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Why does Encore have a Service Fee?


When we founded Encore in 2014, our mission was to build a platform that gave every musician the opportunity to promote themselves and win bookings online while keeping the cost of the service to a minimum.

However, in order to grow into a sustainable business (and not a charity – a model which would have limited the number of musicians we could help), we knew we would have to make money somehow. The solution for us was to only ever charge musicians a fee when they get booked through Encore. This is always 20% and is always shown to you when you quote for a gig.

Unlike most listings sites, we won’t charge you a penny unless you’ve been booked for work you wouldn’t have got elsewhere.

The 20% we do charge is cheaper than most agencies* while being high enough for us to generate the revenue which sustains the host of other features we offer to our musicians.

*In a recent survey of the 10 most popular online music agencies (according to Google search results), we found that the average commission taken was 27%, with most charging around 20% and more established agents charging up to 50%. Of these, half did not display their commission publicly to either musicians or clients.  

How does the cost compare to other booking services?

The table below compares the cost of Encore to other online services: a personal website set up yourself, a listings site which allows you to promote yourself on their site in return for a fee, and a traditional agency which takes a high commission in return for a more hands-on approach to getting you bookings.

Note: by comparing Encore to these other services we’re not suggesting that you use Encore exclusively (for example, we recommend you have a personal website). 

ServiceSetup costRecurring cost
Personal websiteFirst subscription instalmentTypically monthly subscription (£10-£50)+ annual cost of domain (£5-£15)
Listing websiteFirst subscription instalmentTypically monthly subscription (£50-£150)
AgenciesUsually freeTypically 20%-40%
EncoreFree20% commission (only when you get booked)

Why isn’t the Service fee added to the client’s fee?

We did start by charging the commission on top of the musician’s quote, but found that clients found it confusing when discussing prices for musicians. The problem was that musicians often used the amount they quoted (e.g. £1000) rather than the figure the client paid (£1200) in messages and calls, causing all sorts of trouble. We learnt that it makes more sense for musicians (who are more likely to be familiar with the platform) to be aware of two prices, than the customer.

Reducing the mental workload of the client, as a rule in e-commerce, also has the knock-on effect increasing the likelihood of them buying. Consider the example of Amazon or Uber – as a customer, it’s unlikely you’ve ever thought about the commission they take from their merchants and drivers. It’s much simpler to read a price of £100, than it is to read £80 + £20 fee.

What is the Service fee spent on?

The money we charge from the Service fee goes directly into improving the Encore service, helping more musicians get more fairly-paid work. Read our article here explaining the benefits Encore provides to its members.





Jonny Venvell

Jonny is Encore's Head of Artist Relations.

He's responsible for supporting and helping musicians on the platform and writes most of the musician-facing articles on the blog. He can usually be found singing in choirs, drumming in bands, or nodding meaningfully to particularly good chords in London's jazz bars.

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