Just been taken an on by an agent...questions/opinions.


PDA

View Full Version : Just been taken an on by an agent...questions/opinions.


Punk_Ninja
01-11-2011, 06:03 PM
Right, so the backstory is that my band have only really been together for over half a year (well initially there was a band, which I joined as bassist, which fell apart, I became guitarist, ryhythm player became bassist, old drummer returned, singers drifted in and out) we've had one shambles gig where we didn't have a singer so we had a couple of people who helped out then my bassist sang, and before I sang one we were kicked off stage (not a nice feeling), we then got a steady singer who we did one gig with and who seemed solid, we tried to get some recording down, but the girl who owns the studio messed us about to try to get some more cash out of us, and last week our singer left.

So a very bad history in a short amount of time really!

Anyway, when our singer was still with us my bassist got in touch with an agent who was advertising, he was saying he wanted bands and he could sort out gigs for 'em and stuff. And as our recordings went down the shitter and we didn't want to spend any more money on potentially wasted recordings we thought the best plan to get gigs ASAP was to see this guy, he was cool and let us go without a singer to see what was what.

Anyway, to bring this into the now, I just got back from meeting him.
His reaction to us was really good, he said he was definitely going to take us on and sort us out for gigs, etc etc. He said that we'll never play a free gig while under him as he'll always get us payment and he'll get us gigs all over the place cos he works from sort of north-ish of England down to the south coast.

Anyway, to actually get onto my question, this guy seems to be pretty cool. I went in with the "agents aren't shit" mentality and stick by it, cos in most cases it's pretty obvious that they would **** you over to make their cash, but he seemed pretty nice, and obviously what he is offering sounds real good, payment and gigs are always welcome by my watch!

But, is it really a safe bet to trust this guy in any way?
Like, I've never had any experience with an agent, and I'm sure plenty of you have!
I'm going with the whole "if it looks too good to be true, it is" mentality, cos, while the band have practiced their rears off, it's esentially like we're getting gigs all over the UK and payment for nothing cos we all really love being a band anyway.

Anyway yeah, so what are your opinions on having an agent?
Is it needed?
Is it too good to be true?
Will it help us or hurt us?
How close should I hold this guy? Are agents as a people trustworthy?

If anyone has anything to say about my situation or having an agent it'd be greatly appreciated.
I know you have to learn by your mistakes and stuff, but I still want to be extra cautious!

Cheers!

'93
01-11-2011, 06:09 PM
did he say you have to sign with him or something? anything legal?

if he asking for nothing before the gigs (that hell just help you for a cut of the profit after youve done the gig) then i say go for it. if it doesnt work out just pull out

Myshadow46_2
01-11-2011, 06:15 PM
What experience did he demonstrate? What has he done which makes you feel like it's the right thing to do, other than the pound signs flashing in your eyes?

If you don't need to sign anything though, I doubt it would hurt.

Punk_Ninja
01-11-2011, 06:24 PM
'93, nah nothing contract wise, his plan is to get us gigs and he'll take his fee out of it then give us our payment. Seems too much of a cherry deal to really be perfect!

Myshadow46_2, he didn't demonstrate any really, told us that he's been going for 8 years and where he had contacts and stuff, he seems legit, but as I say, I can't be sure!
And yeah there's nothing to sign. I'm just worried about if anything could potentially bite me in the ass later!

Zycho
01-12-2011, 12:38 AM
Well of course he's going to talk him self up, he's selling his service. Have him set you a show before you sign with him. Play it and see how it goes. See if what he has to offer is worth it.

SlackerBabbath
01-12-2011, 04:40 AM
What sort of deal do you have with him? I take it he's on a percentage, but is it a percentage of your gross or net profits?

Let's say he's got you a gig for £100 and he takes 10%. Obviously if it's a percentage of the gross profit, then he gets £10, but if it was taken from your net profit, and let us say that it's cost you £50 in transport to play the gig, then his percentage would only be £5.

It's worth negotiating a 'percentage of net profits' deal if you can because it works in your favour, but obviously not all agents will agree to that.
Problems can then arise when they get you gigs so far away and with wages so low that they don't cover the costs of playing the gig.

Let's say you are playing for £100, but it's cost you £100 just to get there, if the agent gets a percentage of the gross profit, you still owe the him £10, so you've just made a loss. If he was taking a percentage of the net profit, you wouldn't owe him anything because there wouldn't be a net profit.

