Your fees are too high – Event organisers to musicians

BY: Kofi Duah
Event organisers bemoan high charges by artistes
Kwesi Ernest

For event organisers, getting top acts on their show is a guarantee of its success and also profit so they go the extra mile to get them.

Before COVID-19, paying artistes’ huge fees wasn’t that much of a problem, but with the pandemic slowing down revenues in all sectors, including the entertainment industry, event organisers have been expecting some respite.

However, that does not seem to be the case as a number of them have complained to Graphic Showbiz about artistes still charging high fees.
Artiste manager Kwesi Ernest, who is also an event organiser, said the rates the artistes were charging were alarming.

“We are in this business together so I expect these musicians to be considerate when we come to them. The rates they mention nowadays are outrageous. You call Amakye Dede and he is charging GH¢80,000 and Kojo Antwi is charging above that.

“You cannot mention such an amount in this COVID-19 era. I am not saying they don’t deserve to take that amount but not in these COVID times. What is the point of charging big and not getting anything instead of coming to an agreement with the event organisers and taking something good.

“I manage artiste myself and I know how it feels if you need to beat your price down but I know we are not in good times and I will consider an event organiser if they need the services of my artiste,” he said.

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The CEO of Event Factory, Nabil Alhassan sided with Kwesi Ernest, adding that sometimes, the artistes themselves did not know what they were charging for.

“Some artistes hear the amount their colleagues charge and they want to charge the same but ask them if they merit the money and they cannot even tell you the reason they are charging this high. It is true that COVID -19 has affected everything but this is not to say that artistes should charge so high.

“When COVID -19 is over and we have our lives back then musicians can charge any amount. In fact, it is we the event organisers that should come together and give a fixed price to an artiste.

“We should be able to tell an artiste he or she does not deserve an X amount of money but it is the opposite. The artistes are rather giving us their prices and there is nothing we can do,” he said.

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The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Charterhouse, Robert Klah, told Graphic Showbiz that the artistes could come to terms with the event organisers so that everyone could break even.

“Artistes have increased their rates and we are not saying they shouldn’t. We don’t have a problem with that but they should know that getting sponsorship for an event is difficult nowadays and that means you need to depend on the gate fees.

“You cannot also charge that high so the best thing to do is for musicians to come to terms with the event organisers. Some event organisers are not organising events anymore because of high cost of renting venues and also paying artistes to perform.

“At least we should be able to afford the musicians because we are in this together. At the end of the day if we are not able to get artiste A we would move to artiste B and artiste A loses whatever money we intended to pay,” he said.

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However, the CEO of Image Bureau, George Quaye, disagreed with his colleagues. According to him, event organisers could opt for other musicians if they felt those they wanted were quoting high rates or better still stop organising the event.

“The artiste has family and bills to take care of so I don‘t see the need for them to reduce their prices to favour event organisers due to COVID-19. If prices of fuel or foodstuffs keep increasing, why won’t musicians also increase their fees?
“I support whatever money they ask for because they have worked hard for it. The sleepless nights in the studios just to record a song, shooting of music videos and money for promotion does not come easy,” he said.

According to George Quaye, the best event organisers could do was to leverage the relationship they had with the musicians and see how best they could come to an agreement.