Lexicon Event Business

The dictionary of the event industry

Live entertainment expert, Talent Buyer and Artist Relations Manager Stefan Lohmann explains in his dictionary of the event industry the terms and the activities of the who is who in the event business. Some of the activities are set in comparison to the activities of a Talent Buyer and Artist Relations Manager. Specific terms of the live entertainment industry – insights and background information from the branch of Live Entertainment.

Unfortunately, the technical terms of the live entertainment industry are not always clear-cut. It will only get more confusing by the mix with english/german terms. Thus, the terms are often misused or misunderstood. Here is a list of the most important terms of the live entertainment industry and the attempt to explain what these terms mean for an event planner.
Sefan Lohmann’s dictionary of the event industry shall help to avoid misunderstanding between the differnet protagonists like event planner, event mananger, conceptioner, artist, agent, talent manager, caterer, set designer, technicians, accountants, Sound and Light designer, runner, backliner, …..


Some artists represent themselves, others use the services of managers, agents and tour promoter. Some artists have different agents and promoter for each country.The record sales and download revenues are falling, so the concert market and the live entertainment market is now the main source of income for many artists. Nevertheless, artists are not necessarily available for any type of event. Some artists refuse corporate events from principle, some do it only at exorbitant fees. Some artists just want to play in front of their fans, who know the music and love the artist. Other artists put in their own ideas in order to adapt the show for the company event. Some artists are relaxed and be prepared for the realities of a corporate event (delays due to longer speeches or delayed food distribution etc.). But there are also some artists who have no understanding of such things and want to retain full control, as they have their own concerts. This can be seen partly already in the contract. Artists have their own point of view, one should also try to understand. Artists need to maintain their image and keep or increase the fanbase. However, fans can react quickly outraged when their star does not behave as part of his image. It is similar to an internationally active company must also pay attention precisely to their image and CI. So a company considering exactly how it works outwardly and with whom it advertises or with whom it cooperates. Even a well-known band considering very carefully who they play for or not. Thereby, it is also important for the artists, whether an event is advertised to the public or not. It is therefore important for a band not to be used by a company as a testimonial. Unless the artist is paid as a testimonial accordingly and can stand behind the product.

Foreign Tax / Withholding Tax

Income from artistic, sporting, artistic, entertaining or similar performances of individuals in germany who are not resident or ordinarily resident in Germany, income tax §50a EStG is applicable. That means event planners have to pay withholding tax directy to the Federal Central Tax office, if they want to have international stars on stage. Depending on the the way of calculation event planners can deduct the withholding tax from the fee or they have to pay the tax on top.

Catering service

Catering companies provide everything related to food, table decorations and the appropriate service personnel. This has changed dramatically, and meanwhile some catering companies offer nearly the entire event package with artists, art, decoration, location scout, etc. But usually they are no specialists for live entertainment.

Booking Agent / Booking Agency / Talent Booker / Artist Agency

The booking agent or a booking agency with a solid artist roster is exclusively responsible for these artists in a given area. Booking agencies usually have diverse artists under contract and must ensure that they are supplied with sufficient appearances. The artist agents have the responsibility to build up the artist, plan the touring well and to find the right locations and festivals. Matching local tour promoter are added as a partner of the booking agencies or by the artist management in the different countries for a particular tour period. The booking agent is reserve under pressure to confirm as many shows for best possible fees to maximise the income of the artists. If the success is not large enough, the artist changes the agency or the agent. In addition, a booking agent does not recommend any other artists who would perhaps or even better fit to the event or the budget.

Event Agency

The event agency may consist of a few people, put together the teams for events or of several hundreds employees with offices worldwide. The event planners of the agency are responsible for the implementation of the event concepts (creative ideas, design, storytelling, drama, decoration, art, artist, location scouting, Guest Management …) for any type of event.

