Guest Post: How to Attract a Booking Agent!

Guest author, Joel Siviour is a booking agent at Seismic Talent Agency, a boutique music company based in Sydney. 

You’ve got a gleam in your eye and a debut mixtape that you have poured your heart and soul into. You are finally ready for your creative genius to be recognized by the world, but those stadium shows aren’t going to organize themselves… That’s what an agent is for, right? 

Before you start busting down every agency door in a ten-mile radius, take a moment to recognize exactly what an agent actually does and what they’re looking for when they’re scouting new talent. 

Fundamentally, a booking agent helps you build your performing career through the medium of your live performance. This breaks down into a variety of smaller tasks such as identifying strategies for growth, negotiating the best deals and managing relationships with talent buyers. These functions all go hand-in-hand with a manager’s input and direction, the pair ensuring that the live performances align with label releases, writing sessions or publicity commitments. 

For an agent to do their job effectively, it is vital to make sure that you’ve got a live show ready to roll. In fact, you’d better make sure it’s unforgettable. A unique and memorable live show will place you leagues ahead of other artists that an agent is considering signing and will show that you understand how and when an agent can most effectively support your growth as an artist. 

Even if you’re yet to play a show and thanks to the wonder of the internet your music has started topping charts around the world, an agent can help identify the best strategies to launch the first live show for the new project. When venues and festivals are already banging down your door, an agent will be able to provide clarity on which shows to do and which ones to politely decline. Not every opportunity that presents itself will be the right fit for you. 

However, a more common scenario will see an agent looking out for an act that has nailed their hometown following with a well-versed live show. This proves to them that you’re willing to hustle, plan strategically and build a loyal following; all qualities that are essential for next-step growth. If an act is unable to cultivate a fanbase who are willing to buy tickets in their own backyard, where you have the most personal connections, it’s going to be exponentially harder to emulate on a larger scale. 

It is also valuable to build an identifiable brand for your act. Be it a color scheme, an aesthetic portrayed through fashion, or an online persona. After all, booking agents are at their core salespeople; if you offer up the tools they need to generate interest in your act, a good agent will recognize your potential and start chasing you instead. 

Think you’re ticking all the boxes so far? 

The next step is to get a foot in the door at an agency, but there is a right way and a wrong way to start reaching out. Ensure you put your best foot forwards by avoiding the pitfalls that trip up many developing acts. 

Research is your friend. Too many young acts make the mistake of sending out a blanket email to every and any agent out there. This is almost always the quickest way to alienate any potential connections; “to whom it may concern” generally concerns no one. The key is finesse. Start looking at some of the acts that you admire or other artists within your friendship circles – take note of who their agents are and what their rosters look like. If you can pinpoint a handful of agents that are well suited for the music that you make and align with the professional qualities that you value, you’ve already got a vastly stronger case when starting conversations. You should know exactly who you’re talking to and why your career should be of interest to them. 

Above all else, never forget that you deserve an agent who is genuinely excited about your career. Harassing or strong-arming an agent into signing you will not lead to the results you want. The agent that has a true passion for your artistic output as motivation them will always outperform an agent making a lackluster attempt to book you. 

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