Booking agent

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bill h, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    The band I am in, is to a point where a booking agent is needed. We have been playing out for over a year and want to move to other areas. What is the best way to get one? What do we as a band need to do to get the best one to represent us? and here is the hardest part... we are from central Minnesota very rural not a lot of towns let alone bigger towns. St. cloud is just over an hour away and Fargo North Dakota is just about two hours away. We as a band will travel to the bigger city's to play, But have no clue an getting gigs there.

    If you know of a Booking Agent in that area let me know of them.

    I did a search for them on google and found a lot of BS. The search for this on TB did not help. any and all help is greatly appreciate
  2. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I know of a pretty good one in Fargo that most bands in the area are using. My band is in the process of signing with him now. I will PM you with some contact info.
  3. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN

    Thanks for the info!!! I seen in your Profile that you play with Dixie North. Thats very cool. Niel lives about ten miles from me.
  4. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I USED to play with Dixie North. I still do some fill in work for him from time to time, but I have become too busy with my main band now so I usually can't do it any more.:( You are close to the Paynsville area, then, I assume??
  5. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN

    I am very close to Glenwood
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    If at all possible, don't "sign" with a booking agent, because once you do, you will be beholden to use them and pay their commission to play certain venues or areas.

    Just work with them at first, paying them commissions on what they book for you, as a trial period, to see how many bookings they can get you and the quality of the venues they can get you in.

    Check out "entertainment services" section in the local yellow pages for agents and agencies.
  7. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    What's typical, or acceptable, commission to pay a booking agent? Do they have their own percentages set? Is it usually negotiable?
  8. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN

    I think this is accurate if not someone feel free to chime in.

    They take ten to fifteen percent of the gig money.
  9. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    There are some online companies that you could use to advertise and book gigs.

    Take a look at:

    They charge a flat fee for membership with different benefits based on what you pay.
    There are no Commission fees for gigs booked.

    They include you in searches based on area and past history. Initially you may be at the bottom of the list for your area, but the more gigs that are booked, the more you move up in the searches.

    If you have a website, you can link to your profile on gigmasters - and direct people to your profile to pay for gigs online.

    We printed up business cards with our website and handed them out to a number of local clubs. On the business card is our website. On the website, we have a booking link that links to our profile on gigmasters.
  10. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    To embellish on what Eric said:
    If you are in a contract with that agent, you will have to pay the booking agent a commission for anytime you play a venue they booked for you in the past, regardless of whether or not the agent booked the gig.
    For example, Billy and the Boingers have a contract with Steve Dallas as their booking agent. Steve hooks up the Boingers with a gig at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go. Boingers play a great gig, and the crowd at the Whiskey loves them. The owner of the Whiskey has a falling out with Steve Dallas because Steve was caught sleeping with his old lady. But since the Whiskey crowd loves the Boingers, the owner wants to book them again. He calls Bill personally to get them to book a future gig. But due to the contract, Steve Dallas still gets his cut even though he did nothing to get them the 2nd gig.

    Maninbox, you're pretty right on with the commission. Most agents will charge 10 to 15 percent. 15% percent seems to be about the norm in most markets. Some agents will also charge a sliding scale, where they get a higher or lower percentage depending on what a gig pays. For example: 15% for gigs up to $1000 a night, 20% for all gigs above $1000.

    As Eric said, the yellow pages are a good source for finding more reputable agents. If the commission is an issue, you can get a friend that can sell snow to eskimoes who is willing to travel a bit to schmooze the club owner/manager. If the friend live in the area, you want to gig even better. If the person is a regular at one of the venues you want to play in, even better.

    My last bit of advice is: if you are going to use a professional booking agent, get your ducks in order. That means get your promo stuff like photos, demo CDs, references, press coverage, business card, website, etc. the best you can get them. Get your act honed, and be ready to put your best foot forward. Booking agents get tons of bands wanting their services, but only a few of those bands will ever make the guy any money. The bands that make him/her money are the ones they will spend their time with. A booking agent will have a list of "A bands" that are cash cows that make a consistent income for them. Then he/she will have a list of "B Bands" who have potential to make money or are able to play at venues when their "A band" can't make it. If the booking agent is good, even a "B band" can get plenty of decent work. The list of "C bands" consist of the bands whose CDs and promo material are piled up on the floor of their car or desk that they might get to someday. This not where you want to be, so you gotta show that you have something that the "C bands" don't. Your goal should be to get in as a "B band" and possibly work your way up to an "A band". Best way to do this is to use your promo stuff to show the agent that he/she has the potential to make some money off of you, and then put your money where your mouth is and perform.

    Best of luck, ManinBox
  11. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN

    That is about what I had figured... for the most part. I did manage to find one booking agent in the area that we as a band plan to perform. I gave them a call. Now I have to send them a Promo pack. Thanks for all the info.

    The booking agency said on the phone that they don't like to have a contract for the most part, because if the band does not do good then they do not do good so its better to keep it up front and if it works use it, if its broke get rid of it.