Promoter Wars!!!

14 August, 2015
Posted by Jennifer


At Studio Legal we are seeing more and more disputes between promoters and clubs relating to the operation of club nights.

We thought it might be good timing to take a look at what is going wrong and how relationships could be improved.

Get back to basics!

If you’re starting a night or hiring a promoter to run an event or night at your club, Studio Legal advises that it is critical that the following matters are discussed and agreed upon IN WRITING prior to launch night and while everyone’s pumped and excited to work together!  Trying to work out the deal, when everyone’s fighting is simply not going to work.

Roles & Responsibilities

It’s important to nut out what the club is going to do and what the promoter is going to do and agree upon a finalised list of roles and responsibilities. For example:

Who is booking DJs?

– Who is running the door?

– Who is responsible for managing social media presence?

– Who is responsible for making sure the correct sound equipment is there for performers?

– Who is responsible for riders?

The Deal

The deal needs to be agreed by both parties, clear and in writing.

For example, does the promoter get a flat fee, door sales or a cut of the bar? If the regular night becomes successful, can each party renegotiate the terms? Who pays for the sound engineer? Who pays for broken equipment? Who pays for the blue M&Ms on the artist rider? It’s always better to have this in writing…

Performance Indicators

If a club expects a certain performance from the promoter (i.e. a minimum bar spend or certain number through the door), this should be agreed in writing.   The promoter should do ‘market research’ before agreeing to KPI’s to make sure they are fair and attainable.

Ownership and Use of Club Night IP

More often than not, clubs and promoters do not discuss who will own intellectual property rights (“IP”) that are created for a club night (for example the name of the night, the artworks, logos, databases, domain names and social media pages). Without an agreement on these points, it is not clear whether either party will be able to continue to use the IP if the club nights ends.

Therefore it is important to nut out the following matters:

– Who owns the trade marks created for the night (i.e. the name of the night and logo)?

– Who owns the various artworks and promotional materials created for the night?

– Who owns the social media pages?

– Who owns the patron databases that are collected?

– Can either party continue to use IP after the parties stop working together?

– If the night ends do both parties have to agree not to use any IP?

– Who has the right to access and utilise the social media pages and databases after the club night ends?

– Can the promoter move the club night to another venue if the club wants to stop working with the promoter?

– Can the club keep running the night if the promoter is sacked?


To protect both parties’ commercial interests, there should be a clear agreement on what happens if either party wants to stop running the club night.

To promote a positive and respectful working relationship, clubs need to give promoters reasonable time to ‘improve’ performance standards (which is why is it important to agree on KPIs, see above) before terminating the services of the promoter. Likewise, Promoters should not have the right to immediately ‘jump ship’ to another venue, if they get a better deal.

If clubs want the right to sack a promoter without notice for serious misconduct, the parties need to list what should be deemed ‘serious misconduct’.

It is wise to agree upon a notice period before the first launch night, so that both parties have security that the other party is not just going to ‘up and leave’. We recommend 4 weeks is a fair amount of time.

Written Agreements

We always recommend that clubs and promoters put their agreements in writing and sign off on the agreement before launching a new club night. Establishing the terms of your arrangement upfront will help all parties know where they stand, so everyone can enjoy their night out without too much of a headache in the morning.

Studio Legal can assist with drafting club land agreements, registering trademarks and other small business services. Contact us on at for a free initial consultation and quote.



The information in this article is of a general nature. It does not constitute formal legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. Please see the full disclaimer in our website terms. Please contact Studio Legal if you are seeking advice about a specific legal matter


Written by Studio Legal (C) 2015.