Drummer Talk 269 – Agents and Managers 101

We start part 1 of a 3-parts series on professional representation.


Topic Notes

  • A Talent Agent is a person or company that role is to find you the client work and jobs. Ie gigs, writing jobs, teaching jobs etc. 
  • A Business Manager handles your personal and company financial affairs. From income, expenses, retirement, asset purchases, taxes, financial planning etc.
  • A Manager handles the day to day operations of the band or artist.

The role of a Talent Agent in your career:

  • Procure work for you or your band that is mutually agreeable
  • Help you in constructing tours
  • Strategize aspects of touring that move your goals forward
  • How to package and sell the artist or band
  • Pricing for tickets and negotiating fees for live performances ( this includes radio and television
  • Collecting deposits and handling of venue fees

Agents and Territories

  • Agents in California are regulated by the state labour commission. Agents can be regulated by the AFM Sag and AFTRA these are known as franchised agents.
  • Territories usually by continent 

Qualities to look for in an agent and agency and what questions to ask

What kind of agency is it?

  • Boutique or specialized IE A specialized Internet talent agency – www.bigfra.me
  • Full stack agency like CAA or William Morris – music, film, television, product endorsements and literary speaking engagements. or expert role jobs
  • Major role agency IE the same agency that represents major artists that you could get packaged up with. IE Taylor Swift, Metallica, U2 or acts of that size etc. They have great relationships with promoters and can generally elevate you to the next level if you perform well.

Things to look for in a specific agent

  • How long has your agent been with their agency?
  • What kind of agencies have they worked with in the past?
  • How many clients does your agent manage / firm manage
  • Will the agent you are talking too be the real agent who books you

Red Flags

  • Beware those who want income from writing, endorsements, and other works that are not directly procured from the agent.
  • Beware agents that charge fees for mail, calls, copy, presentation preparation etc.
  • Agents that will book you everywhere or for anyone who asks for a fee
  • Agents that say this is the standard in the business and you should sign
  • Agent wants you to change drastically to become more commercial, many times to fit into a category that they control. Many times certain agents have developed networks that they will try and fit “warm bodies” into to generate income.
  • Agents that will charge a fee for housing to be with other artists

Approaching the Prospective Agent

  • As a rule agencies will generally reach out to management companies or record labels but that is not always the case.
  • You need to have a polished product with a provable and measurable amount of success.  Ie successful youtube channel, record contract, contracts with promoters, opening for a major act etc.
  • Should have at least 100,000 subscribers with at least a few hundred videos with an average of 350,000 views after 30 days
  • Have daily weekly metrics of how your videos perform

The fees and structures

  • The fees and structures gent fee’s are 10% of the gross money the agent generates.
  • The scope of the agreement: Exclusive, Duration of the contract 3-5 years not more than 5 years for a jr band
  • Rights to terminate (setting up goals and incentives for the agent)

 Music from this week’s Show

In closing…

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Next Week:  Agents and Managers 201

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