Tech Tip:Agents/Performing




Why do I need an agent?
An agent will have a working relationship with promoters and venue owners and therefore will be able to negotiate better guarantees as well as get you on better bills. Agents will also know what tours are preparing to go out and will have relationships that can help in acquiring a good opening slot. Having a specialist handle all of this for you will allow you to focus more on making music and doing creative marketing-if it fits your financial position.


How do I find an agent?
The trade magazine Pollstar contains listing of agents and agencies. As with getting a record deal, and finding a manager, you should do some research first. Send your music to agents who represent artists that are generally in a similar musical genre to yourself. It will often be easier to get an agent after you have a CD, and a label that will help promote the shows that you play. On the local level, check with other bands, promoters and club owners for suggestions and references.


How much does the booking agent charge for their work?
Traditionally, agents will charge 10% of the income from the show. The agency usually receives deposit payments from the venue when a show is booked, and the agent will take their commission from this money, before passing on the balance to the artist, manager or label. The agent will not commission sales of merchandise.


Who is responsible for the performance agreement?
The agent will handle this on your behalf. The agreement will specify things such as:


  • The guarantee that the band will receive
  • The ticket price
  • The guest list allocation
  • The length of set the band must play
  • The advertising commitment
  • The technical and band rider
  • The cancellation policy and resulting options

What are commonly used payment methods & terms for performing?
  • A "guarantee" is a flat rate you will receive, regardless of attendance.
  • A "percentage deal" is when the artist and club split the income received at the door on the night of the show. For example, a 70/30 split will mean that the band gets 70% of the income.
  • A "guarantee, plus percentage" is where the artist will get a set fee based on an estimated number of paying customers. If this number is exceeded, the artist will get a percentage (say 70%) of all revenue over an above the predicted income.
  • "Walk-out potential" is the maximum amount that an artist can earn from a specific show. You should also consider the following:
  • In many cases, the club owner will deduct all costs they have incurred in promoting of the show, before any split of profits occurs.
  • If you request any special equipment to be hired for the show, you will have to pay for this, often by a deduction from the show settlement.


Who pays for the people on the guest list?
In most cases, the artist does. The possible (legal) attendance in the club is reduced by the number of names on the guest list and therefore the deal you get offered will take this possible loss of revenue into account. Therefore, do not use the list liberally.


What is "advancing a date"?
Your manager, the tour manager or someone responsible in your band needs to call every venue at least a week before the show and ask the following:


  • What is the on-stage time
  • What is the "load-in" time
  • Soundcheck time, and length
  • Doors opening time
  • Directions to the venue
  • Club PA and lighting specifications
  • Stage size and ceiling height (if important)
  • Drum Riser requirements


This will give you chance to rent additional gear additional gear if needed, adjust your travel time etc.