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Agents and Managers: What They Are & What to Expect

Aug 18, 2007
A manager offers a service to you that involves zoning in on your fortes and weak points. They can direct you to the type of instruction you need, depending on your current experience and talent. They can aid your independent music path, support you in your goal setting and point you in the right direction, especially when you are so overwhelmed you aren't sure where to start.

An agent finds and books you auditions, gigs or shows. They hunt down music contacts, make bookings, negotiate the contracts, and basically do the leg work for your career. They normally take in 10% of what you are paid, which in the music industry, you will find that's fair. If you have both a manager and an agent, it's okay for them to know about each other. Having them develop a relationship centered on your independent music career actually bolsters your chances at success.

One neat trick in obtaining a high-quality manager or agent is to send out invitations to one of your shows. It's also good to have music contacts hear about you through referrals. If you play regularly, or have already recorded an album, networking with those music contacts might be another great way to go.

An agent-client relationship is mutual in the music industry. They require something from you, in the form of marketable talent, and you require something from them: marketing your talent. Having an agent on your same level in terms of your independent music goals is crucial. Just try to keep it in perspective: you are the hirer, who enlisted them to fulfill the duties necessary to handle your career, and they work hard, and get paid when you do.

Getting an interview with an agent or talent manager doesn't necessarily mean they will take your career in their capable hands. You have a window of opportunity to convince them that if they find you work, you won't let them down. Be punctual and polite, keep your attitude in check, have a demo ready, and don't forget to have your resume, with the list of credits, if any, in hand ready to be discussed.

Before walking in there, have a mental note of what it is you are looking for in an agent, and in your independent music career. Try to keep realistic expectations. If you have no experience, don't walk in their office feeling disappointed they haven't told you they will make you a rock star or "the next big thing." That is something a dishonest agent would tell you, and you need honesty. Always remember that if you are starting out, expect to be treated as a rookie in the music industry. It's not disrespect, it is honesty. And hiring someone honest is far better than someone who will leave your portfolio filed on the bottom row collecting dust.
About the Author
Owner of Platinum Millennium publishing, former record label owner & national music industry seminar speaker/panelist. Author/creator of best-selling music biz books, courses, audio products & "How to" resources that helped 1000s. Go to http://www.TheIndustryYellowPages.com for more info on music contacts, music industry & independent music.
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