Oct 11, 2019


(And Some That They Love)

It is no secret that landing gigs is challenging. Getting booked or booking your artists can be tough, with plenty of competition out there and a lot of time consuming correspondence. Perhaps you’ve been here before, or perhaps it’s your first time. At both ends of the spectrum, you can expect emails to be flying as you try to get the attention of various individuals, in this case, the talent buyer you’re hoping will consider your artist or artist roster. How do you get organized? Moreover, how do you avoid tumbleweed in response to your heartfelt plea for artist consideration? 

We tapped James Reed for a few insider tips on things talent buyers absolutely can’t stand, and a few they love. James brings a unique perspective as he is a performing artist on varying stages; he is a former Soloist dancer with the Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet, boasting an impressive 18 year dancing career spanning the United States, and is also a DJ, Co-founder and talent buyer for one of the leading event companies in the southwest, Kinda Super Disco. KSD is an industry sweetheart, as its carefully curated vibe never strays from authentic. The room always feels “special”. So how’d he do that? Let’s check in to see what turns him off as a talent buyer, as he provides some insight on what not to do when trying to secure gigs.

: “Yep, there is definitely a laundry list of things I have witnessed over the years that would help any artist or agent to know.  Here are some tips I can provide that can save you time, help smooth out the process of filling dates, improve your place in the music community.


Especially for the wrong demographic! With so many emails to compose and correspondence to return, there is nothing worse than an agent (you don't know) trying to sell you DJ Phat Beatz, when you book acts like RPR Soundsystem. Do your research and make sure you really know the buyer you are approaching and make it personable. 


Do not try to drive the price in your market up artificially by pitting buyers against each other. Us promoter folk, we know and talk to each other. We have to operate and cooperate with long term goals in mind to make our scene viable. There are a plethora of talented musicians in this world and we would rather work with agents and artists that are straight up. Long term, it's better for you or your artists!


Agents, if you can't get a hold of your artist, let us know you can't get a hold of your artist! Artists, don’t slip on this and if you have some reason you can’t communicate in a timely fashion, know what tools are available to assist or reach out to people that can help you. An agent and a talent buyer are under similar stresses! Work in conjunction with each other and any issue can be resolved. I once had an agent get back to me saying "he's on the North Pole, seriously." Okay, I now know. Please, let me know when Santa has available dates.


We all have different tastes. I understand that many agents really love and believe in the artist they represent. Don't be offended and behave rudely if promoters think an artist/group isn't right for an event. Rudeness and arrogance, as Yoda once told me, does NOT an artist get you booked, hmmmmm. In fact, it burns bridges. You never know when that promoter/talent buyer might be thinking of someone more suitable to book you.


Okay, so they may not want your act now. There will come a time when they may! If you are an agent that has gotten a “not this time”, but you have a fellow agent who does have an act they want, connect them! It really makes you look like a class act when you help someone out and the favor, more than likely, will be returned! I myself have constantly referred agents and artists to other promoters for the same reason.” 

Solid advice, James Reed. Solid advice.


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 theadvance@gigwell.com

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