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The difference between a Manager, an Agent, a Talent Buyer and a Promoter
As one enters into the world of entertainment and artistry, the lead roles in the business can get confusing. Whether a musician, writer, speaker, dancer, or any other multidisciplinary artist, you may require a manager or agent at any given time in your career. We’ve sorted out the differences and highlighted some crossovers. Having a handle on various titles and roles that you will be confronted with will help you decide what you may want or need in traversing your personal journey and career trajectory.
A Manager, in the very simplistic sense ‘manages’ for the most part, the logistical aspects of your career path so that you may focus on your art whilst sometimes also figuring out the niggling everyday aspects of your life to facilitate this. In short, the manager does almost everything, and has to know what every other role does, generally speaking. Whether preceded by ‘Artist’, ‘Personal’ or simply known as ‘Manager’, it is of utmost importance that you find a manager who has a passion and underlying understanding for what you do. They must also know you and be engaged with what you do to provide the most fruitful and relevant support to you. The manager should be well versed in the industry they are in, with the knowledge of the scope to understand your role in it. They must guide you and liaise with all the various agencies that you will have to know in the context which works for you, whether it be searching for an agent, booking purposes, negotiating budgets, music promotion and beyond, thus networking and excellent communication is key in this wide ranging capacity.
Once you have your finished product polished and ready to put out in the wider world, you’re looking for those platforms to engage with your audience. An Agent will traverse these various fields for you, hopefully marketing your wares in the right context and scope, ranging from booking tours and venues as well as plugins involving TV and radio perhaps. They will have excellent working relationships with the likes of talent buyers, promoters, festival bookers and such. Again, excellent negotiation skills and communication continues to be integral.
Targeting the right Talent Buyer is a natural top consideration when figuring out next steps in a Live capacity. The Agent will have to be au fait with various Talent Buyers and their areas of interest to ensure that the right buyers are being approached. As they will work for music promotion companies and event promotions, the Talent Buyer has the responsibility to ensure that the talent bookings that are secured are appropriate for the venue or event they are working for. Thus the Talent Buyer must have a clear idea of what the venue requirements are from both an artistic/genre perspective alongside a more practical understanding of the venue, event or festival in question (e.g. sound and acoustics, capacity).
While there is much in common between what a (Concert) Promoter does with the Talent Buyer and other roles, there are specific elements which apply here. Whether a one-off concert or festival, event or tour, the Promoter will seek to establish a framework in which this is delivered from venues to ticketing and everything else in between. Budget is the name of the game and keeping close tabs on this is a must. With a strong marketing element, strategising needs to be second nature in fulfilling Promoter obligations seeing through said event delivery from conception to execution, combined with knowing the audience and maintaining great relationships with the relevant venues and bookers. Due to the larger companies (such as Live Nation, AEG), an independent Promoter may look to having their eyes on more niche acts and genres to promote an identifiable gap in the market.
While it is fact there is a multitude of resources at our fingertips in this era, such as Gigwell’s TourIQ, there comes a point when building a solid team around you is paramount. Not only can delegating certain tasks keep the art at the forefront of your mind, it helps to organize all moving parts, and perhaps most importantly, helps keep that self-destructive burnout that artists know so well at bay.
The Advance began with the intention of creating community and dialogue around what the future of live entertainment looks like, how we are pinpointing places for growth, streamlining processes, highlighting advancements, and shaping it as a collective. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org