Wouldn’t it be great if we all had an amazing agent that got us tons of high profile gigs with top dollar fees? Well this is a reality for very few DJs, Most of this select group have earned this through quality production, DJ skills, and marketing. But what is the reality for most DJs? Who are these agents? What is the difference between an agent and a manager and a publicist?
What is an Agent?
An agent’s job it to find and secure gigs for the talent they represent. They are salespeople. A good agent has a strong contact list and solid relationships with venues and promoters. Sometimes agents cover specific regions…like Asia, US/Canada, Europe or the UK. Some agents add on their fee to the total booking price paid by the venue or promoter. However, many agents just take a percentage from the talent’s pay which is usually anywhere from 10-20% of the gross.
Finding an Agent
If you’re doing pretty well already, don’t worry, an agent will find you. There are many very talented DJs who have a lot to offer. However, agents are rarely looking to “build” your career for you. That is a risk they don’t have to take. So getting an agent to represent you can be difficult if you are not well known already. Getting noticed by an agent can come with good marketing and publicity….things you should be doing for yourself anyway. Make yourself more appealing to an agent by creating and providing them the tools they need to sell you. What tools you ask? For starters, a bio, high resolution photos, discography, video, press clips, and anything else that makes you look like a star! This is your media kit and you should always work to improve it. But even having all this doesn’t guarantee that an established agent will be willing to take you on….at least not yet.
Managers oversee and help guide your career…and usually take another 15-20% of all your earnings; however they may exclude certain income. The manager has a plan for where your career is supposed to go and advises you on what moves to make. In the DJ world, managers often act as agents as well.
A publicist’s job is to increase the public interest of their client based on the client’s needs. So for a DJ/producer, a publicist would try to get their client’s tracks reviewed by major industry publications, get them interviews, send out press releases, arrange for photo shoots, and whatever else they can come up with to get their client’s name and image out there. Their fees vary a lot. It can be based on what they get for you or a retainer.
Attorneys (almost forgot this one)
Where do lawyers come into the mix? Well, they are best for contracts and negotiations. An entertainment lawyer should review your contracts for gigs, production, record label deals, etc. There are contract templates for the music industry out there but they are very generic. Fell free to use them but still have an attorney revise it to suit your needs.
Looking back at this blog, all I see are $$$! Yes these people can be expensive and seriously dip into your earnings. It would be a good investment to have an attorney draw up a gig contract for you to reuse regularly. Hopefully, you can learn to be your own manager and publicist…for now…and meanwhile maybe get the attention of an agent who will successfully book you. If things start going well, adding a good manager and publicist can really make things take off.