ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, November 21, 2005

Managing Public Image in Star-for-Hire Contracts

The N.Y. Times reports on a "growing trend": the very rich are increasingly hiring superstars to perform at their private parties. These "star-for-hire" private performances can command up to $1 million, and because of the "cheese factor" many stars demand that the performances be kept private. The article explains:

Before committing to a private date most stars or their representatives carefully read the guest list and demand a clause in the contract forbidding publicity: no press, no cameras, no video. The secrecy, say people involved in these functions, stems in part from the stars' insecurity. They worry that cashing a six-figure check for a couple of hours of rocking out for Aunt Alice or Cousin Bobby will make them look like sellouts - or, maybe worse, wedding singers. The last thing they want is to be associated in the gossip pages with an event that smacks of elitist excess.

Presumably, no hot ticket performer wants to be seen as a wedding singer. This is likely why a spokeswoman for Sir Elton John refused to comment on rumors that the artist had performed at the wedding of a British financier. Instead, she explained to the newspaper that "‘private concerts’ are private." It raises an important question, though: how many six-figure "private performances" does it take for a superstar to become a wedding singer?

[Meredith R. Miller]

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