desk with computer, headphones and agenda

What does a Music Booking Agent Do?

The music booking agent role is one of the most challenging ones in the live music industry. Not only do you have to work around the clock, delivering multiple tasks, but you also have to become attractive to the best performers. After all, if your roster succeeds, you do, and you may bring in more talent to grow your business.

The Berklee School of Music explains that “Music agents work with artists to schedule concerts, tours, and in-person appearances, and to negotiate fees and contracts for those bookings. For up-and-coming clients, this may mean working the phones to book a string of club dates or secure an opening slot with a more established act. For bigger artists, it could mean planning national or world tours, scheduling radio and television appearances, and securing advertising deals or sponsorships. Whatever the case, developing relationships with talent buyers, promoters, festival organizers, and venue managers is a vital part of any agent’s job, as is becoming intimately familiar with the musical style, clientele, ownership, and support services of music venues across the nation.”

These responsibilities require from you a set of competencies which may include the following:

  • Effective communication skills
  • Excellent negotiation abilities
  • Coordination, management, and organizational skills
  • Leadership characteristics
  • Mobile work mindset

Most of your day likely involves close contact and collaboration with your clients (i.e., performers), venues, hotels, restaurants, transportation providers, airlines, and so on. This schedule means you spend a significant amount of time networking, chatting, texting, sending emails, coordinating meetings, and navigating calendars or spreadsheets, even while on the go.

And so, what do you need to become a successful music booking agent? Let’s review what top musicians and bands look for to fulfill their needs.

Related: How Do You Plan A Concert Checklist?

What Top Musicians Look for in Music Booking Agents

According to the web portal Celebrity Access, a good booking agent is essential for every successful artist. In addition to helping with other accomplishments, you could get bands playing in DIY spaces, club dates, or even make a small venue headliner become a theater act. 

“A great booking agent can take someone’s career to the next level, and that is what we want for you and your music. Every artist wants a booking agent, and there are far more talented musicians than skilled booking agents. The competition for attention is tough. So much so that many will spend months or even years looking for an agent who can help their career,” the same portal continues.

Booking agents earn money by taking a cut of a concert or tour proceeds. As a general rule, the payouts limit themselves to the actual fees related to performances, not the income received from selling merchandise at shows and other sources of funds. 

It is usual for bands to pay their agents 10 to 15% of the profits earned during a gig, but these cuts could reach 18% or even 20%. It is then in your best interest to get the most money from every performance. 

This also brings up an interesting point: A massive part of your job consists of attracting the right talent to your roster. Therefore, you need to filter through every band that reaches out to you while developing a sharp eye to attract artists who catch your attention.

Overall, top talent is looking for the following in their music booking agent:

Proactivity

If an artist is genuinely committed to pursuing a music career, they will permanently be looking for ways to take their work to the next level. Maybe one of their songs went viral; they had huge success as an opening act or significantly impacted a national TV show. 

There are certain milestones at which artists will start looking for a proactive music booking agent to help them keep their fans’ interest alive and reach new and larger audiences. 

Networking

Organizing and booking concerts or tours is an integral part of being a performing musician today. Those who want to be successful as artists must perform live as well. They must find a music booking agent who has experience approaching promoters, negotiating contracts, helping them develop a fan base, selling music, and generating publicity.

Related: Choosing The Best Event Management App

Connection

Bands and solo artists find it challenging to find the perfect music booking agent. They engage in extensive research and work hard to catch your attention. In the end, they want someone they can connect with enough to make them feel they care about their success, about their fans, and their music. Proving you are attentive to details and catering to their needs as much as you do for other talents on your roster could be a “make or break” factor for them.

Depending on what they want to achieve by working with you, they want you to become an ally and a true business partner. 

Managerial skills

Top musicians will be more likely to reach out to you if you are known for your managerial skills, as we briefly mentioned above. When a band reaches a certain level in its career, a music booking agent can help them manage all aspects of their business, from fan base control to booking inquiries, concerts, and releasing new music. 

So, do you think you have what it takes to work with the best talent around? There may be one missing piece of this puzzle that can help you truly stand out from the rest.

Become the Most Agile Music Booking Agent

If you’ve found you can’t take your music booking agent career to the next level, it may be because you don’t have the right tool to do your work. The best technology can help you become more efficient and productive with your current roster and allow you to incorporate more talent and manage them all seamlessly.

The most comprehensive live music management platform can enable you to:

Optimize your business processes by consolidating and streamlining them

The best solution will let you create contracts faster, track holds, and settle with artists more easily. From holds to settling, you will have everything you need in one place, whether on your desktop or mobile device.

Create a roster in just a few clicks

Get an overview of your artists and finances in no time. The account information can be easily viewed, including earnings, commissions, number of shows, deposits, and settlements received, as well as other features that make managing your accounts easier.

Work directly with your artist roster

An industry leader will provide you with the tools you need to work efficiently and achieve more in a shorter amount of time. Functionalities include adding events, contacting and contracting artists, drilling into existing artist information to view the type of deal, guarantees, deposit amounts, commissions, and due dates.

View historical and forecasted insights

An effective platform lets you monitor show health and forecast revenue with automatic ticket counting, a dashboard, and customizable reports. Review previous offers from specific agents, or an agency at large, to see show notes and profitability so you can make informed booking decisions.

If you’re wondering if such a tool exists, the answer is yes. Prism is an all-in-one approach solution crafted by live music professionals with the music booking agent in mind. Boost your productivity with several features created to organize your artists’ shows while saving you time and money. Get started now.

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Let Prism settle your shows.