The answer to this question is simple, straightforward, but not necessarily the easiest to stomach. So here goes…..
Drum roll…..The best way to get booking agents to take you seriously is to ignore them, not worry about them at all and wait for them to eventually approach you.
Not worry about them?
Wait till they approach you?
Is This Guy For Real?
Think about it for a moment. In the most simplistic sense booking agents see you and your band as a commodity that has a certain price tag associated with it. For example, let’s say right now your band might only be worth $100 for a thirty minute slot on a Saturday night. When you’re able to demand $1,000 a show and can sell out a 250 capacity room without much effort, you’ll be sure to grab the attention of a booking agent – and they’ll take you very seriously.
By then, the issue of will they take you seriously will no longer apply because your value as a band to them is far greater and they will take you seriously automatically as they now see possible financial reward from investing their time into your commodity, which is your band.
Granted, this description sounds dry and un-arty, yet the reality is that this is what really happens and to really understand the answer to this question, it’s important to understand the mechanics of the situation. No agent will every speak like that or make you believe that’s the case, however at the back of their minds when they know they’ve got bills to pay and they’re under pressure by their superiors to bring in the commissions, what else would be at the core of their thought process?
A booking agent sits on the phone all day long, cutting deals, booking rooms, organizing tour schedules, gossiping and a whole lot more. To get one of them to take you seriously, you must be able to prove worth. In doing this, by default you are also getting them to spend less time booking their other bands and tasks which could potentially bring in the payola.
Not an easy task.
However when you can understand what motivates them and what will get them excited, you’ll certainly have a better chance at getting them to take you seriously.
Remember that it is their job to be finding the next great talents of the world and if they haven’t come knocking at your door yet, there is probably a good reason why.
This does not mean to say that you should throw in the towel and give up either. Rather it means that more work and effort needs to go into your career before you reach that next step of getting a professional to do all the bookings and talking for you.
As a result, the whole concept of dealing with booking agents at the beginning of a bands music career is generally very misunderstood. By realizing the above, you’ll slowly start to realize booking your own shows until you can prove your value and pulling power might be the best way to go and ultimately you’ll be able to get agents to take you seriously.
In my humble little opinion this is really the only way to get an agent to take you seriously.
The Upside To This Approach?
This might not be the answer you wish to hear and nine out of ten bands I’ve ever spoken to always say the same thing, “We just want to focus on our music,” but look at the flip side, imagine how much more knowledge and understanding you’ll gain by starting out yourself, not to mention the network you will also carve out as a result!
The more hands on experience you can endure at the beginning of your career, the better shape you’ll be in when agents come knocking at your door and ultimately take you very seriously.
So there you have it. Comment below with your views on this matter
Daniel Kohn is a world renouned writer and speaker on the Music Industry. By age 13 he was touring with Sonic Youth, At 15 his band signed a record deal with the Beastie Boys record label and by 16 they were touring around the world with acts like Foo Fighters, Beck and many more. Check out his blog to discover more tips and industry insights on how your band can sell more, make more and play more music - http://www.inside-the-music-biz.com/blog