Different agencies offer differing degrees of service to the artists that they represent. So when an artist joins an agency, whether it is for the first time or from another agency, it is really important that they understand what services the agency offers and what the artist and their management need to organise themselves.
This is a big reason why it’s so important to issue Terms of Business – in our Terms of Business, it explains clearly what we do.
We think it is more important to offer core booking services and do those really well, than to spread ourselves to thinly. Central to this approach is the notion that we can only become experts through specialisation.
That doesn’t mean that we work in isolation, clearly, we need to understand the different roles that are needed to make up the team that surrounds a successful artist. A good agent will be able to advise on many things. However, for many roles, they should not be the one doing the work. For example, the agent may know a great artwork designer, but they should not be the one doing the design.
We book performances. However, to do a good job there are many things to learn and networks to establish. This is why most agents start their careers in an agency. The agency will have spent years establishing itself as an organisation that promoters trust and have worked with before.
This is what we do:
- Plan the live strategy with the artist and their management
- Develop their relationships with artists, management and promoters
- Represent the agency and the roster at conferences and events
- Pitch and negotiate show deals with the purchaser
- Draw contracts between the artist & the purchaser
- Liaise between the purchaser and other parties before the show
- Follow up on the payment schedule
- Verify the settlement after the show
Of course, within each of the points above, there is much depth and a lot to cover. The more time an agent spends on these points, the better they will become at their job and the more shows they will book. In fact, many agents will have an assistant to focus on 5 – 8 allowing more time to develop their skills at 1 – 4.
One other thing the agent must do is source new artists. However once an agent has a decent roster, most of their time will be focused solely on their acts.
Here are some things at MM we don’t do: We can advise who to ask about them but we don’t actually do them ourselves…
- Advance Shows – Someone in the touring party will do a better job. Either one of the artists or a tour manager. If someone does it remotely and in advance, you can be sure things will change in between doing it and show day. Mistakes will happen.
- Artwork design – usually this would be done by the promoter using the graphics and logos the artist supplies – we will make sure the promoter gets these.
- Tour print – we can supply a list of venues and addresses to send tour print, but we don’t do the P & P. It’s very time-consuming.
- Advertising – typically the role of the promoter or a separate agency employed by the promoter. In these days of social media, the artist and their management will play an increasingly important role here.
- National advertising – we will advise promoters when they have to contribute to a centralised pot to pay for advertising a tour, we’ll factor it in to any fee negotiations.
- Accounting – we’ll provide a settlement sheet, but we won’t account for a whole show, it’s not our job to pay individual musicians or other third parties, management or the artist will sort that from the show income. It’s also not our job to get involved in tax returns etc.
- Visas and Certificates of Sponsorship. We can supply and collate contracts etc, but we don’t organise the processing of these applications. We have the contacts of organisations that will do this work.
So in short, we’re all about getting shows for our roster through our networks of contacts. We’re happy to help and advise many other aspects of live performance, but we join the dots and make introductions, rather than do the do!