Do your research, guys!

Oh, boy, today has been my day for getting odd enquiries. My website at is pretty clear on what I do. There’s even a series of helpfiles for those not all that familiar with the music business, so why oh why do I get enquiries such as: ‘Looking for someone who likes my music enough to tout it round a few bands, help to transform [song title] into a successful pop song, which I believe it has the potential to be.’?

Is it not clear from my website that I am a booking agent? I sell artists into venues. I don’t sell songs to bands. Is it not clear that I am a folk agent? I do not operate in the pop world. I am not a music publisher or an A&R scout.

And then there’s the triple enquiry (yes, three consecutive emails) which starts out with a big attachment which clearly advertises an artist and says I would love to perform at your venue. My response is: I don’t have a venue. (I used to, but I don’t now.) Then I get email #2: asking: But you are an agent? Answer: Yes I am an agent. So a third email comes back with: Ok, not a specific venue, but you do work closely with ‘venues’ your clients, you could book my artist dates at relevant venues that you work with?

I could, could I? If only it was that easy.

The venues are not my clients, the artists are. I do not have venues in my pocket, nor do I have a bucket full of gigs to dispense wherever I see fit. Each gig I get for one of my artists is hard won. I target a wide variety of venues, I approach them and sell them a specific artist for a specific date based on the venue director’s perception of how well that artist will draw an audience. It’s all about the right artist at the right venue at the right time and at the right price.

How do people get the idea that venues employ agents to fill their programme? Maybe in the world of working men’s clubs that’s what happens, but not in the folk world.

And then there was the very nice man who wanted to know how to get one of my artists to play at a venue? Well that’s easy. You book the artist and I send you a contract. No, it’s not his venue it’s a venue he wants to attend to see one of my artists… umm, well not a venue exactly, more like a festival. OK, well, send me the details and I’ll have a look. You can always write to the artistic director and tell them that as a regular attendee you’d like to see Artist X at the festival. They often take notice of what their audience recommends. Well… he hadn’t exactly been to that festival before… but if Artist X played there he would certainly go… But, y’know,  it just might lead to a gig, so it’s worth firing off an email.

Let’s be clear, I don’ mind odd enquiries, except when even a modicum of research (just check my website, OK?) would have saved everyone a lot of time and trouble. Only one of these odd enquiries was legitimate. You guess which one.

About Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford maintains this blog. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (, the secretary of Milford SF Writers (, a singer ( and a music agent booking UK tours and concerts for folk performers (
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