For independent musicians looking to take their music career to the next level, finding a music booking agent can be a game-changer. A music booking agent can help indie artists get more opportunities to perform live and also help navigate the complex landscape of concert bookings and tours. A good booking agent can help with negotiating and coordinating the ins and outs of live shows. Whether you’re a solo artist, a band, or even a DJ, a booking agent can help you gain exposure, reach new audiences, and establish a solid fan-base.
The process of finding the right music booking agent for your needs can be daunting, especially for independent musicians who don’t know where to start! How do you get a booking agent that is right for you? Maybe you’re not looking for a booking agent, but rather, a music promoter. In this guide, we will explore how to get a booking agent for music who can elevate your career to new heights.
1. Define your musical goals and needs: are you ready to work with a booking agent?
Before you start reaching out to potential booking agents, take some time to define your musical goals and needs. Ask yourself, am I at a stage in my career where I need a booking agent? Or maybe I need to find a music manager first? Artist management can often be a first step in finding a booking agent. Some booking agents won’t work with artists that don’t already have a professional entourage, whether that be an artist manager, a music publisher, or a record label. If you have a solid live set and are already playing gigs, a music booking agent could help you take your show on the road or play bigger venues. If you’ve never played live, you may not be ready to work with a booking agent! Try reaching out to artist managers first.
Usually booking agents want to see that you’ve managed to build a following on your own before committing to representing you. If you can prove to them that you have a good turn out when you play shows, that can show them your potential for touring. If you’ve managed to get gigs on your own and get paid, this can show a booking agent that there is a profit to be made. After all, their goal is to be selling out your shows and making money for everyone! Even if you’re not ready to headline or sell out shows right away, there is always potential to be booked as an opening act on a bigger tour. Having a clear vision of where you are at in your music career will help you determine if a booking agent is right for you.
2. Work on your branding and storytelling
For artists looking to get noticed in the music business, you need to work on your branding and storytelling. Of course, you need to produce good music as well and put on a great live show, but crafting a unique universe around your project is super important. Engaging with your community on social media is a good way to strengthen your branding. For the aspiring new artist, having a presence on these platforms like Instagram and TikTok is essential to your artist development and getting potential opportunities. Record labels notice when a music producer or rock band becomes influential overnight because of a viral reel or video. Booking agents notice too! Before contacting potential partners, whether that be in booking, talent management, or record companies, make sure you have a story to tell that stands out from the rest.
3. Research similar artists and network
Building a strong network within the music industry is crucial for independent musicians. Start by researching similar artists in your genre and find out who their booking agents are. Research all the options available to you, among local, regional, and national booking agencies that specialize in your genre. Have any of these booking agents worked with independent artists before? Try to find their contact information through their website or on LinkedIn. Be precise and thoughtful in your research; if you’re a folk artist, there is no point in contacting booking agents that only book punk or rock bands. You want to get an agent that already has a proven track record in your genre!
Don’t be afraid to reach out to artists to ask them about their experience with booking agents. After all, networking doesn’t just happen with music industry professionals, but also with fellow artists! You can learn a lot just by asking around. Who knows, maybe a fellow artist can even put you in touch directly with their booking agent!
4. Play at musical springboards and competitions
Musical springboards and competitions are becoming more popular for emerging artists. A musical springboard is an opportunity or platform that propels an artist’s career forward, providing them with increased visibility, exposure, and opportunities for growth. It acts as a launching pad for an artist’s success in the music industry. These are great opportunities to showcase your live set and meet potential booking agents! Usually musical springboards are organized in the form of local competitions, festivals, or supporting act slots for bigger artists. Springboards can help propel indie music into the mainstream by putting unsigned artists in the spotlight. Some major labels and talent managers keep an eye on these springboards on a regular basis to seek-out local bands that are making waves in the music scene.
To apply to a musical springboard, you usually have to send your music in advance to a jury who will then narrow down top candidates to perform live. If you get chosen to participate in the finals, you can grow your fanbase and potentially meet agents and managers that could represent you. Springboards and competitions are often organized based on genre or region. Check out the top springboards you can apply to on Groover here.
5. Get in touch with music booking agents directly on Groover
If you want to get in touch directly with music booking agents and pitch your project, you can do so by using Groover! Groover is an innovative platform that allows artists to contact music industry professionals directly with a guaranteed response. The platform prides itself on supporting independent music internationally, giving any music artist the promotional opportunities they need to boost their visibility. For 2 Grooviz, or 2 euros, you can send your music and a personalized pitch to an industry professional of your choosing. This can be anyone from a label or a manager to a playlist curator or music blog. If you want to send your project to music booking agents, you can filter by genre to make sure you’re contacting the right people! You can also filter by location, to target your home country or look for opportunities abroad. Check out our list of the top music bookers actively looking for new talents on Groover.
6. Put together a press kit to send to each booking agent
A well-crafted press kit is an essential tool when approaching booking agents. Your press kit should include a professionally written biography, high-quality press photos, music samples, videos of your live performances, links to your social media platforms, and any press coverage you have received. If you’ve got a new album that just came out and is streaming well, for example, you can include this in your press kit! Some of the most successful independent musicians have learned how to master the music marketing side of things. Ensure that your press kit is organized and easy to follow- this will highlight your professionalism and can boost your chances of getting a booking agent.
7. Follow up and ask for advice
If you’ve emailed booking agents and haven’t gotten a response within a week or so, don’t be afraid to follow up. Booking agents are busy booking bands on their roster and can be overwhelmed with submissions of new artists wanting to work together. If you get a negative response, don’t be afraid to ask them for guidance or tips. Is there another booking agency they know of that may be more suited to your project? Maybe they can point you in the direction of a band manager to start. Being in the entertainment industry, booking agents are used to casting talent and can give you a somewhat objective view of where your project is at.
8. Conclusion: How to find the right booking agent for you
Overall, it can take time to find the right booking agent for you. The live entertainment industry is becoming more and more saturated and it can be tough for the independent artist to grow their professional entourage. With enough research and persistence, it is possible to sign with a booking agent and start headlining shows. Remember that the journey is not the same for everyone! For some, finding a booking agent may happen after signing a management contract first. For others, it may go hand in hand with a record deal. Artists have a lot to gain from putting themselves out there in any way they can. Did your jazz-band get hired as wedding entertainment? Or a friend wants you to play a corporate event? Any opportunity to play a gig is an opportunity to improve your live set and meet people. You never know who could be in the audience!