As many musicians find out early in their career, talent isn’t everything. Your music has to be high quality, but what will set you apart is hard work. This is also what will impress booking agents. As an artist you have to market and advocate for yourself, but at some point you will want the help of an agent to really evolve your career.
A booking agent will do exactly what’s in the name, manage your bookings. They will also work to get you fair compensation, set up tours, manage budgets for entire shows and tours, as well as arranging more press coverage to grow your fan base. Though this is something you can do yourself, an agent will have the connections to get you gigs that you wouldn’t be able to on your own.
Before you’re ready for a booking agent, you should be regularly playing live and filling venues. You also should have a good amount of experience playing live, as an agent will definitely be able to tell the difference. Once you feel you are at the point where a booking agent can help boost your career, there are a few things to help you stand out.
One of the biggest things is professional and active social media accounts, as well as a website. This means having active accounts on multiple platforms, quality photos and promotional posts, and of course, a solid following. This is one of the first points of contact a lot of fans and agents will have with you, so make sure it represents you well. You should also link your artist website to your accounts, so people can quickly connect to your music and live show schedule.
Something else to put together before looking for booking agents is a digital press kit, or DPK. This is your music resume, and brings together your artist bio, music releases, tour dates, music videos, social media and contact info. Most booking agents find DPK’s on sites like Sonicbids, reverberation, etc. annoying because the format is not a quick and easy to follow. It’s best to hire a graphic artist to design a “One-Sheet” with all your information, and then create an online version on wix or your artist website, which essentially mimics the one-sheet design, but with videos.
Actually finding a booking agent is like most other things in the industry; through connections. Agents often find artists through managers, promoters, publicists, venue owners, and even other artists or producers. Occasionally, they will find artists through a popular song on a certain playlist or a popular chart. You also have the option of reaching out to booking agents yourself. Remember to keep it professional and start with an email with links to your music and inviting them to a live performance. Or, try calling their office, but be very weary of cold calling an agent directly. Do not brag about your music or yourself, they’ve heard it all before. Let your music and/or your numbers do the talking.
If you are ready for a booking agent, or once you work up to that point, make sure to put your brand together as professionally as possible, and then start your search for a booking agent. You get just one chance to make a first impression!