Developing Your Roster (Part 3)

Layered sandwichIn Developing Your Roster (Part 1) and (Part 2) we looked at what an agent wants to get from their roster and the overarching principles they need to apply to get towards their ideal roster.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the statuses of the artists on a healthy roster which will help you do your research and look in the right places.

Emerging Talent…

Betting on the future is a high-risk activity!

Over the years you will lose artists, they may fire you, split up, or even die. So you are always going to need new options coming through. New artists can be exciting, they might be the next big thing and they are the easiest to source. However live music is financially polarised and it can take a long time for an artist to start to earn a reasonable income. So limit the number of emerging artists you work with. They often take the most time from your schedule whilst realising only negligible returns. They can also be the most fickle! Of course, you will have to work with more emerging talent at the start of your career, because you are also new, but work on the ratio. Choose emerging talent with great care.

Small room tourers…

Slow and steady wins the race!

Some artist will find their fanbase in small rooms and keep them throughout their careers. They will often tour the same markets year on year. Artists such as this are a must, they may not be your biggest earners, but they will create the backbone of your roster. Having a few acts who play a lot of small capacity shows on a decent ticket price, can really keep the boat afloat. They will likely play to older seated audiences and they will also likely be well respected by other musicians. You have a good chance of sourcing artists like this and they are often the most loyal as well. They may not improve their sales figures year on year, but they are still a very valid proposition to an agent. Go out of your way to find small room tourers.

Mid-range tourers…

The difference between surviving and thriving!

Let’s call artists that can draw 250 – 500 sales consistently around the country “mid-range tourers”. They may have been more renowned in the past and have dropped back to a steady plateau. Or they may have been at this level for many years. You may be partly responsible for getting them there. These artists can make significant income for the agent, they are harder to find, but they do still come up from time to time. An agent or an agency with a well-considered, progressive and successful roster is right up there as the number one reason an artist chooses to work with an agent. Position your roster to attract them to the fold!

Big Time…

Sing while you’re winning!

If the artist can consistently shift more than 500 sales around the country, perhaps 1000 in London, that’s Big Time. It’s almost impossible to sign “big time” artists, you can only really sign them when they are earlier on their curve. If you get to ride that wave, make hay whilst the sun shines. Some agents get through their careers never having booked Big-Time acts. It’s perfectly possible to be a good agent and have a good income whilst never having booked a Big Time act. However, if you do land that fish, then it can be life-changing. You’re much more likely to continue working with them if you have developed solid relationships and your roster has a real identity to it.

Mega Artists…

you’ll be lucky

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