In this week’s Gig Gab, Dave Hamilton is joined by Lara Supan from Midwood Entertainment to dive deep into the role of a booking agent for developing bands. Lara teaches us that a booking agent excels in routings, venue knowledge, negotiation, and strategy, but they won’t grow your fanbase or bring people to your shows; that’s your job!

Also, timing is everything: booking agents work on commission and expect a minimum of $100K in tour revenue annually, with solid ticket sales in multiple markets. If you’re a band thinking like a small business, you should hire to your weaknesses and always look to expand your team.

Getting ready for a booking agent means keeping your ticket sales data organized and maintaining a strong social media presence, especially on platforms like TikTok, at least these days. Once you have an agent, your job is to sell tickets and think long-term, planning shows 2-3 years out. Festivals like Mile of Music can help, but the real key is sustainability and growth of your headlining shows. And when doing those, remember, it’s not just about your first show; it’s about the next. Always Be Performing, and make sure to deliver—and sell those tickets—every time you take the stage!

  • 00:00:00 Gig Gab 437 – Monday, July 8th, 2024
  • 00:01:30 What does a booking agent do for a developing band?
    • More specifically: What is a booking agent good for?
      • Routings
      • Venue knowledge
      • Negotiation
      • What’s going to be a good night for everyone?
      • Spreadsheets!
      • Crunching data, and trying to predict the future
      • Strategy Conversations
    • Booking agents DON’T
      • Don’t Bring people out to your show
      • Don’t help you grow your fanbase
  • 00:09:59 When do I need a booking agent?
    • This is a PAID team-member
    • Commission-based, so that the incentive is right
    • Needs for Midwood Entertainment
    • Minimum of $100K tour revenue annually
    • 300-500 tickets in home market
    • At least 100 tickets in five other markets
    • “Markets” are 1.5-2hrs (90 miles) apart
  • 00:17:47 Is a booking agent the FIRST team-member a band brings on?
    • View your music as a small business first!
    • Hire to your band’s weaknesses
    • But always expand your team
  • 00:21:10 What can my band do NOW to make things easier once I’m ready to hire a booking agent?
    • Maintain a difference between your hard ticket sales vs. soft ticket sales
    • Keep your social media game up
    • TikTok presence has sold hard tickets
    • Facebook posts do NOT sell hard tickets
    • Build and maintain your mailing list
    • Spotify gives good data about listeners and their locations
  • 00:31:14 Home Market Saturation…How frequently does a band need to sell 300-500 tickets?
  • 00:36:13 Great! Now, I have a booking agent…what can I do to help them help me?
    • Sell the tickets to your shows. That’s not the booking agent’s job.
    • Expand your timelines for shows… if you’re currently booking 2-3 months out, start thinking 2-3 years out
    • Jim Fleming: “It’s not about the first show, it’s about the second show.” Work on your sustainability!
  • 00:38:56 Does being forced into a booking slot help you make it?
    • Support Slots are NOT the way people (generally) find new music
    • It only works when the headlining artist encourages their fans to support the opening acts
    • Festivals are a LITTLE better than being a support slot, but attendees are primed to discover new music
    • Mile of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin – A “Developing Artist” festival
    • Folk Alliance
    • NERFA
  • 00:49:10 Spotify Playlists can help… within reason
    • Helps for soft tickets, not hard tickets.
    • Then you have to deliver! Be responsible!
  • 00:51:59 Lara – What do you play?
  • 00:53:40 Gig Gab 437 Outtro


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