“I need a booking agent to get good gigs”
I did a survey a while back with almost 50 international jazz promoters which showed that almost 60% of gigs they booked were done so directly with the artist. No agent involved.
So before we go any further, let’s agree that “I can’t get more gigs without an agent” is not 100% fact.
It’s true that a booking agent can speed up a career when they’re really fired up about a project. They also take care of a bunch of stuff you might not really want to be doing.
As such, finding a booking agent is a good career target and one that I can share some actionable tips on.
But if the possibility of getting an agent disappeared today, your plans to build a career as an internationally touring jazz musician would not disappear too.
In my experience, it’s very hard to get a good agent until you’re already getting some good gig opportunities.
Frustrating, I know.
But there’s so much great music out there, compared to a relatively small number of agents and so choosing great bands with some proven demand is more attractive than choosing great bands without much proven demand.
So my goal with a lot of the content here – as well as the Jazzfuel newsletter – is to show how you can start making faster progress with your gigs and tours right now, by yourself.
[You might also be interested in checking this list I put together: Booking agents vs Music managers]
From your local city to international touring
As an agent – and via the Jazzfuel site – I help musicians of all levels grow their career. From freshly graduated music students through to professionals who’ve played internationally for 20+ years.
And at every level, there’s room to be more adventurous and aim higher in terms of what sort of gigs you’re doing.
Of course, you need to build your gigs step by step.
You probably won’t end up with too many international festival offers before can get a decent gig in your home country.
But assuming you’re a serious musician, there’s no need to wait.
The world is a pretty small place thanks to the internet and, whatever level you’re at right now, you can make real progress towards touring at the next level.
For some of you, that might be building your reputation in your home city. For others, growing demand for your project nationally, or even internationally.
Most of the advice I’m sharing is relevant every step of the way and are things that I’ve tried out with both independent and DIY artists right through to those releasing on major labels.
All this to say: don’t get stuck in the trap of feeling that you need to make your music and your promo materials perfect before you start working on this.