In this simple article I will give you some basic steps to becoming a booking agent. It is not difficult and really only requires a positive attitude. It is very important to remember that this article will go through the steps to Becoming a booking agent, and not how to Stay a booking agent.
In this article you will find:
Step 1: Find a Venue
A venue can be a bar, club, theater, hall, or house party. Basically, it is anywhere that can host a music show. You can start small and get into booking for house parties, but to be more professional, you will want to look more towards established venues. Find one that is local to you and in a fairly popular area. Most any venue that has a decent history will have a website, and you can look them up through google. Find their contact page and send the booker a message.
You will want to agree on a date to book at that venue that is at least 1 month away from the current date. That way you have just about enough time to find bands, make promotional tools, and promote/advertise for the show. The more time you have to do everything the better, but if you are confident in your abilities, 30 days is enough time.
You will need to find out from the booker how much their fee is to use their venue for the night. Most venues have a fee, but you will run into others than take a percentage. You will also need to find out if the venue is willing to compensate the band as far as alcohol or food goes.
Step 2: Find Your Bands
This is a very important step, and for a logical reason. You can't become a booking agent if you don't have at least 10 bands to work with. Depending on the time slot that the venue has given you, you will usually book between 3 and 5 bands for a one night show. Unless you are working with cover bands, which is when you will just book one band for a whole night.
So now it is time to get to work! This is when having a few months before your first show will come in handy. Advertise for a band anywhere you can. Try to be a bit mysterious when you place your ad, leave them the date you need to book and an email or phone number where they can find more information. Once you have advertised you will want to do your history as much as you can on the bands that have applied for the position.
Google their band names and see if anything comes up. Good or bad, it will be wise for you to know about it. If they regularly pack a venue, or if they are big time trouble, someone will likely have said something about it. You will also want to conduct a mini-interview through email to get as much information from them as you can.
Make sure to visit any social networking sites or websites that the band has. Some things you will want to look at:
-Who is on their friends/fans list
-Their Gig Calendar
-The date on the last comment they got
-The last date they were on their account
-How many band members?
-The general appearance of their site (professional? basic? put together?)
There are plenty of other things to look at as well, but these will give you some starting points and where to go from there. Lets say you run into a band that has more than 500 friends, you will want to run through and look at who is on their friends/fans list. Are they all other bands? Are they people? Are they bots? Are the actual people that are on the list from the same city as the band or at least near by? Often times the bands will just try and add as many friends/fans as they can without thought, which becomes troublesome when your looking for a band with a decent fan base. You want bands that are popular in your local area, not in hong kong or germany.
Once you have grudged your way through finding 3 to 5 bands, you will need to give them each a set length and time. Then you will need to give the booker at the venue that list and notify the bands of their times and when to be at the show. Always tell them to be their a couple of hours before their set. The good bands will do so and every other band will be late.
Step 3: Promote Your Show
There are plenty of ways that you will find useful for promotions. Street teams, promoters, DIY or band promotions. You will need to have some fliers made at very minimum and get some stables, tape and gas. It is important to remember that the best way to promote is to get other people to promote for you or with you. Doing it all by yourself will work for smaller gigs, but in the world of booking agents, bigger is better. You need the maximum amount of fans you can get.
It is also wise to make some alliances with promoters in your area. They can help connect you with more bands, venues and secrets of the trade. They will usually want a percentage of your earnings at the show they promote for you, but that is nothing when you think about indispensable it is to have all those fans show up with less effort on your own part.
Step 4: Create a Goal
From here on out it is all about staying organized, motivated and on top of your game. If you went with the 1 month plan, you will need to plan out your 30 days. It will most likely take the whole first week to find appropriate bands for your show. During that time you will need to make or have some fliers made, decide whether you are going to pre-sale tickets and figure out any other expenses you will have. You will also want to ad in cost for advertising, the venue fee and possibly hiring a promoter.
Lay out all your options and figure out what it will cost you to hold the show. And then assume that you will lose it all. I say this for two reasons. 1) If this is your first show, you most likely wont make back all your money. If your good you'll get most of it. 2) Even a seasoned professional has a night here or there when they don't make back any of their money. It happens.
If you want to compensate your bands with any cash, then you need to decide how much to give them. Will you divide the excess proceeds evenly after your percentage? Or will you give each band what they earned?
Step 5: Have a Show!
This is crunch time. From the last week up to your show, you should be double checking that everything is going smoothly up until the show date. Contact your bands, your venues, staff members, and everyone you can think of. Than make sure that you make it to the show! Otherwise they will have no host, and you will have a very very bad reputation.
Step 6: Repeat
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Its important to remember that this career road is usually rough in the beginning, and it is not for those who are not persistant and self-forgiving. Remember that just because you had a few bad nights, it will all pass and go away as you earn a better reputation.
A Booking Agent is a person or company that has venues and bands on file and can help them find each other. You can either charge a fee for your services, or make a percentage of the revenue at your shows. Your job is not to become anyone's friend in particular, but to be friendly with everyone. You work to connect the venues and the bands together and generate a profit for this service.