I've generaly found agents to be quite satisfactory, in principle, if they take a percentage, then they have to make you money in order to get paid themselves, but there are some sharks about out there. There are some agents that will get you gigs that are too far away for too little money for you to viably play. Under those circumstances, if you have signed a contract with him, you can either play the gig and make a loss or refuse the gig, in which case you may still be contractualy obliged to pay him his percentage. Some agents will even pick a very young and inexperienced band, sign them up, then purposely get them gigs that they have no hope of actualy playing, knowing full well that he will still get his money from them while never actualy having to provide a venue with a band.

But this kind of agent is quite rare, simply because there's actualy more money to be made by doing it properly.

So, try and get a 'net' deal, beware of gigs that don't pay enough to cover costs and provide profit and be prepared to work hard. A good agent will keep you busy, so it's a good idea to have transport already sorted, idealy you should have your own 'reliable' transport, (even better if it can double up as accommodation) and be ready to set off at a moment's notice.
Talk to the agent before agreeing upon the type of jobs he gets you, make sure he's the right guy for you. Unless you want to be working almost every day in all sorts of godforsaken places, say something. Tell him how many gigs per week you realisticaly want to play, what sort of travel radius from home you want and inform him of what your transportational costs are. (for instance, if you don't already have transport, then you may have to hire transport, so this hire cost, plus fuel, is your transportational cost. Each gig he gets you should cover your costs and leave enough left over to give both you and him a decent little earner. (But remember, his definition of a 'decent little earner' may be different to yours. He's one guy, so to him £50 is £50, but to a five piece band £50 is actualy just £10 each, which obviously isn't so much of a 'decent' little earner.)

If that isn't happening, he's either the wrong agent for you or there are some communication problems. Obviously if you have signed a contract with him, it may be a little sticky to get out of, so ask if you can have a trial period before signing anything. Often agents don't even require a contract, and simply work on a friendly basis. This sounds OK, and can often work very well, but remember a contract generaly works both ways, without a contract, he's not obliged to try to get you work.

My own personal agent works for me on friendly terms, there are no contracts between us but we have become very good friends over the years and I've grown to trust the guy. The deal we have is that I will ocasionaly ring him up and tell him what dates we want to play and he then goes and arranges the gigs, taking into account distance, transport costs and wages, and takes 15% from the gross profit, no more, no less. So far, he's never let me down.
If we wish to tour, he'll arrange it so that there is as little travel between venues as possible and try to arrange it so that we have regular days off so that we never find ourselves burning out from too many gigs halfway through the tour.
We call the shots and he provides the right gigs for our needs, which he is now very familiar with, which to me is ideal.

Punk_Ninja
01-12-2011, 07:10 AM
Zycho, he's got two shows sorted for us to play in a couple of months time which will act as sort of "trial" shows, for both of us, like, he'll see we're good enough, we'll see that he's getting the right places (i.e. the places that get people in) and stuff.

Slacker, great help man!
Very informative post, I'll take the net/gross stuff in and make sure that when payment comes up things will get sorted and stuff.
Also, the band does have appropriate transport, as in all members but myself have cars, unfortunately they can't double up as accomodation!
But yeah, I'll take everything you mentioned into consideration, thanks a million!

And I'm assuming it'll be on a friendly basis as no contract has been mentioned, but I guess that can change, and around contracts I'll be sure to read 'em as thoroughly as aanyone can. Though I think my band are a bit more taken in with the potential glamour of regular gigs than I am, so they'll probably sign in a heartbeat. :p:

SlackerBabbath
01-12-2011, 10:03 AM
Zycho, he's got two shows sorted for us to play in a couple of months time which will act as sort of "trial" shows, for both of us, like, he'll see we're good enough, we'll see that he's getting the right places (i.e. the places that get people in) and stuff.

Slacker, great help man!
Very informative post, I'll take the net/gross stuff in and make sure that when payment comes up things will get sorted and stuff.
Also, the band does have appropriate transport, as in all members but myself have cars, unfortunately they can't double up as accomodation!
But yeah, I'll take everything you mentioned into consideration, thanks a million!

And I'm assuming it'll be on a friendly basis as no contract has been mentioned, but I guess that can change, and around contracts I'll be sure to read 'em as thoroughly as aanyone can. Though I think my band are a bit more taken in with the potential glamour of regular gigs than I am, so they'll probably sign in a heartbeat. :p:

Just so long as you haven't signed anything, then you really have nothing to worry about. If he rips you off in any way, you can always walk away from the deal, lesson learned, without fear of legal reprisals.
If you're offered a contract, post a copy here, I'm pretty sure we'd soon see through any scams or loopholes.

