When someone asks me what I do for work, I say that I work for a music agency and I’m training to become an agent. Sometimes people kind of lose it and start asking a million questions about what it’s like to work in the music industry. Well, from this side of the house, I’ve learned through my training that it’s not always easy, but the people you meet and what you represent make it worthwhile.
Working for a music and booking agency, anyone can only imagine all of the logistics that are involved in your everyday work schedule. From emailing, phone calls, networking, gathering artist availability, last minute cancellations, creating bookings, and filing contracts, the list goes on! But the beauty of the business is seeing what comes out of all the work you put in, and knowing that you are supporting these artists in helping them achieve in what they love to do. We represent the artists, and we are here to help them.
Everybody needs to start from the bottom up right? That’s exactly how it is in training to become an agent. We are taught the very basics first, repeat until we master them, and then move on to the next set of skills. The logistics of this business are key. One small typo or mistake in an email or contract can lead to astronomical confusion and uproar over contracts, invoices, payments, you name it! It takes time to learn the steps and at first going about everything very slowly, and re-reading it a thousand times making sure it’s right. Overtime, you get quicker at it until it becomes second nature. However, what I believe are the three most important aspects to this business, are not things that can be taught. People skills, sales, and networking.
People skills are key in training to become an agent. Establishing a good relationship with your artists and the venues you work with is crucial. By getting to know your artists, you know exactly who you are representing. You have to get to know their music, their style, preferred venues, their background, preferences, everything that makes them the artist they are. Through my training, I have been encouraged to get to know them, so I have started visiting my artists at their performances and getting to know them on a friendly basis as well. Same goes for the owners and staff at the venues you work with. By knowing them personally you create lasting relationships, where you can both benefit from each other and continue to book your artists.
Sales is not something that comes easy to most people and is definitely hard to teach. It requires some guts and going out on a limb. With sales, practice makes perfect. You will probably try a few different sales tactics and maybe lose a few times until you find your niche and figure out what works for you. That’s how you train for sales. Once you find your rhythm with acquiring new clients, you’re golden and it only gets easier the more you do it.
Networking is one of the best ways to expand your business, and expand your clientele. By going to events, meeting owners and staff members on nights out, or even making friends with the bouncers, you’re networking every single minute. Through my training I have learned to never leave the house without at least 5 business cards. By throwing out your card everywhere you go, you’re putting your name out in the public eye, representing the company. However, following up with networking and actually working the new potential clients you meet, takes good people skills and a friendly and forward attitude! This doesn’t come easy to everyone but it pays off if you can manage to work it. You need to be able to come up with interesting small talk and engage them in conversation by asking about them. You never know who you’re going to meet in a day, and if that person could end up playing a huge part in your life and business.
Training to become a full agent has been an entirely new experience that has taught and encouraged so many great logistical and organization skills, and encouraged me to put myself out there further. Anyone can learn how to file a contract or respond to an email using a template, but it takes the skills and drive to want to succeed in this business, and take you from a junior agent to an agent.