Event agencies develop ideas and ensure the smooth running. In collaboration with stage directors, project managers and event managers, with technology companies and other trades event agencies have the decisive role in the success of an event. Event agencies provide the thread for the storytelling – so that the targets of an event can be achieved and the embassy of the company will be remembered. The emotional appeal of an event or a product can only function when the users are introduced and be addressed on multiple levels at the right moment. For a complex event you should work with experienced professionals. Good Event agencies see events as total production and not as simple modules that can be set together. But rarely have Event agencies real specialists for live entertainment. Usually someone is chosen in the team, who cares about the live entertainment for the specific event. Event Managers are usually not in the position to book artists on a regular basis, so they are not able to observe the Live Entertainment market and can’t maintain contact with artists, managers and agents.

Corporate Events

Live entertainment can support the emotional appeal of the event and products at company events. Live entertainment can also provide huge media attention. The objectives to be met by a corporate event, you should specify necessarily in advance. Ute Lemper describes the specific situation at a company event like this:
“Companies Events are always a special challenge for artists. At concerts the guests come to see my current program. That’s at corporate events not necessarily the case. the audience at corporate events ned to be adressed in a different way. It helps to know the background and targets of the event and to have a professional team and contact person at my side. Even an experienced engineering company is important to me, which is able to produce a perfect sound in a sound technically difficult location.

KSK/KSA / Artist health Insurance

The model of the artist health insurance (KSK) is based on a mixed funding similar to the statutory health and pension insurance for workers: 50 percent of the contribution will be applied by the insured, the other contribution half bear the “exploiters” artistic achievements in the form of a lump sum that is 5.2% of all fees paid to an independent artist or publicist in 2016. www.kuenstlersozialkasse.de

Booking Agent/ Artist broker / Artist Agency / Boutique Agency

Boutique Agencies offer a variety of artists to different customers. These agencies offer artists without having a binding contract with the artists. Artist Brokers buy artists for the best possible price and then sell them to the customer for a higher price. The experience of the event planner and the negotiation skills of the artist broker determines the income of the Boutique Agency.  It is as on a bazaar. Some Boutique Agencies have also established artists under contract. Some offer cover bands and also convey renowned artist. The artist broker seeks the right artist for the organizer, but he will not offer artists who are easy to get contact to. The focus is accordingly not necessarily only in finding the ideal artist for the respective event. The artist broker will always prefer artists whose contacts are not so easy to find. Becaue the artist broker is usually not representing an artist on exclusive basis, he must always fear that the requesting customer books the artist himself directly.

Live Entertainment Konzepte

Aside from concerts are live entertainment concepts, only one part of an event concept as corporate events, opening ceremonies, ship christenings, anniversaries, etc. It is important to understand that live entertainment alone does not make the event. No matter what star or what kind of show to bring – without staging and without professional integration into an overall concept, Live Entertainment can not work, or is not reaching the goals that you can achieve with it.
The emotional appeal of an event or a product can only function when the users are introduced, be addressed on multiple levels  at the right moment. For a complex event you should work with experienced professionals.  Good event agencies, stage directors and high qualitfied technicians who are used to work together, ensure a smooth workflow and ensure that the targets of the event will be achieved. You can find more information in my article in the Event Partner magazine:Event Partner – Benefits and Opportunities of Live Entertainment:

Live communication

Live communication is the generic term for communication tools that provide a personal encounter and the active experience of the target group with the brand in a staged and emotions appealing environment. On the topic of Live Communications says Rajko Marjanovic from Hessian Radio in an interview with Live Entertainment expert Stefan Lohmann the following:
“Events have not only an effect on the present participants, but with appropriate PR Tools the message will also reach a wider audience. In your VPLT magazine article (see page 16) you (Stefan Lohmann) mentioned all relevant considerations, I think.
That events should not only give a beautiful fireworks, but also serve a purpose.I would take even further: All experience – from welcome reception to aftershowparty and goody bag – can be used for their own goals.