He's probably a perfectly OK guy, but it's just that whenever I hear of a fairly inexperienced band being offered what sound like a great agency deal, it kinda sets off alarm bells because if music business sharks are gonna pick on anyone, it's usualy the inexperienced, so just be wary of him, but go along with him anyway, see where he gets you for the first few gigs before making any judgement on him because he may just be a genuinely nice guy. From my own experience I've found that in general, it's the agents that are the nicest guys in the business, much easier to work with than managers, promoters or venue owners.

As I said earlier, most agents will only work on a gross percentage basis, but it's worth asking about, if you can get him to accept a net deal, it'll certainly make you more money.

If you're planning on doing lots of gigging, you really do need a van, or at least something big enough to take the whole band and it's gear, it'll save you a fortune in the long run. How many cars are we talking about here in your band, three? If so that's potentially costing you guys 3 times the amount in fuel, for every gig.
I know that when we venture out on the road, the fuel costs for one gig alone can often easily come to £50, which would be more like £150 for you guys.

kyle62
01-12-2011, 10:53 AM
If he's taking his fee as a percentage from gig earnings, he's certainly not out to rip you off and there's no harm in giving it a go.

There's a lot of 'agents these days who target young and naive bands and ask for a monthly fee up front, and then sign them up for a few crappy pay-to-play 'showcases' and crap like that. The often give em a big long, serious looking contract to basically make the band think they'll dealing with something bit and important.


Are you guys playing covers? Otherwise I very much doubt you'll be getting paid gigs for a long time yet, if ever.
The pub and club circuit is where you want to be, the 'originals circuit' is basically a joke now. Best approach is to get a 90-minute set of mixed covers and originals and go for smaller pubs and clubs rather than the big venues.

Punk_Ninja
01-12-2011, 03:24 PM
Slacker, if I get given a contract of any kind I'll be sure to run it by here!
And I actually think the guy thinks we're more experienced than we are. I mean, we're not naive by any stretch, but I guess we would be classed as inexperienced yeah! But he seemed to not think this, though we did ensure that we acted in the most professional manner (like turning up half an hour early, despite the guy not even being there yet! Grr! :p: ).
And we're working out of 2 cars but I'm going to assume our singer will have a car of their own also, so it will end up as 3 cars yes.
I think we will seriously consider a van at some point, but worst comes to worst, my Dad is a courier driver, he has a Merc Sprinter, 3 meter long van which could be used on certain occasions.

Kyle, he's not doing a pay monthly thing, he'll be taking his cash from our earnings.
And yeah, it's a covers deal, much to my dismay! While the cash is in the show bands I really don't like the idea of being a covers artist, but I guess it'll get us some cash! Which is good.
But yeah, he told us the places he'll be getting us gigs will be the pubs, clubs and some rock venues, and that we'll pretty much need two 45 minute sets per gig, which is about right for a covers band.

SlackerBabbath
01-13-2011, 10:16 AM
Slacker, if I get given a contract of any kind I'll be sure to run it by here!
And I actually think the guy thinks we're more experienced than we are. I mean, we're not naive by any stretch, but I guess we would be classed as inexperienced yeah! But he seemed to not think this, though we did ensure that we acted in the most professional manner (like turning up half an hour early, despite the guy not even being there yet! Grr! :p: ).
And we're working out of 2 cars but I'm going to assume our singer will have a car of their own also, so it will end up as 3 cars yes.
I think we will seriously consider a van at some point, but worst comes to worst, my Dad is a courier driver, he has a Merc Sprinter, 3 meter long van which could be used on certain occasions.

Kyle, he's not doing a pay monthly thing, he'll be taking his cash from our earnings.
And yeah, it's a covers deal, much to my dismay! While the cash is in the show bands I really don't like the idea of being a covers artist, but I guess it'll get us some cash! Which is good.
But yeah, he told us the places he'll be getting us gigs will be the pubs, clubs and some rock venues, and that we'll pretty much need two 45 minute sets per gig, which is about right for a covers band.

That all sounds above board to me, I suggest you just go with it and see where it gets you.

