Life in the Green Room: Artist Riders

 In Live Performances, Mango Management, Professional Services

The Artist Rider: Separating Myth from Reality

The backstage rider, presented to promoters by most touring acts, details specifications on stage design, sound systems, lighting, as well as an artist’s wish list–from travel and billing to dressing room accommodations and meals. Made famous by Van Halen’s contractual demand that brown M&M’s be plucked from the group’s candy bowls, the rider often reflects the delightful or unique nature of the individual artists. As an artist management company, we help our artists communicate their needs to promotors and venues. Riders are a powerful tool when used properly. In this article, we high light some basic facts about the use of riders, as well as some tips for effectively communicating artist needs and requirements.

CouchThe Hospitality rider is a list of requests for the comfort of the artist on the day of the show. Sometimes this document is provided along with the technical rider; other times, it is provided much closer to the date of performance. Typically, the amount of artist accommodation varies based on a variety of factors, including the artists relative contribution to the overall performance (headliner or opening act), the size and venue of the performance, the organizers that are involved, and other basic human factors. Some common elements that are typically addressed in hospitality riders include specific foods and beverages, transportation and lodging, and security. Another common request is the availability of a dedicated runner, who acts as personal shopper and driver for band and crew needs. Comp tickets and guest lists are also a normal topic addressed in an artist hospitality rider.

In contrast to the hospitality rider, the technical rider defines the types of equipment to be used, the staff to be provided, and various business arrangements. The technical rider is provided as far in advance from the show as possible to ensure the artist has everything needed to deliver their performance. Typical things addressed in a technical rider include details about the PA system, Sound desk, Outboard, Channel/input list, Monitor requirements, Power requirements, Lighting, Backline, Risers, and Crew.

In some cases, the hospitality rider and the technical rider are combined, while in others they are presented separately. Whatever gets the job done is ultimately the right way, and beyond that there is no set formula.

Riders are an important part of communication and setting expectations. An intelligently drafted rider can eliminate many headaches leading up to a performance, which ultimately making the experience more positive for all parties involved. Having an experienced management team helps ensure that the artist has everything they need to perform at the highest level. At Mango Music Management, we have multiple team members with tour management and booking experience. This collective experience allows us to get the most for our artists and ensure that no important details are overlooked.

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