Being an artist means you want to create your music and share it with the world. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. You need a team to help you book events, manage your career, and promote both you and your music. That team includes booking agents who are experienced in artist management. Finding a music manager can all be intimidating and confusing, especially if you are new to the business.

Understanding the goings on within the music industry requires knowledge of how the business works, along with the roles and responsibilities of each team member. Each industry professional, their relationship to the artist management team, and how booking agents are involved in the process are things you will need to learn to get started. But neither learning nor making your music dreams happen has to be as daunting as it sounds.

The Artist Management Team

management team

Your artist management team is a team that works closely with you, the artist, and they will work with you throughout your career. They will drive you to success since there is only so much you can accomplish on your own. Sure, you have the tools needed get a good start, but once things get going, you’ll want to have an artist management team to help take you to the next level.

Music manager

artist signing contract with his music manager

Your music manager has many responsibilities. Primarily, the job of a music manager is to create opportunities for you. They should be building and executing a strategy specifically designed for you and your strengths as an artist. It is the job of the music manager to connect you to the right people.

The music manager also needs to make sure the right team members come on board at the right time. These are decisions you, as the artist, should be aware of, but shouldn’t need to make. In short, part of the music manager’s job is to make the tough choices, letting you focus on your music.

If you can find a good music manager, they will want to have a plan for you and do everything they can to make that plan a reality. This means that your manager truly believes in you and your ability. If a music manager doesn’t believe in you, how will they be able to sell you to others?

Your music manager needs to be objective, as well. That doesn’t mean they have the final say; it just means they need to be confident enough to share their thoughts. The music manager should be able to provide critical feedback with tact while still maintaining belief in you and your eventual success.

The relationship you develop with your artist manager will become personal, given enough time. This is a good thing. You want your manager to be deeply involved in what you are doing so they can develop your personal brand. Establishing a personal relationship with your manager is essential since you’ll want to have honest feedback and opinions from someone you can trust.

Booking agents

lady on her phone while looking at her laptop

The job of your booking agent is to find and facilitate performances. This means they are responsible for securing locations, negotiating the deal, taking care of technical details, and overseeing logistical (hotel, travel, dinners) efforts for all events.

Think of the booking agent as the middleman between you and some serious gigs. Sure, you’re probably more than capable of landing fair, or mid-level performances, but to get on the big stage, you’ll want the help of a booking agent. Your booking agent will pitch you to promoters and event leads. They will also make sure the contract details are completed and signed before the actual show.

Event promoter

guys looking at the laptop

Those who host the events and performances are referred to as event promoters. Promoters could range from a nightly club event to a large-scale concert. They all provide an opportunity, and they are all critical. Part of the job of your booking agent is to develop and foster a relationship with essential promoters across the country and get you into events that align with your strategy as a musician.

Booking agents should also develop long-term partnerships with promoters. This gives you a leg up when a big event or attraction becomes available. If your booking agent has done their job, then you might be on the list of invitees for a significant performance. Booking agents will also seek out other opportunities, such as radio and television performances, recording time, and any other type of medium that will help advance your music career.

How to Get an Agent

how to get an agent

This is where the rubber meets the road. As mentioned previously, your booking agents are the buffer between you and the event promoters. You want your booking agents to develop relationships with promoters, as well as know which locations and venues are best suited to your music.

Since your booking agent should be familiar with events and promoters, they tend to have an inside track on booking performances. If you’re a band or musician that has never been heard before, having a booking agent will go a long way toward landing a gig.

The problem you’ll face is paying your booking agent. Booking agents work off commission, so they get between 10 and 20 percent of the money for shows they book. This problem becomes even more significant when all you’re landing are gigs that pay a few hundred dollars. Booking agents may decide it’s not worth their time until you have a more substantial following or they can land you more prominent performances.

So, then your problem becomes getting the attention of booking agents as an indie artist. The first thing you want to do is build up your gigs. Get to a point where you’re making decent money from your performances. Determine a way to make your shows profitable.

Once you’re making money from your shows, it’s time to reach out and find a booking agent. If you want to set yourself apart, invite booking agents to come to a live performance. This shows the booking agent that you are serious about becoming a musician and allows them to see how successful you are. It also lets the booking agent hear your music and see how audiences react to it.

Are You Ready for a Booking Agent?

You have the skills, the talents, and the tools necessary to become a successful music artist, but do you have the mindset? Are you capable of handling criticism and feedback then taking that information and moving forward? Can you keep plugging away while holding tight to your vision of success?

If you have a successful mindset, you are empowering yourself to create the momentum required to be successful. Remember that having a booking agent doesn’t mean you are letting go of the direction of your career. You are still the driver, and you should never give up on your dreams. Sure, finding a booking agent might be the first sign of success, but that doesn’t mean things are going to get more comfortable going forward.

Remember, finding a good booking agent is just the first step of many in your career. You’ll have performances, shows, recordings, marketing, and public relations that all need to work together toward your career goals. In the meantime, do everything you can to ensure your music career is getting off on the right foot. Once you show booking agents that you are capable of making money, they’ll be ready and willing to join you on your journey.


Image CC by 2.0, by Shehal Joseph, via Flickr

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