Many bands book their own shows. A booking agent will help take the load off of bands. If you want more shows with less work, here’s how to get a booking agent.
Playing in a band as a living is a dream for many people, but a reality for far less. If you’re one of those people, however, you should still take it just as seriously as you would a regular job.
“Taking things seriously” involves more than practicing your music, though. You need to invest in your band like you would your business.
Hiring a booking agent to handle time-consuming responsibilities for you is a great way to do so.
Not sure how to get a booking agent for your band? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s take a look.
Zero in on Your Target
You can save yourself a lot of time by doing what you can to narrow your search.
The last thing you want to do is send a demo/pitch to everyone in the local scene that you can find. Once you get the reputation of being pushy or annoying, it can be difficult to shake.
Thus, you need to do some research on the agents you’re attempting to contact. For example, if you play in an alternative rock band, don’t reach out to agents who only work with jazz musicians.
Not only will this waste both your and the agents’ time, but it will also lead to decreased morale since it’s very unlikely you’ll hear back.
Instead, look for agents in your area that book shows for bands in your genre or those similar to you. You’ll have a much greater chance of moving forward.
Play Live… A Lot
No agent wants to book shows for a band that’s never played live before. It’s often a massive headache for an agent to try and get a time slot at a venue for an unknown band.
You’ll also be unlikely to find an agent who actually has faith in your band since nobody will be able to tell how you handle things on stage.
This brings us to our catch-22: you need an agent to book shows for you, but you need to play shows to find a good agent. There is a solution, however.
You (or your manager, if you have one) can book shows at small, local venues on your own solely for the live experience. The more you get your name out there, the more likely you’ll be able to find a quality booking agent.
If you’re particularly good at playing live performances, it’s not improbable that booking agents start reaching out to you first.
If you’re particularly lucky, you’ll encounter an agent who works for a large booking agency that can add you to their database of artists for their clients to search through.
Want to learn more? Check out what the team at Alive Network has to say about it.
Talk to Everyone You Meet
There’s a saying that nobody builds a business alone, and a band’s success isn’t any different.
As with any industry, networking should always be a priority. But, it’s absolutely crucial in the music industry to build as many quality contacts as you can without burning any bridges.
Your band could have the most unique, groundbreaking sound, but you’re going to have a hard time getting a show at a popular venue if you don’t know the right people.
It can be intimidating to build this list of contacts from the ground up. But, it’s a necessary step if you want to have the connections that can lead you to a reliable booking agent.
Open For Headlining Bands
This is one of the most important steps you can take, albeit fairly difficult to accomplish.
When you perform as the opener of a more popular band (these are often ones that are on tour), their whole team will be there to hear you play. If your set goes particularly well, you could find yourself impressing all the right people you need to take you to the next level.
This may sound like a dream come true, and that’s because it is. However, it takes some work to get there.
Remember the “playing local venues” situation we mentioned earlier? You’ll only be able to secure a slot as an opener if local venue bookers know who you are, so expect to spend some time playing smaller shows.
Once you get your foot in the door, however, you’ll have the potential to open for big-name bands that come through your city, putting you in the spotlight for all the right eyes to see.
Understand Where You’re At
Many musicians get so immersed in their craft that they fall out of touch with reality. This isn’t to say that musicians aren’t self-aware, but some have a tendency to be too focused on making it big that they don’t set realistic short-term expectations.
If you’re not building a loyal fan base or consistently working on improving your music/live performances, you most likely don’t need an agent at all. It’s important to be honest with yourself so that you don’t waste anyone’s time (including your own).
If you find yourself in this situation, however, don’t be discouraged! You have your work cut out for you.
Play at smaller venues, build your brand and then search for an agent when you feel you’ve outgrown the local scene.
Learning How to Get a Booking Agent Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the above tips on how to get a booking agent in mind, you’ll be well on your way to finding the right agent who can help take your band to the next level.
Need some more advice on how to be successful? Make sure to check out the rest of our blog!