Many young artists at the beginning of their journey often ask themselves: how much is my art or my stage performances worth? The calculation is not a simple one, but we are here to help you with some elements that can guide you in establishing a relatively fair price for your work.
Most of the time, pricing mistakes arise from personal factors that artists confuse with artistic ones, but there are also moments when they view their work as a business, a rather significant mistake, especially when everything is calculated rigorously, and the artist thinks about managing personal finances in the same way a factory manager would.
However, where do we start in determining a fair price? The first step, especially for artists starting out, is research. It is important to know the industry trends when it comes to the fee for a concert or even a public appearance. To begin this research, you should look for profiles of similar artists on free websites where you can find the prices they charge for a concert. Of course, you can also watch various performances and compare them to what you do.
We cannot proceed in the same way when collaborating with a public institution such as Philharmonics or Operas because most of the time, they pay a standard fee for an artist at the beginning of their career. However, these prices offered by those institutions can be used by an artist as a starting point even for other events, with adjustments made based on various variables.
A common mistake that many artists make in determining their fee is that they take into account the materials they buy. We are mainly referring to the instrument used or the elements used on it, which often give a young artist the impression that if they have high-quality materials, they can ask for a higher fee for an event. This is completely wrong because the employer does not pay for the instrument or other materials and is not interested in the fact that the artist has a €50,000 violin. They pay for the quality of the artistic performance as a whole, not just an instrument.
Certainly, the instrument, attire, or other elements matter in creating a quality artistic performance, but these should not be seen by the artist as a “production cost” of their performance that they want to cover over time through higher fees from event organizers or public institutions.
Is a higher fee justified based on distance? Long journeys made by an artist to participate in a concert are certainly quite unpleasant and tiring, but if the cost of travel, accommodation, and meals is fully covered by the organizer, you have no valid reason to ask for extra money. Yes, time costs money in today’s society, but you are an artist performing concerts, and you need to realize that you are paid for the performance, not for the time spent at the location or on the road.
Similarly, there is the issue of individual study. Most young artists tend to believe that their work is worth more if they choose a very challenging repertoire from their perspective, which requires extra hours of study. However, no matter how complex your repertoire is and how many hours you spend studying it, it is in vain if the audience or the employer is not willing to pay extra for it, so you should charge the same fee for any repertoire.
Consider the elements presented in this article when setting your prices for your future concerts and avoid the mistakes mentioned above, which are often made by young artists. You need to understand that art is not a factory, and there are no production costs or transportation costs for the time you spend on the road. If you understand this, you will certainly be able to establish a reasonable price, both for yourself and for your employer or audience.
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