Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Becoming a Music Agent Works


Starting Your Own Music Agency
Richard Kraft, left, and Laura Engel, center, of Kraft-Engel Management pose with their client, composer Philip Glass, right.
Richard Kraft, left, and Laura Engel, center, of Kraft-Engel Management pose with their client, composer Philip Glass, right.
© Evan Agostini/Getty Images

You've earned your stripes at a music agency and made a lot of contracts with musicians, concert promoters, venue managers and other booking agents. You have some clients lined up. And you'd like to call your shots about how you represent your talent. It's time, you think, to start your own agency.

Maybe it is, but before you make the leap, consider that being a music booking agent and running an agency require different skills. You'll gain freedom as an independent booking agent, or talent agent, but you'll also have the responsibility of running a small business. Particularly if you plan to have more than one agent and manage multiple clients, you'll need time, cash and determination.

To be successful, you'll need to be able to give positive answers to questions like these:

  • Are you a self-starter?
  • Can you get along well with different personalities?
  • Can you deal with a demanding client or an unreliable vendor if your business interests demand it?
  • Are you good at making decisions quickly under pressure?
  • Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business?
  • Can you face six or seven 12 -hour workdays every week?
  • Do you plan and organize well?
  • Can you manage the financial and administrative details of a business?

[source: U.S. Small Business Administration]

If your answer is, "I'm ready!" think about how you're going to start. Do you want to work out of your home as a solo agent? Do you want to start like that, gain experience and capital and then build a bigger agency that can attract bigger clients? Or, do you want to get a loan and move right into the agency business with several employees?

Before you go after business capital, you'll need a clear idea of what's required to get your business running -- equipment and supplies, an office, staff and hired consultants, like an accountant and an attorney. Think about how much you can provide from your savings or other resources, and think conservatively so that you don't put your mortgage or your family at risk.

Then consider the options of where you can get a loan. You can go to a bank, of course, but you also might want to consider small business guaranteed loans, venture capital firms, commercial finance companies or a partnership with someone. Make sure you understand how your application will be evaluated and the terms of paying back the loan.

You can't start your own business without taking risks, but you'll also have the advantages of being your own boss, with greater earning potential and all of your hard work going to benefit yourself. And that may make the risk well worth taking.

For lots more information about music agents and related topics, check out the links on the next page.