A touring rider can be defined as an addendum to an artist’s contract that includes their specific requirements for performing at a venue. When we hear about them, it’s usually because some big star has made crazy demands for extravagant service or accommodation. But, in actual fact, touring riders are an essential part of ensuring both the artist and event organizer can perform and deliver to the best of their abilities.
The Three Types of Artist Riders
A fair amount of negotiation goes into drawing up artist riders. This ensures that both sides are satisfied and a fair deal is met. There are two standard types of artist riders in the music world: technical riders and hospitality or catering riders. A third rider known as an ‘Inclusivity rider’ has also slowly started to become more prevalent.
Technical riders cover the specific nitty-gritty details of exactly what the artist requires for their performance. This includes stage set-up requirements, whether the artist will be using their own instruments, soundcheck needs, and lighting requirements.
In some cases, technical riders also include security provisions and details around backstage access and personnel. They exist to ensure that the artist has access to everything they need to perform and equally so that the venue host knows what to expect and prepare for.
Hospitality riders, on the other hand, cover every element of an artist’s comfort while on tour. These contracts include details about accommodation, dressing rooms, transportation, and specific catering needs. Hospitality riders ensure there is no confusion around expectations and that everyone is looked after.
They generally also include room for reimbursement of potential out-of-pocket costs.
In recent years, a third type of rider, known as an inclusion rider, has started to rise in prevalence, especially in the electronic music scene. Inclusion riders make provision for people from under-represented groups to form a set percentage of an events line up or personnel.
This can include women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people or anyone else underrepresented within a specific scene. Inclusion riders aim to ensure diversity and fairness within the live music industry.
Why are riders so important for touring artists?
They exist to make sure that artists are technically equipped and comfortable to perform at their best.
The aim of riders is not to make the lives of venue hosts difficult but instead to ensure that no confusion arises during a tour or performance.
A good rider is clear, uncomplicated, and covers every aspect of the host and artist’s needs.
Want to know whats on an artists rider?
Tour riders are typically confidential between the event promoters and the artists but they do occasionally leak. For example Skrillex & Diplo had their Jack U tour rider leaked and this big festival revealed some of the craziest rider requests they have ever received.
We have also interviewed many artists on Soundplate and often ask about riders! Check out recent interviews from the Soundplate blog here.