What an agent doesn’t do

Sometimes there are false expectations. I’m an agent not a manager. There are other industry professionals whose job it is to do artist publicity and advertising, to plug CDs to radio stations and to generally further an artist’s career in many ways. If you want those jobs doing you have to employ the relevant industry professionals or you have to do the job yourself.

Let me say that again. Though I may from time to time make helpful (or unhelpful) suggestions, I do not manage an artist’s career.

An agent is also not a tour manager. (Yes I know what my agency is called and I will tour manage for artists, but at a substantial additional cost.) It’s generally the artist’s responsibility to get to the gig on time. An agent does not arrange transport to and from the gig, or book overnight accommodation except where accommodation is part and parcel of the remuneration for the gig. An agent does not arrange accommodation on days off.

I am not a publicist. I am not responsible for sending out or paying for artist advertising. I do not send tourdates to magazines and websites. Artists retain the responsibility for promoting their gigs to the world at large and their own mailing list in particular. An agent is not a publicist. It’s up to artists to do PR work and to crank out adverts and gig publicity or employ someone to do so.

I don’t have any artistic input or any say in an artist’s show. I don’t arrange for venues to provide elements required for shows. If an artist needs a xylophone, they’d better have one in their kit. (The exception to this being negotiating the use of a venue’s grand piano if required.)

Beyond what I need to sell a show to a booker (which I generally design and have printed myself) I don’t have any responsibility for designing, arranging for or paying for an artist’s print promo, though I do require that it’s available in the required quantities for venues and that it’s good quality and apropriate for the job and I will send it out to venues at my expense.

I do not deal with an artist’s taxes (though I will provide the necessary duplicate contracts and information). Artists touring from abroad can get withholding tax waiver forms from the Foreign Entertainers’ Unit of the Inland Revenue. Your personal finances are really not my business and I don’t need to know your personal financial details – which is why I like taxation issues to remain between the Inland Revenue and the artist and (possibly) their accountant.

So remember, your agent might collect you from the airport, cook you dinner, nurse you if you’re sick, arrange for you to stay at her mum’s house when you’re not gigging,  sort out your parking tickets and generally be your friend, BUT YOU MUSTN’T EXPECT THIS! The contract only says that she will get gigs (or try) in return for an agreed percentage of your gig fees. More than that is good nature or an additional pre-agreed service which you will be charged for.

About Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford maintains this blog. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (www.jaceybedford.co.uk), the secretary of Milford SF Writers (www.milfordSF.co.uk), a singer (www.artisan-harmony.com) and a music agent booking UK tours and concerts for folk performers (www.jacey-bedford.com). She's also a Home Office / UK Visas and Immigration department licensed sponsor processing UK work permits (Certificates of Sponsorship).
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