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Subject: Re: Singer's Fees
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Mon, 1 Dec 2008 07:35:27 EST

text/plain (130 lines)

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  board.
 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 quarterly.
 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  money." 
 There are also tales of unscrupulous agents charging a lot more under  the 
 On the issue of salaries being public domain, all non profit  organizations 
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 Time,  
[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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