If you wanna play lots of gigs, and thus reach lots of potential fans with your original material, then playing covers for a while works really well.
The thing about the pub and club circuit is that it's not really about crowds following certain bands. It's more about crowds going to a venue, regardless of who's playing, week after week. You're job is to entertain them and keep them happy, so that must include playing the kind of stuff they are familiar with.

But you can 'educate' audiences like that.

Start with just a couple of your original numbers in the covers sets, then when you get return bookings in venues, add a few more original numbers the next time you play there. So long as you are going down well in a venue and continue to get return bookings, then the venue owners won't give a toss what you play, all they care about is how much beer they're selling. Eventualy your set in those venues that you repeatedly play at will be mainly original with just a few covers, the audience will, by then, be familiar with your work and will be turning out primarily to hear your music, which is, I suspect, what you want. But remember, with each new venue, you have to start with a setfull of covers, until such a time as you have become nationaly known for your original sets.

Oh, and the Merc Sprinter makes an IDEAL gigging bus. I've personaly been all over the country in one.

Punk_Ninja
01-13-2011, 10:35 AM
That alll sounds cool. The only potential problem will be if my band want to leave their comfort zone of covers, I can forsee my band taking the ideas of a covers band too seriously, which irks me a bit, but what can you do?
I guess it'll be a good venture for a bit of money if nothing else! I still have my other projects.

And yeah, the Sprinter seems pretty solid, could easily be used for travel and sleeping, it'd be able to hold all my band's gear and more! Though it won't be a regular use thing, only the small occasions that my Dad might be able to let us use it!

Thanks a bunch for all your guidance it's been helpful. :)
I've loosened up a bit more to the idea of an agent, I was treating it like having a manager and assuming he'd be a major dick!

SlackerBabbath
01-13-2011, 12:22 PM
That alll sounds cool. The only potential problem will be if my band want to leave their comfort zone of covers, I can forsee my band taking the ideas of a covers band too seriously, which irks me a bit, but what can you do?

Have several different standard sets. A pair of 45 minute sets with mainly covers, a pair with half covers and half originals and a pair that's mainly originals. Try and read each audience during the first set, this becomes easier with more experience, and if they seem to be open to your original songs in the first set, swap the second set for one with more originals in it.
Mixing and matching your sets like that will eventual prepare you to play to almost any audience, it can even get to the point where you don't even need a set-list when you go and play a gig because you'll all develop a natural feeling for what will go down well in any given situation.

Infact my own band, Slack Babbath, isn't purely a Sabbath tribute band. We started out as a three piece pub rock band called the 3 Amigos and we used to do the mixing and matching trick with set lists, eventualy developing the ability to just read an audience and play a set suited to that particular night and venue, Playing Black Sabbath covers just grew from that really, we added a bassist and I took the lead vocals spot, (I was previously the bassist/vocalist) for the image of the thing but it's basicaly the same band, and even today 10 years after we started doing the Slack Babbath gigs, we still occasionaly go out and play as the Amigos, with no set list, 'gigging by the seat of our pants' as our drummer likes to say, playing a mixture of originals and covers. And the reason we still occasionaly do that is because it's just so much fun to do, there are no limitations, such as being limited to just covering one band, we can play any song we like, be it cover or original, and it never fails to go down well. And because of that we always get a decent wage for our trouble.


Thanks a bunch for all your guidance it's been helpful. :)
Anytime bud.

I've loosened up a bit more to the idea of an agent, I was treating it like having a manager and assuming he'd be a major dick!
Yeah, they tend to be two different animals really, with agents coming out as generaly more trustable than managers.

Punk_Ninja
01-13-2011, 04:44 PM
I guess that's a great idea! Though as you said, reading the audience comes easier with experience, so for a while I think a set-list will be needed. I guess we'll guage which songs the audience likes for when/if we play the same venue again.
I'll see how the slipping in originals goes, though before we can do that, we need lyrics! :p:
I'm working on my writing, and we're hoping that when our singer comes in that they'll be alright with lyrics. Cos as a band we can reel off songs no problem.

Yeah. Well the guy has said he helps manage bands which appear to need it, but he's told us that we're fine as we are so he'll only be taking his agents fee as opposed to a managers fee which he'd take from those who need a bit of help with where they're going and stuff.
Though if anything fishy does crop up I'm sure I'll be back here asking for guidance. :p:

SlackerBabbath
01-14-2011, 09:42 AM
Good luck with all of that bud.

axemanchris
01-16-2011, 12:10 AM
A bit late to the party here.... (got smacked hard upside the head by real life this week)

Even if he offers you a contract, it might still be okay. There are "exclusive" deals, which *sound* nice. (they're "exclusive" after all...) But what that means is that you are bound to that service provider only and can work with no other.

