We still get inquiries from bands asking if we are a booking agency. We get our job openings directly from bands seeking new members, but we have never actually booked bands in our 50 year history. Are there less booking agents today than before? Maybe not for the large concert and festival circuits, but for clubs and smaller events, the answer is certainly “yes”, simply because most club work and casuals pay about the same as years ago, so an agent making 10% today means a lot less for him or her than 10% meant before.
Some agents used to book several clubs 4 or 5 nights a week on a steady basis so it was enough to qualify as a full time job. Other agents booked enough weddings and special functions to equal a full time career, but that is very hard to do today, so a lot of agents have just quit. On the other hand, they are no longer required to be licensed in most states, meaning no fees, so you’d think maybe there would be an increase.
Many bands who used agents in the past now find they have to do their booking themselves. At least they are saving 10%, but realize all the effort and hassle is probably not worth it. Finding and booking gigs should be much easier today with the Internet, social media, and electronic press kits as opposed to the old method of sending tapes and bios through the mail, right? But it seems even more complicated today with too MANY avenues of promotion, leading to “information overload” instead.
There are large national online booking agencies like Gigmasters and Gigsalad which book thousands of acts, and are a good source of talent for the public seeking live entertainment. But many band leaders tell me that a lot of the acts accept much lower fees in order to beat out the competing bands bidding for a potential gig, so now they’re getting LESS than they normally would charge, plus they’re still paying a commission and listing fees to the agency.
Other sources? Bands seeking agents might possibly have luck simply Googling “rock band booking agent NY”, or “wedding band music booking agent CA”, or whatever applies to you, and see what pops up. You might find an agent close by that you never knew existed. Music Connection magazine still publishes an updated free list on their web site, or if you wish to spend some bucks the Indie Bible sells a detailed list of about 2,500 international booking agents for $78. Anyone have other ideas? Send to us at info@MusiciansContact.com