to learn that song, they must expect to pay for that performer's time and effort in doing so. For instance, if a band charges $2000 for a four-hour private function performance and it takes them two hours prior to their performance to get the members together and learn a special song specifically for the booker only, it will cost $1000 for two hours of the band's time to do so.

No private function booker should expect a performer to work for free and learning a specific song for a function takes time, which is chargeable.