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Booking Agents - Who? Why? When? How?

  • 06 March 2014, Thursday
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A microphone on stage

Booking Agents (Talent Agents) have a number of responsibilities but in a nutshell, they are the people managing an artist’s live shows. They have connections with venues and promoters and know which venues are the best suited for which artist, and how to get the most out of each show for both sides.

Why should you get one?

Firstly, because getting a booking agent will help you manage your time. When you reach a certain point in your career you start finding that there are more and more things to manage and this will take up your time. Delegating some of the work would make it easier for you to concentrate on writing songs and practicing, as I guess you have become an artist essentially to perform music.

Secondly, because they have the connections and the experience. They would know which venues to put you on and they are likely to have an already established relationship with the promoters. This would help if you are booking a tour and are planning on going to places you haven’t played at yet. Agents bridge the gap between artists and venues/promoters, as they will see the agent as a person with experience and expertise.

When is the right time?

You can essentially take over this role for a while in the beginning of your career, when you are focusing on building a local fan base. Once you have made an impact on the local scene, bringing bigger numbers of fans to the local shows and have developed your social media channels you will find that it would be easier to get booked by other promoters. Your set will become tighter and your performance will improve, however once your career gets busier and you start dealing with too many things it’s time to consider getting an Agent on board. By that time you would be at the right stage for them to consider you.

How do you become attractive to them?

They want to be taking on bigger artists so they look good to venues and other artists, so it helps to be known when approaching them. But at the same time, they can be one of the biggest driving forces in advancing your career, as they are more likely to get the shows that will get you places. You have to understand that they make their money from a percentage of the fee the artist takes for the gig. This would mean they would be interested in artists who have proven they can bring people to gigs but at the same time would want to develop smaller acts as they would hopefully also bring revenue to them. Therefore it would be best to approach them after creating a strong following in your local and neighboring areas, this way showing you are capable of bringing a crowd. As mentioned above, showing your growing fan-base through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube would be of great benefit.

How to find one?

There isn’t a universal answer and it would probably be different for different artists, but it all comes down to the same key element – research. You have to find the best-suited agent to yourself as an artist to be able to benefit the most from them. Looking at similar artists to yourself and finding out who their agent is would be a good approach, as you can also contact the artist and see if they are happy with their agent. Furthermore, specific agencies would most likely have contact details on their website, and information about how they deal with new clients. This is where being at the right stage comes in play as when you contact them you want them to want to work with you.

The Pitch

Once you have found an agency you want to work with, and researched them, and found their contact details, it is key to plan your approach. As much as they will be music fans, they are business people and you should approach them as such. When you prepare to contact them on the phone or via e-mail, put together a short and easy to read list of your band’s achievements, social media numbers, venues you have played at, bands you have supported... impress them.

This article is written by Lucas Iliev from Music Gateway. Connecting music industry professionals through targeted project opportunities. 

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