Booking artists at venues for live shows and performances, and negotiating fees and payments for those arrangements.
Music agents are responsible for all live events and appearances an artist has. They maintain strong connections and knowledge of venues, promoters, and important media hubs in their designated areas and correspond with them on behalf of the artist’s team. For example, an agent in Nashville would focus on booking events for an artist in their specific area, rather than contacting venues across the country to book shows. Agents should have some legal knowledge under their belt as they also negotiate fees and contracts for those bookings.
One of the most important contacts for agents are promoters. Promoters work on behalf of a venue to book events, manage contracts and payments, and work on marketing. They can approach agents with potential opportunities at their venue and vice versa. Having a full roster of connections to promoters can streamline an agent’s task significantly and open the door to more opportunities for the artist.
The way agents book their artists differs between up-and-coming and bigger artists. Artists that are on the rise may need to be marketed for the booking more than a bigger artist would. Think of a salesperson, but for an artist. When booking for a rising artist, agents typically spend most of their time calling venues or clubs to book performances or contact promoters at venues. Rising artists are also booked as openers for more established acts by the agents. Booking for bigger artists could mean assisting in planning world tours, scheduling television appearances, and securing advertising and brand deals. Overall, relationships and connections with important event staff like promoters are crucial to this role.
It’s okay to not know what exactly you want to do and to try out different things within the industry. Between agency, management, publishing, label, and MANY more, there is a lot more that goes into an artist’s career than most people realize.
Agent @ Creative Artist Agency
On a day-to-day basis, I am at my desk on phone calls and responding to emails the entire day. I have my territory that I book for our entire country roster and the specific clients that I work on, so every day is a different balancing act and puzzles whether it’s routing a tour, sending offers, running avails, or putting out fires, usually the latter.
Some agents are close to their artists, but typically, agents are closer to the broader spectrum of music professionals. Agents must have contacts and large networks to book artists for different venues, interviews, and appearances so they remain active in the music network rather than solidify their relationship with the artist.
This role can be shifted to another person, though the artist team would experience the loss of some important connections that would leave with the agent. However, networks are easily rebuildable at times, so this is not a worry for some agencies.
- creative vision
- project management
- design software
- quick thinking
Agents spend a fair amount of time working in their network rather than reporting to a specific team or manager. They are usually given a roster to manage and work within their professional and personal network to book shows for their roster of clients at venues in their area. Because of this, a majority of an agent’s time is spent on the phone or working through emails to communicate and secure bookings. An agent works around the clock, usually replying to emails or booking meetings even outside of the general work hour.
70% in the office
20% at events
Is a degree required?
Recommended Degree: Business, Finance, Law, Event Management, Communication, Marketing
Many agents start from the bottom of the ladder and work their way up. Becoming a music agent is known to be a “mailroom” job, where entry-level positions typically reserve an hourly rate and have employees working more administrative tasks for some time.
For students, the best route is to secure an internship with an agency to gain an understanding of the field and have the opportunity to work around established agents and see their rosters. Some agencies have in-house training to create a consistent flow of professionals at their agency.
It is also a good approach to reach out to your local venues and offer your skillset. Search for street team roles promoting shows, working closely with venues for events, and building your network through there. Oftentimes, agents will be present at the show, working with the venue staff on last-minute details.
Promoters work on behalf of a venue to book events, manage contracts and payments, and work on marketing the show.
A structured but short business presentation that describes the value of something and why your audience should invest in it.
Written by Hina
Created by Fran and Jordan
Published October 25th 2021
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