We have developed a database containing detailed information
on over 8500 qualified buyers of entertainment in the northeast.
Not all of these buyers are right for you, but we work with
this information daily to pursue the one overriding goal of
the company: to make the perfect match of performing artist
for the audience, venue, and budget.
When we match an artist to a sponsor, one of us will call
to check availability, and discuss any special pricing considerations
(such as travel, tech, lodging, etc.). In some calls, we'll
ask you to hold the date: use a pencil. We try not to have
more than one artist actually holding a date. "Hold"
means you're saving the date for a week or two, or until you
have another inquiry for that date, at which time I hope you'll
call us to give our buyer a chance to confirm or lose the
option of booking you. Since every buyer works on a different
decision timetable, the more flexible on all sides, the better.
as to your availability, and holding a date, are different
things to us.
When a date is confirmed, it is entered into a database which
holds all the information on a given booking. Using merge
documents, contracts are created, along with a confirmation
letter to the sponsor which goes out when the contract goes
to you. When the contract comes back with your signature,
it goes to the sponsor, then comes back with deposit. At this
point the fully executed contract is returned to you along
with the "gig sheet" which has all the information
you'll need the day of the performance (allowing you to leave
the contract itself safe at home). There are usually only
two copies of the contract -- one for you and one for the
We need to have the following information on your act, updated
periodically to assure accuracy: name, contact person, address,
phone numbers (as many as we might need to reach you), social
security or Tax ID number; asking price (a fair-market, negotiable,
quoted fee that you and anybody else who might book you consistently
provides when first asked by a potential buyer); net minimum
(that price under which you will not leave your home); payee.
We would also like to have your e-mail address and URL, if
you have one. When any of this changes, please let us know.
Nothing is more frustrating than having a hot gig and not
being able to reach you.
Other very useful tools include regularly updated monthly
calendars. All we need for this is the date, city, state,
and sponsor. We use this information to instantly check availabilities,
and also to pick out opportunities that might turn into good
routing dates; if, for example, we have a private client who
might book an adjacent date for you without conflicting with
the one already booked; or line up a public show for you the
next night in the same town where you have a private booking.
The evidence is very strong that there are more acts looking
for gigs than gigs looking for acts. Therefore, the advantage
goes to those who 1) stand apart; 2) are consistently good
at drawing and pleasing their audience 3) are artistically
vital with a professional approach at all levels, and 4) are
What is fair pricing? In my opinion, the bottom line is: how
many tickets you can sell at what price at a given time in
a given market. Some performers have, for years, been getting
far more than they are worth, thanks to good hype, ignorant
presenters, and government funding. This is changing as new
economic realities set in. If I ran the zoo, the bottom feeders
would stop giving away their services to people who don't
know better, so that the pros in it for the long run could
establish and hold fair fees. And the only time an artist
at any level of the heap raised their fee was when they had
more work than they could handle. Fees would be consistent
and logical. Artists would operate like a business. And buyers
would treat performers with the respect they deserve.
The most important issue in pricing is that your quoted fee
is consistent for all inquiries, whether through us, another
agent, or direct from you. it is then as negotiable as you
want it to be. "Low-balling" is thereby avoided,
which ultimately only makes someone (usually you) look bad.
When I decided to get into this, I determined that no matter
what direction the business went, two basic rules would apply:
1) that I would avoid at all costs doing the dumb things to
artists that agents used to do to me (samples available on
request); and 2) that as soon as my inherent honesty became
a liability, I'd get out. Those tenets still hold.
The fact that we've booked several million dollars worth of
business since 1990 tells me that we're on the right track,
but in the area of communications with artists, there is always
room for improvement. This information sheet and periodic
newsletters will hopefully help that situation. I invite your
response to it and any issues it raises.
I started out just booking friends. The upside was (and is)
that I know the business the way no other agent does: I've
been on-stage for 20 years, played for audiences of 5000 people,
and I've been a occasional presenter for longer than that.
The downside was that these people were well-known and established,
and it was hard to find buyers that didn't already have a
relationship with these artists. (See rule #1 above: I have
no interest in "horning in" on gigs that you could
easily get yourself.)
So I'm bringing more than 25 years of on-stage and backstage
experience to the job of agent and producer in Maine and the
Northeast. There would be no point getting into it if I didn't
think I could do it better than it's being done, and after
10 years, I'm getting there. As agent, my job is to make the
best deal possible and make sure the presenter understands
how best to present you. As a businessman with an eye on the
horizon, I must remain on good terms with the presenter after
you've done your gig.
15% commission applies to all gigs that I call you for, unless
we agree otherwise. Negotiable commissions of 5% to 10% can
apply when you ask me to help you close a booking with one
of your buyers; or if I just handle the contracts after you've
negotiated a deal; or if another agent is involved. The preferred
method is to take the commission as a deposit, with the balance
paid to you the day of the performance. In this way, we are
each paid when we do our respective jobs, and we don't have
to send checks or 1099's to each other.
This doesn't always work, as when deposits cannot be paid
for procedural or legal reasons. There will be other occasions
(such as when I don't have full confidence in the buyer, or
when payment is heavily reliant on ticket sales, or when you
ask me to get a hefty deposit, for example) that I will get
to 50% of your fee as a deposit. In that event, I will send
you a check. If the total payment is made on the night of
the show, I expect immediate payment of the commission unless
you make other arrangements with me in advance.
You should ALWAYS re-book through us. The only exceptions
would be if the sponsor has a big and legitimate problem with
us, but wants you back. We should agree that this is the case
before you begin negotiation with the sponsor directly. It
hasn't happened to date.
We'll continue to provide business cards for you to use at
all gigs we book for you. We appreciate a report from you
on the gig after the booking takes place, if only to say that
everything went OK, and to discuss a timetable for re-booking.
Any information that will help re-book you, or that we should
keep in mind for any future contacts with the buyer, is most
Because we're non-exclusive agents, it's important that good
communications and follow-up take place. We'll continue to
rely on a job well done, rather than contractual tie-ups,
to keep you and the sponsors coming back.
HERE'S TO SUCCESS!
revised September 1998