The Best 5 Negotiation Tips for Latin Musicians

By | 03 August, 2021

Reaching dizzying heights of fame and success in the music industry is no mean feat. It takes a lot of effort to be counted among the big guns like J. Lo, Ricky Martin, and Camilo. Working on your talent to become one of the best can contribute to your rise to celebrity status.

However, talent alone is usually not enough to take you places. More often than not, you will need to use negotiation skills to open the right doors and land lucrative contracts. This article will look at some tips to help you negotiate in the music biz.

Tip 1: Seek a win-win outcome

In negotiations class, they teach that you can use different negotiation techniques such as being assertive, accommodative, or collaborative depending on the scenario.

In the music business, every interaction may be a stepping stone to something bigger. That’s why it’s best to take a collaborative approach to get a positive outcome for everyone involved regardless of how insignificant they appear to be.

If you step on people’s toes, you may lose out on bigger opportunities. For instance, if you launch an onslaught during a discussion about a gig with a small venue, you may alienate the owner of the small gig venue. Yet, the small venue owner may have been the one who would have recommended you for bigger opportunities.

Viewing negotiations as a battlefield where the winner takes all will likely create unnecessary conflict. Both sides may make unreasonable offers and slowly go blow by blow in a fight to maintain the upper hand. This can make the talks run for longer than they should with far less productive outcomes.

Even if you do manage to inch towards a middle ground using an assertive approach, the tension doesn’t always melt away easily. As a result, you may have a difficult working relationship afterward.

So rather than approaching a negotiation as a war, it helps to look at it as a problem-solving initiative. Both sides can work together to find common ground and discover a win-win outcome.

Tip 2: Focus on the “why” not the “what”

Uncovering the motivation behind the other side’s demands can put you in a better position to determine the problem you need to solve. Once you figure out the hidden issues, it will often become easier to settle a win-win solution.

For example, if a club owner wants a significant portion of the takings, you may find out that it’s because they’re running at a loss in their business. With that information, you can discuss alternative options like selling merchandise or cutting down on promotional costs to make everyone happy with what they get.

So, how do you peek behind the veil to discover the real issues? Trainers in negotiation class say that it helps to start the discussions with some small talk to create a common understanding with the other side. You can also use these seemingly insignificant pleasantries to dig deeper and encourage the other sides to reveal their point of view.

For instance, asking about previous shows they’ve hosted is a way to get the other side to talk about some issues they’ve met with before. This may unearth why they’re opposed to certain concessions.

Tip 3: Show your value

The more valuable you are, the higher your chances of reaping premium rates. Some of the biggest names in music like Ricky Martin are usually in a position to command their desired rate—no questions asked. This is because their value tends to speak for itself.

If you’re a budding artist, your value won’t immediately be obvious to those you’re negotiating with. So, it helps to put in more effort to help the other side see your value. Your talking points can include:

  • How much experience you have in the industry.
  • Any training or music classes you have taken.
  • Your fan base or social media following.

Do some research prior to the negotiation and arm yourself with relevant figures. Then, use illustrative aids like drawing up some charts, to show the other side how much revenue and value they can get from your services.

Tip 4: Sieve out unlikely prospects

Getting hired for the right gigs and events can open doors for you. However, if you waste time deliberating with people who aren’t going to hire you anyway, or who are offering you unattractive deals, you have slim prospects of securing the right deals. That’s why it’s important to assess music deals and gigs that come your way before you begin any talks.

For instance, you can ask for details about an event like:

  • The size and general appeal of the venue.
  • How many people are likely to be in attendance.
  • The proposed budget for the event.
  • The marketing and promotion to draw in the fans.
  • Similar events they’ve held in the past.

When you have more information, you can sieve out those who are least likely to book you in the first place, such as those whose budgets are too low.

Tip 5: Know when to walk away

Sadly, promoters, managers, and other professionals in the music industry may take the narrative of the struggling musician to heart. Such people may be out to fleece you and aren’t likely to negotiate in good faith.

It’s important to read the signs and see when the other side is trying to milk your perceived desperation for gigs.

In a circumstance where it becomes clear that you’re hitting a brick wall, it’s crucial to walk away. Continuing talks in unproductive circumstances will almost certainly turn out to be a sheer waste of time and effort.

All in all, if you seek a collaborative outcome and uncover the reasons behind the other side’s demands, you have better chances of negotiating fruitful deals. Most importantly, avoid wasting time, and don’t hesitate to call it quits when you have to.


Follow Sounds and Colours: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Mixcloud / Soundcloud / Bandcamp

Subscribe to the Sounds and Colours Newsletter for regular updates, news and competitions bringing the best of Latin American culture direct to your Inbox.

Share: