How to Become an Artist Booking Agent

By Carl Hose; Updated July 05, 2017

Booking shows for musicians and artists can be a financially rewarding career, but it takes a certain amount of determination, the ability to make deals and a network that takes time to build. Booking agents typically make 10 percent of the sales for whatever event they book for a band or artist. This could be 10 percent of the ticket sales, and may even include merchandise sold in conjunction with the event. Learn how you can become an artist booking agent and turn your communication and organizational skills into a successful career.

Design a website that will eventually become the core feature of your booking agent business. The website will not only be an Internet presence that showcases the talent you have in your agency, it will be the means by which future clients contact you.

Start small and think big. You will need to develop a reputation and contacts before you can start booking big events for your clients. Go to local bars and art events in search of talent. Find a band or an artist you believe has potential. The better the performer, the better your chances of finding them regular work.

Write a standard client contract. Contracts with the venues where you book your clients will vary, depending on the terms of individual venues, but you should have a standard contract for your artists. It should state your percentage of any events you book for the artist and whether or not you represent the artist exclusively. The contract should detail if your percentage includes merchandise sold at the event or only a percentage of ticket sales. The contract may vary depending on the type of show, but there should be a general contract in place.

Approach club owners in person. Introduce yourself and bring along a portfolio for the artist you represent. If you're representing a band, bring along a CD or DVD. The object is to entice the club owner into hiring your client to perform at their club on a regular basis. If you've booked prior shows for your artist, tell the club owner about them and be sure to highlight any increase in business brought about by having your artist perform. Club owners want to know that you have talent that will be able to draw business.

Promote any shows you book. Use fliers, your website, radio and TV spots if you can afford them, and any other methods that will make the shows you book successful. Successful shows mean it will be easier to book your clients in the future. Successful shows create word of mouth that will put your clients in demand. The more successful your clients, whether they are musicians, artists or comedians, the easier it will be to book them.

Build a contact database. Keep a list of every club owner, gallery owner or comedy club owner you work with. If you book successful acts with them once, they are more likely to work with you in the future. Building a successful booking agency is a gradual process. After you've booked successful small shows for your clients and built a track record, you'll have a resume that will allow you to book your clients into bigger venues.

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.