Do You Need a Booking Agent?
Sooner or later as a musician who wants a career in the music business you are going to need a booking agent. What is a booking agent? A person whom finds the band a job, or arranges and sets up tour dates. The booking agent may also handle arrangements related to venue management. (Also known as a talent agent, a booking agent may act as liaison between the act and venue operators.) Another part of their job could entail ensuring that contractual obligations are met for both you as a musical artist and the venue.
Clients are varied and could include not only musicians and bands but also models, actors, comedians, and others in the entertainment business.
Booking Agreements may vary but an agent is usually paid a percentage of the money his or her client receives for any job or gig arranged by the agent. A booking agent could also agree to work with you on an independent basis, finding clients on his own, or perhaps as part of an agency, that works with other agents to establish relations with a larger base of clients.
A key to remember is that depending on the client, a booking agent’s duties may vary. For musicians and bands, who do not have management a booking agent may act as a representative of his client, contacting music venues for potential dates in which his client may appear and perform. A music agent may arrange payment details with venue management prior to the performance, and make sure that any special agreements made between you as his client and venue officials are all on track. The agent may work with outside promoters to publicize and market the performance, to help ensure high ticket sales.
Do not confuse a music agent for an acting or modeling agent. As a modeling agent is responsible for contacting film and television industry professionals on behalf of his client to acquire TV spots, commercials, advertisement placement, and other jobs for a particular client. His contacts would most likely include casting directors for film or TV, fashion photographers, advertising agencies, and others. If his client is hired for a job, modeling or acting agents may coordinate or negotiate contractual agreements and payment as well.
Make sure your booking agent stays on the up and up when they represent you as an artist. On a few rare occasions some agents have been caught either under cutting an artist to gain extra money or recommend another artist that might play cheaper than your band is willing too.
An artist who does not have music management or artist management may also ask the booking agent to maintain a press or media kit for the artist and distribute it to potential “buyers.” For musical acts, a media kit might include a video or CD of the artist’s work, along with photos and media clippings of the musician or band.