Guide To Being A Booker
What is a booker?
A Booker or Agent is someone who manages a bands live touring, working on all aspects of a show from the initial planning stages, when and where to tour, all the way through to contracts and invoices.
How does their role differ from a manager?
Unlike a Manager, an Agent just focuses on the one aspect of the artists career, the live performance. While your manager is overseeing the bigger picture, writing, recording, PR, etc; your Agent is planning your next tour, dealing with festivals or venues and trying to ensure you are playing all the right shows.
How can they help an artist?
Live performance is such a large part of an artists career that having an Agent frees the bands or managements time to focus on everything else. Also with an Agencies Contract in place you are protected incase an event or festival doesn't go as plan or cancels.
Who are some of the acts you’re currently working with?
I have the pleasure of working with Courtney Barnett, Dune Rats, Cub Sport and Loon Lake to name just a few.
What does a ‘normal’ week look like for you?
During office hours my week is made up of a whole lot of contracts, emails and phone calls. We work with artists of all different sizes so no one tour is ever the same, at the moment we are coming into festival season so we are talking to a lot of promoters about international supports for our artists. A big part of the job is going out and seeing new bands, I try and go see gigs two or three nights a week.
At what stage in a band’s career do they normally look to get a booker? / At what stage would you start considering working with a band?
I think it's really good for a band to book their own shows at the beginning of their career, you really get to learn the ins and outs of what goes in to touring and get a better understanding of who everyone is and how they work together. When a band gets to a point where they can't progress their live touring any further on their own then I think that’s the best point to reach out and start introducing yourself to Agencies. For me if I fall head over heels for a band I would see no reason to hold off working with them if they would like to work with me.
How do bookers make an income?
A 10% commission on an artists live shows is pretty standard in Australia, unlike other industry roles where you might pay them a flat fee for their services an Agent only earns a percentage of what income they can generate for you.
What do all good bookers have in common?
I think all good bookers have their artists best interests in mind and not just the dollar amount, there's much more to a career than earning as much money as you can in the shortest amount of time possible. A good agent should be looking ahead two or three years into your career and ensuring you are putting the right pieces in place now in order to reach those goals.
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I guess is was to always remember that the artists are the real stars, not the Agent or the Manager or the Label. In such a competitive industry its easy lose sight of the fact that we all couldn't be doing our jobs if it wasn't for musicians sharing their talent with us. Its a nice reminder every time that music industry ego starts creeping up into my brain.
Best piece of advice you can give an emerging band?
Definitely take all opportunities that come your way but if you get asked to play a show don't be afraid to ask questions before you say yes, getting simple details in writing like how long your set is and how much you're being paid can make all the difference down the line.