Published on April 9th, 2014 | by Dylan Lott2
5 Things They Don’t Tell You About Being A Booking Agent
You can read all the articles you want (even from us), and talk to every agent under the sun, but you will not really understand what it is like to be a booking agent until you actually do it. It’s a completely different
1. Being a booking agent requires a lot of time.
I’m not talking 2 hours a day. I’m talking about your entire day spent at the computer working and sending out emails. Facebook, email, phone calls. Rinse, repeat. For hours and hours a day.
I have spent days just researching local promoters in certain areas just to get turned down in the end. Booking a tour can take 3 months of 8 – 12 hour days of just researching, e-mailing, messaging and networking.
2. People will always complain.
Once you finally have the tour booked and the shows begin, there is about a 97% chance that someone in your band or one of the bands you are touring with will complain about the shows.
You have to learn how to handle this. My personal recommendation is just ignore it. If someone does keep running their mouth, you can address the situation by simply saying “I did the best I can, I can only do better next time.” or something along those lines.
I know it can be extremely frustrating when someone complains about something that you spend months on. No one wants to have their work made fun of.
Just make sure you are the bigger person. If you retaliate, there will only be problems.
3. You are going to face rejection on a whole new level.
This is what every stop looks like.
By rejection I mean people won’t even respond to you, they’ll tell you you’re bad at your job, and they’ll be rude for no reason to a complete stranger (Don’t forget, that’s you in this situation).
Frustration and negativity is easiest at this point, but it’s not the right reaction. It takes years of gathering up a solid contact book and maintaining solid relationships with promoters in key cities. Just keep sticking with it, and always go back to those people who gave you a show in said city. Do not try and keep finding new contacts for cities you already have them for every tour, stick with what you know until you outgrow that promoter.
4. Every show does falls on your shoulders.
It is not entirely your fault if the show goes bad, but you’re the one that booked it, so you’re at least partially responsible.
When a show goes poorly, try to learn from it as best you can. Write down what went wrong somewhere and when you’re booking a tour, keep that document open to remind yourself. Don’t repeat mistakes; that’s true weakness.
Remember, 9/10 times people will only thank you when things are going good. It’s when things get rough that you really can gauge how well a band works together.
It’s always the manager’s fault.
5. No two tours are the same.
Tour gets monotonous sometimes. You’re driving for 12 hours, loading in, playing, loading out, and then driving more. Repeat this cycle. But every single tour will have its unique challenges.
Tires pop. Dates fall through. Members get sick. You get screwed out of guarantees. No two tours will happen the exact same.
Why does this matter? Because it’s the reason for the two most important traits of any booking agent: Persistence and flexibility. And usually some perspiration.
If you can master flexibility, you’re well on your way to being a killer booking agent.
Have more tips or advice about booking? Share it in the comments below.
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