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Booking agent: pros and cons?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by zycro, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. zycro


    Jul 28, 2004
    My band needs about a year of practice before we are ready for gigs. However, I was wondering what you guys think about hiring a booking agent. Nobody in my band really wants to do all that legwork to get a gig. I dont mind paying a small-ish % of our earnings to a booking agent.

    what do booking agents usually charge?

    Are they a good idea?
  2. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
  3. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    If you are talking about cover bands:
    They take 10% here in So. Cal. The pros: There are a number
    of high end pubs/clubs/restaurants plus public entities and
    corporations they contract with. Unless you are on the booking agent's roster, YOU WILL NEVER GET A GIG THERE
    no matter how hard you try. If you are part of the roster,
    they will keep you booked with gigs several months in advance. The Cons: They do take a portion of your gig money, and these people are somewhat inaccessable and
    unapproachable unless you "know someone" who can get
    your material looked at and listened to. Also, the talent
    agency environment is very political. The best bands don't
    always get the best gigs. Booking agents play favorites,
    that's a fact. It can also take many months to get a gig out of a booking agent. Their rosters are almost always full,
    and until one of their bands quits or breaks up, you won't
    get any consistent work except for last minute cancellations.
    If your band is lucky enough to get on the roster, your first several gigs will be at the lower end venues for lower end
    money. Here in So. Cal about 50% of the top notch venues
    are booked by a couple of agencies. They have maybe 30
    bands on their rosters between them. The remaining 50% of the venues are split up between hundreds of bands looking
    for work. These clubs get dozens of promo packs every week.
    Most of them end up in the trash without being looked at.
    Pay at these venues is correspondingly low, as it seems there
    are always bands willing to pay for little or nothing. It ain't

  4. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Pros--less headaches. We have no worries about finding our own gigs, and are kept busy (as busy as we want to be). We also have the freedom to book gigs on our own, we are not owned by the agency. We are getting into clubs that, like mentioned above, we would never have gotten into without being on the agency's roster. We are getting better deals in clubs that we have played before (free drinks, hotel rooms thrown in for long distance 2-3 nighters, better pay, etc) We have access to the studio that the agency owns to practice in if we want, and also get a hell of a rate on making a demo cd and eventually a full length cd if we decide to do so. The handle all of the promoting, all we have to do is show up at the gig and do our job when we get there. There is no more us having to mail out posters, make phone calls, etc. Like I said, less headaches for us.

    Cons--OK, so we have to give up 10% per gig. BUT, we are making more money per gig, and playing a lot more gigs, and getting other benefits, so that 10%, in my eyes, is outweighed by the pros.
  5. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Getting gigs is a pain in the ass. I think it's worth 10 or 20% to have someone else take over that headache. Do you know how hard it is to get a hold of a bar owner? Sometimes it takes weeks of perserverance. Having a professional put his face on your band's name will only help you.
  6. All the ones we've dealt with have been cons. ;)
  7. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    As the leader of my band I was approached at our last gig by a booking agent who seems really excited to work with us. My thinking is that she can have 15% of whatever gigs she gets us and whatever ones we get on our own we of course, should get the full amount (that's standard right?).

    My question is she wants her name and contact info on our facebook page as she says it helps her look more professional. She is independent and does not represent a large agency which is nice because she will give more of her attention to us. However, if we put her contact info on our facebook page (as well as mine which is already on there) , there is a good chance potential clients, venues etc will contact her and then we are out the 15%.

    I am thinking maybe its a better idea to have her name only and not the contact info.

    Booking Agent: "xxxx xxxx"

    I definitely want to retain her services and not piss her off as it saves me alot of work booking gigs. She can also likely get alot of gigs (private, corporate stuff) that I can't get. At the same time I don't think its fair to the band for her to take 15% from someone trying to hire us thru our facebook page (which is what we are using for our website/contact info).

  8. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Agents are fine if they get good paying shows consistantly.

    Why is it going to take a year before your ready, chances are you will break up before a years time.
  9. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    It's all about three things:

    How professional your band is/wants to become

    The written contract

    The booking agent's ability to perform

    A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on. ;)
  10. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I think you are thinking of the OP. My band has 3 sets ready to go.
  11. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    We will definitely be getting a written contract. I'll insist on that.

    We are not pro level players, but we certainly intend to conduct ourselves professionally.... and we won't turn down the pro money if we can get it. ;)
  12. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    "a year of practice before we are ready for gigs" ????

    I think a booking agent is the least of your worries.
  13. It would be interesting to hear where the OP's band is at 7 years later.
  14. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    You guys are funny. I am not the OP. I just tagged along in this thread instead of starting a new one. :)
  15. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    10% is about the max you want to give an agent, especially if you've also got management, roadie/sound, and possibly union expenses for gigs.
  16. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    ^ Well, we have none of things. She actually wanted 20% but said she'd take 15% since she likes what we do so much.

  17. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Basically, it looks like she's trying to get an exclusive with you without actually having to do one. I wouldn't let her put her name on my facebook unless she had a proven track record of getting gigs for you, and even then she'd have to make it worth your while.

    If you guys want to do an exclusive, make sure she gets you enough work. Some agents will get you tons of work right at the beginning or before the end of your contract just to reel you in for another year. Personally, I don't favor exclusives early in the stages of agency work.
  18. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    15% is the standard in the 3 major cities I gigged in.
  19. 15% ... no name on materials unless she signs your contract.

    I dig our agency we work with... upper scale places.. leg work done.
  20. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    If SHE is the one that's supposed to be getting you gigs, why would she need to use your FB page? If she doesn't already have the contacts and the ability to get you the gigs now, I'd pass on her.

    If you do decide to go with her and she insists on having her name on your FB page, then I would put your phone # next to it. That way, if someone calls, you will at least know that she wasn't the one that got you the gig . . . the FB did.