Artist Manager vs. Booking Agent: Which One Do You Need?

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It is important to know the difference in the role of an artist manager and a booking agent.  Managers are usually the liaison between the artist and all third parties, but they can wear many different hats. It would be helpful for managers to work with professional booking agents because it is one less job the manager has to do.  In the music industry, an agent is great to have when it comes to booking an artist’s performances.  Also, if you’re new to the business, establishing yourself with a well known, seasoned agent will help the transition go smoothly.  Agents have relationships with certain venues and promoters and might have a lot of connections you may need in the future.

There are many ways to go about securing an agent or booking agent.  You can ask for suggestions from professionals you network with in the music industry.   While many people will start with Google, I’d point someone to specific agencies like AFTRA, ATA or SAG to start with their online search.  It has become difficult in recent years to secure agents that specifically tailor to an artist’s needs.  A few decades ago, roles were more defined in the industry, but these days it seems that people are trying to do a little bit of every role for themselves.  People believe that they can do just as great a job as any agent and the professional agents have to compete with this line of thinking.  They feel as if they need to broaden their role instead of sticking to their lane and excelling.  Tom Gauger writes, “Great managers never promise, but deliver.” You want someone who will show up and do the work they promised. 

Scooter Braun gives a very informative interview about how he started working as a manager in the music industry. He explains what great managers look for in artists. I believe that new artists and managers should be able to see both sides of business in order to work well together. Artists should be educated about the business and managers should appreciate the creative side.