TN 12 (01-12)

RS 02101.252 Variety Entertainers

A. Definition of variety entertainers

Variety entertainers amuse audiences by musical performances, skits, dances, readings, feats of skill, songs, or comedy acts. They work in legitimate and burlesque theaters, movie houses, circuses, fairs, hotels, and nightclubs.

Variety entertainers must:

  • perform at specified times;

  • maintain a certain moral standard; and

  • render services on the employer's premises.

B. Control factors for services performed by variety entertainers

Many variety entertainers retain control over the conditions of their performance and are independent contractors. If the purchaser of their services controls the conditions of their performance, the variety entertainer is an employee.

The principal factors that indicate control are:

  • a continuing relationship;

  • the performer cannot hire helpers or substitutes;

  • the performer cannot work for others in competition with the employer;

  • the employer controls the performer's order of services;

  • the performer cannot integrate his or her services into another business;

  • the performer has no opportunity for profit or risk of loss;

  • the performer receives his or her pay on a time basis; and

  • either party may end the relationship at any time.

C. Variety entertainers as employees

A variety entertainer is an employee when he or she:

  • can be fired at any time;

  • cannot hire helpers or substitutes;

  • has a performance that becomes an integral part of another business;

  • does not have an opportunity for profit or risk of loss;

  • has a performance that may undergo considerable change to suit the employer's purpose;

  • is engaged on a long-term basis;

  • is subject to supervision over the number, time, place, and length of rehearsals and performances; subject to supervision regarding duty and behavior; and is bound by rules and regulations to the purchaser of the services; and

  • may not work for others.

NOTE: The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) uses a Form B contract for temporary musical engagements. This contract purports to establish an employer-employee relationship between the entertainer and the purchaser of their services. The actual amount of control the purchaser has over the conditions of the performance determines the employment relationship.

D. Variety entertainers as independent contractors

A variety entertainer is an independent contractor when he or she:

  • furnishes his or her own music arrangements, stage props, and wardrobe;

  • has a contract that is usually obtained through booking agents or personal representatives, specifying only the time, place, and length of each engagement in addition to the pay;

  • has an act that is not an integral part of another business;

  • maintains a high degree of independence;

  • establishes a reputation as an entertainer; and

  • performs acts or routines as a series of short-term engagements for various operators of theaters, nightclubs, restaurants, or similar businesses.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0302101252
RS 02101.252 - Variety Entertainers - 01/06/2012
Batch run: 01/06/2012
Rev:01/06/2012