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Beware divas in business

Losing $250,000 thanks to the random whims of a celebrity would sour anybody.

While Australian Sam Speaight had a healthy track record in managing shows for numerous other high-profile US hiphop artists, betting on Mos Def last year proved an extremely costly choice when Def bowed out of four of 11 gigs at the last minute.

As laid out in The Vine, the entire Australian tour was a disaster, leaving a trail of suppliers around the country out of pocket (see angry comments below story...).

Buddhism got Speaight through with a minimum of bitterness, but now he's quitting the industry and going off to study business, with some hard lessons already under his belt.

For one, contracts are one thing. Enforcing them is another. Getting terms laid out in writing is all well and good, but unless you're willing to take things to court, you might as well burn the paper for heat when your power gets cut off. (And it's another story entirely when the other party runs out of money – blood from a stone and all. I'm still owed nearly a grand in rent and bills by a former flatmate.) 

And it pays to pay attention to the warning signs. While some people have undeserved reputations as a hard case, as Speaight knew, Mos Def had a history of cancelling shows on a whim and other fussy, fickle behaviour – what were the odds of him putting his professional pants on and stepping up the game this time?

"More often than not, there’s very little justification if any given for it," he said. "It’s oftentimes just a childish whim, whereby they’ve decided that something about the project isn’t to their liking, or they’ve got something better to do that day, or they don’t feel like getting out of bed that morning." 

Make life easier on yourself – avoid dealing with people who make things difficult.