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JetfireJetfire Frets: 641
So, our female fronted four piece cover band are looking to up our earnings and avoid doing the typical dog and duck pub gigs for £200. We are involved with a booking agent who manages most of the local pubs and some events which do throw up a couple of good earners (£500) but generally its 250 to 300. The band seem to think that signing up to a few agencies would be the anwser but does anyone have any advice or suggestions what to consider before signing to an agency or is it abit of a waste of time? 
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7616
    From limited experience of this my impression is that agencies like artists who can deliver/ be available. So if you sign up with multiple agencies you might still get some work from each but you probably won't be the ' go to' band for any one of them because your availability is too sparse. If that makes sense. 

    We get most of our gigs ( not many of them admittedly) through an agency that books acts on behalf of a particular pub chain which has the advantage of everything being fairly local. I'm on a mailing list for another agency and all he does is send a round robin email for every new gig and you submit interest  and then he submits those to the venue. Which is fine but also means potentially the cheapest act often gets the gig. But plenty of venues that will only book via an agency so you might not have a choice. 
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2591
    If you are serious be prepared to do some ground work.

    Get to know which agents are busy with which venues (they tend to be exclusive to a particular agent around here). Then decide primarily where you prefer to work and nail that agent first. As @EricTheWeary says you need to be No.1 call and thats a hard position to attain and an easy one to lose. Be prepared to drop a pub date for a confirmed Agency Gig, it makes you less popular with a pub but easy to use for the agent. Then shoot for the other agencies you can find but be an also available to pick up odd dates if you're lucky.

    A lot of Agency work will be corporate and that means the look is vital (these people have little soul and probably only book one band a year if that). So Special Photos (Generic not arty) and a good demo recording and a nice set list (that appeals to the masses without being Chelsea dagger, Brown girli in the ring etc.). The demo needs to be short and have 4-5 varied track exerpts to a maximum of 2 Mins. A couple of Quality Video clips with qaulity sound dubbed of the band live, dressed in front of a dancing crowd is an easy tool for the agent.

    Also think long and hard about deps. Who might you call on in a bad situation, can you get a bass player/ drummer etc of suitable quality at short notice. What about a singer if she gets a sore throat? It will damage your reputation with an agent if you cancel at short notice and someone else will get all the chances until they mess up, and so on.

    Being able to do general work and also having a specialist genre makes you more saleable. So you might do 90s pop through to current, but can do a long set of say 60s Pop for certain events specialist events.

    Be able to be self contained, that may not mean you have to own everything but hire in a posh light rig or a bigger PA with a tech for large tents and ballrooms. Tatty gear is a big no no, so maintain/paint relace or cover in black backdrop (fireproof) so the corporate types are impressed. they may not book you again for a couple of years but the agent will put you forward with thier recommendations (that might just be the Directors secretary so be polite to everyone).

    In short be professional and charge professional money. If you come from a little market town align yourself to the nearest big town or city, it looks more imressive to the buyer to have a band from Birmingham than say Wigston or Market Bosworth. Alternately have members drawn from London and Bristol so that you sound professional and not cheap.

    There is a lot of work selling yourselves and setting it up. Do it right and after time reap the benefits. Go off half cock and you can expect less that stellar results. There is an element of luck and people skills involved.

    Good luck.

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  • JetfireJetfire Frets: 641
    Actually, that's really good advice there.... the making sure the gear looks good is a valid point I hadn't considered. 
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