Music Booking Agent: Job Description and Duties

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a music booking agent. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job description and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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The primary responsibility of a music booking agent is to locate and secure appropriate venues for musicians and entertainers to perform live. There are various postsecondary degrees that can help prepare aspiring agents for this career, including music management and marketing. Music booking agents need to have strong communication skills and must be able to negotiate details regarding scheduling and compensation.

Essential Information

Whether working independently or for a booking agency, music booking agents coordinate many details related to musical performances. They might represent specific musical groups or performance venues. Aspiring music booking agents might earn an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in music management. Ideally, they should gain knowledge of sales and marketing.

Required Education Variable; an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in music management, sales and marketing or related experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% (for agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes)
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $62,940 (for agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes)

Sources: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

A band or musical artist might hire a music booking agent to find and secure performances. A booking agent should be skilled at matching bands with appropriate venues and audiences, ultimately helping increase bands' exposure within the music industry. In some cases, a music booking agent will work closely with a band to help members strategize about reaching their career goals.

Alternately, a music booking agent might work for a performance venue or booking agency. Primary responsibilities include finding musical artists to perform at certain venues and negotiating details pertaining to those performances. Agents working at booking agencies respond to customer inquiries, usually pertaining to booking a musical artist for a private event.

While there is no standard educational background for this career, a background in sales and marketing can be helpful. Music management training is available through associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Jazz
  • Music Composition and Theory
  • Music History and Literature
  • Music Merchandising and Management
  • Music Pedagogy
  • Music Performing
  • Musical Conducting
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
  • Piano and Organ
  • Stringed Instruments
  • Voice and Opera

Duties

A music booking agent working for a specific musical performer or group spends time searching for gigs and negotiates details, such as what time performances will take place and how much money performers will make, with the venue. Using e-mail and a phone, this professional maintains communication with many parties. He or she negotiates contracts, payment and other crucial information with managers and other agents working with a given musical act. Key traits are good communication skills and an ability to maintain contacts within the music industry. A music booking agent might be responsible for promoting a musical group before its scheduled performance.

According to booking agency websites, additional responsibilities include providing quotes to clients and negotiating the final price of services covered. In addition to securing an artist's performance, music booking agents might handle the production of an event, including arranging for transportation, hotels, lighting and concert equipment. They often work with other companies, such as event planning services or large corporations. These same agencies might arrange artist interview requests or television appearances.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have employment outlook predictions specifically for booking agents. Salary data for booking agents was included within the larger category of business managers and agents for artists performers and athletes, a group that earned a median of $62,940 as of May 2015, the BLS noted.

A music booking agent might work for a booking agency, or they can be self-employed. Finding and maintaining contacts across the music industry is very important in this career, and the ability to promote a band or musical act can be essential in certain roles. Music booking agents might also be responsible for setting up transportation, equipment, and overnight accommodations for a band or act.

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