The booker, also called agent or tour manager, is the person in charge of finding concerts for artists, and of organizing their shows. Soon, venues and festivals will open their doors to the public and musicians once again. In order to prepare for this resumption, many Groover users are taking advantage of this forced break to look for bookers capable of filling up their calendars with concert dates. Is this your case? Follow the advice of Baptiste, founder of asso Riche Idée.
Every year, anywhere between 100 and 200 artists contact me on Groover to convince me to include them in the catalog of my modest concert house. Without even judging the quality of their musical proposals, I am sometimes surprised by requests sent by very very young projects with barely a few singles and a handful of concerts on the clock. Do not make the mistake of exposing your project to skeptical feedback when it has not yet reached a minimum of maturity. Give yourself time! As a general rule, I tend to advise artists not to approach agents until they have completed at least ten concerts, especially in their region of origin. The only notable exception: projects experiencing very rapid success (streaming, advertising, etc.) and sometimes bookers wish to quickly test the music and artist into a live setting before the buzz subsides.
When determined and well organized, some artists manage to get signed and perform several dozen concerts per year without any outside help. If you are in this situation, do not neglect the possibility of continuing your musical journey independently without a booker. First is a matter of efficiency. When faced with a tour manager, a motivated artist will often be able to defend their project better than an overwhelmed booker. The other argument in favor of doing it yourself is obviously financial. In exchange for their canvassing work, a booker will collect income from each group concert, sometimes even when the opportunity does not arise due to their work. If you manage to bring your project to life on stage by yourself, it may be interesting to wait before approaching any agency. The objective? Wait for the proposal of a booker who can really get your project off the ground financially and artistically (tours, festivals, etc.).
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After having been chained up by emails and phone calls, you are now convinced: your music project needs a booker in order to grow. However, it remains to be seen which one! Like the world of labels or concert halls, today, there is a wide range of potential stage partners for musical artists. Of course, many musicians dream of allying themselves with one of the major national or international agencies which represent the heads of the music business. Next to these ‘hot shot’ agents, there are also small associations (like Riche Idée) and independent agencies that support emerging artists to help them lock in their first tours. More established artists will also be able to approach bookers specializing in a musical style, a region or international export. Before starting all over the place, establish the necessary qualities of the ideal booker for your scenic development (size, ambition, catalog, etc.). You will save time and avoid always unpleasant refusals.
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Like in love, booking is a question of feelings and emotion. Let’s be clear: it will prove to be nearly impossible to convince a professional in the music industry to represent you if they do not fully appreciate your musical universe. However, the art is not everything. You must also demonstrate to your future booker the seriousness and potential development of your project. This is particularly the case on Groover where professionals receive several requests per day. My advice: highlight your scenic assets. More than a clip or a long playlist, a booker will appreciate being able to view, from the first exchange, a live video of one or more titles of your project. Accompany this video with a short personalized message describing your live experience and ambitions. Keep in mind that a booker must reach a minimum of concert dates for his prospecting work to be profitable. The more the group seems ready, available and ready to tour, the more your proposal will hold their attention.
Well done, you have finally found an agreement with the booker of your dreams! A great step in the right direction for the life of your musical project that you must now elevate. As an artist, you must understand the constraints and the expectations of your new playing partner. In other words: make it easier for them so that they can maximize the search for concert dates. Even if you are now “free” from seeking opportunities from venues, you must maintain an active role in the group’s agenda. This includes, for example, informing your booker of your calendar for the upcoming months to the best of your ability: when you are (un)available, discographic projects, media visibility, etc.
You should also be attentive to the opportunities targeted by your booker. Of course, it is not necessarily a question of saying yes to all the proposals submitted. Having said that, I tend to advise young artists not to be too demanding in the first weeks of collaboration.“It’s been too much travel”, “the room is too small”, “the cachet is too low” … Too much feedback that could offend the sensitivity and motivation of your representative is not a good thing. If you want to develop your project, you should, rather quickly, lock down the concert dates and shows. This will be an excellent sign for both the music industry (media, festivals, venues …) and to your booker.
In Summary :
The more you perform, the easier it will be for a booker to obtain new dates, the more your project will be exposed, the faster you will progress in the musical landscape … There is no shortage of recent examples of groups and artists who have benefited from this virtuous circle. Now, it’s your turn !
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– Translated by Betty Gonzalez –