Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Just Business

The dynamic between agents and musicians is always interesting to me. It seems that as artists and musicians we are held to a higher standard than the agents we sometimes work with. I know that there are some musicians out there that can give an agent fits but for the most part there is always a weird tug of war going on when it comes to money. The agent wants to keep as much money in their pocket as possible and of course the artist wants to do the same. This is fine for either party as long as there is an honest relationship. I've dealt with some really great agents and a lot of not so great ones. The thing to keep in mind in any situation is that it's just business. When dealing with any agent, always be upfront and honest about what YOU want to be paid and any other particulars dealing with your show. Communication is key to any successful relationship. Never participate in anything that is unethical with ANY agent because it always comes back to bite you later. A lot of agents will tell you that you are only worth so much money because you are new or no one really knows who you are yet. Now this can be true but it's all about the quality of the show you are putting on stage. Known or not, if you are putting on a $10,000 show and only charging $1,500 then you are selling yourself short. You just need to know the market in terms of what the going rate is for clubs, festivals, corporate and tour dates. Be sure to have a killer video as a part of your package so that the agent can show people how HOT you are. Don't ever be afraid to say no. If you have a minimum price and you don't see a reason to go below it, then don't. Never allow an agent to guilt you into in job you know you don't want to take. We all work hard at what we do and it's important that the agent values us as well. Always handle business by being on time, being classy and putting on a great show and the agent should always handle their business by keeping you booked with quality well paying work with no under the table deals or under selling of the gig to you to help boost their commission. What I mean by that is, it's unfair for the agent to sell a gig to you saying it only pays $3,000 when he knows he can get $5,000. If you accept it for $3,000, he gets a commission off of that and pockets $2,000. These are the kinds of underhanded practices I've seen. It's hard to stop this once you've given him a price that you will work for. Just be careful and never sign an exclusive with anyone unless they are guaranteeing you X amount of dates and money a year in writing. Other than that, remain non-exclusive and never take anything personal. When someone shows you who they are, just believe them the first time and keep it moving. It's just business. Enjoy the journey.

The Truth
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