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Subject: Re: Singer's Fees
From: LT <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:LT <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 2 Dec 2008 01:03:06 -0500

text/plain (204 lines)

It would seem that a singer's best bet, at least so far as 
agents' fees, is to be spouse-managed,  as were Corelli and 
several others.   In this way, the money (for this expense, if not 
any others) 'stays in the family'.

On Mon, 1 Dec 2008 07:35:27 EST, [log in to unmask] 

>Some facts in support of this.  of the gross amount recieved,
> 1. Taxes  20 -50% depending on which country. Countries 
which  tax the most
>often have a per diem that  partially defrays room and  
> 2. Manager's fee, usually 10 %. A manager gets a fee for 
every  contract the
>singer has.
> 3. Agent's fee usually 10% . An agent gets a cut only for the  
contracts for
>the countries he procures contracts for. Sometimes a deal is  
worked out
>between the manager and the agent whereby the total owed 
is 15%. This  is only for
>opera. Managers receive 20% for concerts.
> 4. Publicist $1500 to $3,000 per month
> 5. Tax accountant, sometimes for more than one country, 
$100  -$200 per
>hour. Some International singers are required to pay  taxes 
> 6..Entertainment attorney, $200 per hour average
> 7. Voice lessons and coachings $65 to $150 per hour
> 8. For women, a decent concert gown is at least $3,000 a 
pop. Tuxes  for men
>cost less, but a good one is not cheap
> 9. Accompanist fees vary, but a high end one may take up to 
30% of a  fee
> 10. Hotel residence or apartment fees average about $ 2-
4,000 a  month
>depending how expensive the city is, and we are not talking 
five star  hotels which
>cost considerably more.
> 11. Photo shoots.  A high end one can cost thousands of  
dollars, especially
>if stylists are involved.  low end one can cost as  little as 
$1500, but the
>difference in quality often shows.
> 12, the purchase of a piano is necessary, and though it is 
usually a  one
>time buy, it has to be maintained. Pianos are expensive. The 
initial  purchase
>price costs thousands.
> 13. Scores and recordings, this is a minor expense, but most 
singers  spend
>$200 to $1,000 depending on their needs.
> 14. Specialized medical expenses: When a singer becomes 
ill, they  have to
>become very careful what they put in their bodies and who 
they  see.  Where a
>normal person would merely see a family practitioner or  
ride out a cold, a
>singer may need to see a laryngologist.  A look at the  vocal 
folds with video
>laryngyscope can be $500 a pop.Where a normal person 
may  simply need to use a
>cane for a while, a singer may need to see an  orthopedist 
that specializes in
>sports and ballet injuries. These things cost  more.
> 15. Educational expenses. Singers often need to continue 
language  studies
>either in intense short courses, correspondence courses, or 
private  lessons.
>This varies considerably in price and duration.
> Now for a high powered super star with high visibility, the 
cost goes  up
>dramatically. Now we get into a personal assistant which 
often becomes
>  Entertainment attorney fees rise considerably, publicity 
fees  also
>increase, as do the number of photo shoots, concert gowns 
etc Opera  recordings do
>not make a profit, but they do provide extra publicity. 
Believe it  or not, a
>singer of  this type takes home a lot less money than a 
house  star who only
>travels occasionally or one who has avoided the marketed 
career  approach. Most
>singers are struggling with mortgage payments like 
everyone else,  provided
>they have been lucky enough to buy a home or an apartment. 
Young  singers
>breaking onto the international circuit are lucky to break 
even. Most go  into debt
>the first years. Some are able to get a grant or award 
designed for  this
>juncture at a young singer's career when the choice between 
feeding the  family and
>pursuing the career become serious issues. Sometimes 
important talent  drops
>out at this point. The Richard Tucker Award and the Beverly 
Sills award  come
>to mind as representatives of these kinds of awards to 
particularly  promising
>young professionals
> There are other extra necessary costs to international 
singers  whether high
>powered or not that are created by career demands. For  
example, sometimes
>for family continuity, the singer may need to  bring their 
family with them on
>occasion. This costs money. Sometimes it  becomes 
necessary to hire a traveling
>nanny. Then there are  international long distance calls back 
home, agents,
>managers, publicists,  fed x expenses etc. This can also be 
very expensive.
> Then there is the shady side that some singers pay for such 
as  claques,
>anti claques, newpaper critic advantage, conductor 
advantage and  various other
>shady dealings. One singer related a woeful tale in Naples 
where  so many of
>these things were in effect, when her agent turned to her 
and said,
>"But my dear, you are the one who is going home with your  
> There are also tales of unscrupulous agents charging a lot 
more under  the
> On the issue of salaries being public domain, all non profit  
>must maintain transparency to the public, the government 
and  donors, though
>most opera companies and singers would prefer that fees 
remain  as discrete as
> When a person makes a career choice that is in the public  
eye, that is a
>price that is paid. As bad as it gets it isn't nearly  as bad as 
it can get with
>politicians and pop and film stars, where  paparazzi lay in 
wait to catch
>super stars without makeup to send to AOL  and the 
National Enquirer, and
>research every tiny peccadillo since  the day they were born.
> John Rahbeck

>In a message dated 12/1/2008 2:32:52 A.M. Pacific Standard 
>[log in to unmask] writes:
>It has  been pointed out that singers have to meet various 
expenses -
>employees and  business-related expenses - out of their 
fees, so discussing
>their fees is  the equivalent to discussing how much is paid 
to the
>web-design firm or the  contract cleaning company - it 
doesn't give much
>indication of an  individual's take-home pay. What is 
dangerous is when
>people are swift to  criticise the amount without asking the 
right  questions.

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