That’s the reason I like the term live communication so much. An event is communication and is a communication destination. Entertainment is probably the most powerful communication tool, when used properly. However, it may also be infotainment or physical experience or a mix of everything in order to achieve the communication goals. Success is never guaranteed, of course, but can be evaluated through visitor surveys before and after an event to provide an idea of how far the objectives were achieved.”

Management / Artist Management / Artist Manager

The artist manager supports the entire career of an artist. He cares to obtain the booking agents and tour operators, are best suited to the musicstyle of the artist. The manager takes care of contracts with record companies, publishers, advertising companies … Together with promotion companies, they ensure that the artist is best placed in the media. The artist manager takes care of the commercial success of his artist and receive a percentage of all revenue. His interest is accordingly not in finding the best artists for an event, but rather to place its artists to the highest possible terms.

Local Promoter

The Local Organizer or Local Promoter ensures the local organizing of a concert with appropriate participation in the sales of the ticket revenue. But he also carries the greatest risk. The Local Promoter is usually booking the halls and the local advertising, Security, Shuttle, etc. Some of the local organizers are also involveds in organizing city celebrations or corporate events. Also, the local organizer is interested to buy an artist for the best possible conditions and then resell them at the highest possible prices.

Roadie / Backliner

The Roadie goes on tour with the artist. Depending on the position, he cares about the development of technology or the backline of musicians. Together with the production manager and the local “Hands” helpers, the backline is constructed in accordance with the Technical Rider, wired, tuned and ready for the sound check.

Show Caller / Event Conductor

The event conductor writes the director plan and takes care of the smooth running on stage. He ensures the perfect timing and adds the individual show parts together.

Show Production / Show producers
The show producers offer original shows for tours and for corporate events. Some can be flexibly adjusted to company events or create for the customer special shows. The show producers seek tour operators and agents to place their shows in the market. There are also tour promoters who act as show producers.

Audio engineer / sound engineer / FOH (Front of House) / Monitor technician

The sound technicians ensure the optimal sound in any location. The FOH engineer ensures the sound of the audience, while the monitor technician takes care for the musicians on stage.

Talent Buyer (Live Entertainment Buyer / Artist Relation Manager)

The term is commonly more in USA and England. The Talent Buyer ensures the booking in larger venues, casinos …  Also festivals and event agnecies rely on the expertise of Talent Buyers.  A Talent Buyer is a professional live entertainment purchaser, but he does not sell the productions like an artist agent to his clients. He is an expert for live entertainment and his job is to book the most suitable and best entertainment within the budget on behalf of the client. The Talent Buyer acts completely independent and has widespread contacts. He feels in different music scenes at home and knows the appropriate sensitivities and opportunities. The Talent Buyer operates transparently and for the customer. Arrangements will be disclosed and signed by the authority. Thus, the client receives the full cost control. As an expert in live entertainment the talent buyer will be paid for his service, his expertise, his creativity, his live entertainment concepts and his negotiating skills (percentage or a fixed budget).

Tour promoter

The tour organizer brings international artists to a country as a touring production. For international artists and shows the tour promoter buys the tour (several concert dates from the artis agent or manager) to the best possible conditions, and sells these events individually to the local organizers and halls. The tour promoter must submit a firm offer to the artist. The highest bid wins. the tourpromoter agree on firm financial fees / guarantees and additional ticket sales. The competition is huge. If a tour is unsuccessful the artist or the management will look for another tour organizer. Many tour operators are set to a musical genre that gives them credibility also among artists. In addition, tour operators are interested in an efficient appointment routing. Although artists during a tour are generally cheaper, but there are also risks for example the tour is postponed. The tour organizer advises not, what artist could fit a particular event, he just cares about  dates and show oportuniteis suitable to his tour period.

Event Service Company

An event service is a mix of event agency and sound/light company. Many have their own light and sound equipment and offer a wide range of possibilities for local city events, event agencies. Some also offer artists. But they are usually no qualified specialists in the field. Similar to the Event Agencies (see above) they have not the experience and the time to market observation and liaison with artists, agents and managers.