- Entertainment and Media
How to Become a Music Agent. Managing Bands and Artists.
Be an Entertainment Agent
So you are thinking in becoming a music/entertainment agent. Great, there is loads of good opportunities for you to make money.
The Music world is a great way of spending your life. Listening to music, meeting people, going around with musicians...well, more or less.
Being an agent requires a lot of hard work and loads of time in an office. Many hours on the phone is one of the main jobs of a music agent.
There are various levels in the music industry, if you are thinking of starting by being the personal manager of Bono from U2, let me tell you something, it is not going to happen...at least to start... :)
Start small. The smaller you start the less you can lose. You will be doing mistakes and the bigger the project the bigger the mistake and the bigger the trouble you will be in.
If you want to make some regular money try to go for covers bands/artists. Bands with original material can make you rich if things happen but you can be stuck for years not getting any gig, or getting free gigs. Don't forget that 15% of nothing is 0.
How to become a music agent:
First step - Start going out and see live bands. The more gigs you see the better.
Second step - Start talking with the musicians. Musicians are happy to speak with people at the end of the gigs. (not for long as they are probably a bit tired and still have to pack their stuff) One of the tips I can give you is: if you want to take this serious don't aim at the singers, usually everybody wants to talk with the singer, you are there on business and not to meet nice looking singers. Try to get to know the musicians, start talking about the gig and mention that you are thinking in becoming a music agent, musicians will help you, they want the gigs, if there is more people getting them new places to play the better for them.
On this step don't do the mistake of promising the world, just be simple and honest. Musicians get huge promises from "Simon Cowells" wannabes all the time and they don't even listen to them...they will just think, here is another Simon Cowell. Don't say: "I'm an agent and am looking to represent your band and will get you loads of gigs, we will get rich". (you can say this if you are sure you can do it, if you are starting don't promise anything apart from hard work)
Third step - After you know some musicians and found the band that looks to be nicer and more likely to be accepted by venues, talk to the guy you know in the band and ask what he/she thinks about you start trying to get them gigs. Try to receive suggestions from them. At the end of the day you want to have a band to represent and they want more gigs. You both can win from you doing a good job. Do not forget to ask for how much they want per gig and agree on your percentage. Aim for a 15% commission. If they insist on a 10% it can be a start, if they are really nice you might get a 20%.
Fourth step - You have one band to sell, you don't need more for now, start with one and grow with time. It is time for you to start approaching clients. Think and talk to the band about who the possible clients are. Are we talking about small pubs, big pubs, clubs, discos, festivals, stadiums??? Venues want bands; they are not doing you any favor in giving you a gig to your band. Of course if the band is not known to them it might be hard to convince them that you have a good product. Check with the band first how low you can go with the first gig and negotiate with the venue a small first time fee with the band coming back for more money if they go well. You will get a lot of "I will call you later" and "We are not looking for new bands", but do not forget, the more venues you approach the more chances you have to get a gig. Try different approaches. Be nice, but be confident that you have a great product and they will make a great night for the clients.
Fifth step - You got your first gig. You need to organize it, but you can't stop here, step 4 is an ongoing process, you have to keep getting gigs. Depending on the level your are working organizing the gig can be very different. You might be in a small level where you just have to verbally agree with the band and the venue a value, date and time to start. You can have to deal with contracts to both parts and be responsible for promotional material. Try to start simple. Be honest but don't let people take advantage.
Sixth step - do not forget to call the venue around a week before the gig to confirm that everything is in place and the start time. This will look professional and will help a good relationship between you and the venue manager. (you want them to book you band again. You also want them to trust you in a way that next time you have a new band they will book it straight away)
Seventh step - Things are starting to take shape. Try to get
another band and get them to play in the same places. With time this
and you will have a regular revenue by rotating your bands though the
venues.Different bands/artists might fit in different venues. Once
adding a new band to your books you might want to go back to step 4 and
try all the venues again, even the ones that said no the first time.
If this all works well and you do a good work, you can make this your main job. Imagine that you have 5 bands and you manage to get them all a gig per Saturday. You will have five bands playing at the same time every Saturday in different venues. That makes around 20 gigs a month in total.
Imagine this previous scenario. Let's calculate with low values (being it dollars or pounds, it is just an idea). If each band is playing for 200 and you get 15% you are getting 30. You are making 150 per Saturday with your 5 bands playing. That makes a total of 600 per month. Of course you will be aiming to get more money per gig and more gigs per week.
There is much more that can be said about becoming a music agent but I will leave it here for now.
Hope this helps.