A non-exclusive contract will allow you to work with him and with someone else if the mood fancies you.

I agree that it can't hurt to give him a shot, but my money goes hard on the thinking that he is quite inexperienced. Here's why....

1. He took you on without a demo and with no successful track record of gigging on your own. What in the world thinks he can make you any money if you can't make any yourself, and you don't even have a demo to convince potential talent buyers that you might be worth their time? Best answer = hope and a good sense of optimism.

2. He has not yet discussed terms with you, even verbally. A person who runs a business will always do this. A hobbiest won't be quite so diligent.

3. He is even willing to take you on without a complete lineup. (ie. no singer.) See #1.

But hey... we all gotta start somewhere. Him too.

CT

Punk_Ninja
01-16-2011, 06:47 AM
Well, with the "no demo" thing, he took us on after seeing us play, like we were scheduled for an audition, but after he saw us he wanted to take us on, so it's not like he just said "Yeah, you're a band, you'll do."

Also, he...kinda talked terms. :p: He talked to us about what exactly would happen having him as an agent, like he'd take his agents fee, he'd occasionally let other agents get us some gigs and stuff (though I assume that'd mean paying two agents ;_; :p: ) and some vague stuff. I guess when we see him next it'll get more official?
As I said, this was only the audition!

But yeah, the taking us on without a singer was confusing! I guess I can hope that we were just that good that he had to have us. :p:
But yeah, I don't think he's as professional as he makes out, if he was he wouldn't have been advertising auditions via joinmyband and they wouldn't be at a small social club in an outskirt village of my town!

But still I see it as gigs, and if he fails on us, we're out of there.

And in terms of the exclusive contract stuff. I think he's suggesting one in what he does.
As I said he'll sort of use other agents he knows to get into other venues but we'd still be working under him.
I'm not sure what his opinion of us getting our own gigs would be. As all the gigs we do with him will be covers with being a few occasions where we can put originals in, so I dunno if he'd be cool with us doing an original gig every now and then.

He also says he's been doing it for like 6 years...or 8...I don't remember, but I guess I'll see how legit he is if he comes through for us in getting the gigs!

SlackerBabbath
01-16-2011, 10:10 AM
A bit late to the party here.... (got smacked hard upside the head by real life this week)

Even if he offers you a contract, it might still be okay. There are "exclusive" deals, which *sound* nice. (they're "exclusive" after all...) But what that means is that you are bound to that service provider only and can work with no other.

A non-exclusive contract will allow you to work with him and with someone else if the mood fancies you.

I agree that it can't hurt to give him a shot, but my money goes hard on the thinking that he is quite inexperienced. Here's why....

1. He took you on without a demo and with no successful track record of gigging on your own. What in the world thinks he can make you any money if you can't make any yourself, and you don't even have a demo to convince potential talent buyers that you might be worth their time? Best answer = hope and a good sense of optimism.

2. He has not yet discussed terms with you, even verbally. A person who runs a business will always do this. A hobbiest won't be quite so diligent.

3. He is even willing to take you on without a complete lineup. (ie. no singer.) See #1.

But hey... we all gotta start somewhere. Him too.

CT

Yeah, I completely agree, the deal seems OK in principle but there's just something that says this sounds a bit too good to be true (call it 'musician's intuition' if you want) and the agent being inexperienced sounds like a very definate candidate for what seems to be wrong with this picture.

But as Chris suggests, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, OK he may be promising a little more than experience dictates he can probably deliver, but if he's willing, driven and genuinely wants to be a successful agent, there's no reason why he couldn't become a successful agent while learning the trade by getting you gigs.

It may not be the deal that you thought it was, but it could still be well worth trying it anyway.

One thing to watch out for though, if he's inexperienced and he's taken on lots of bands or acts, he could soon find himself out of his depth, which could either cause him to screw it up, discover that it's harder work than he thought and give it up, or simply be too far stretched to dedicate enough attention to your band to keep them in regular work.

Punk_Ninja
01-16-2011, 11:01 AM
I guess that's a fair point.

I'll be on the lookout for anything askew about the whole situation.

Also, having a band meeting tonight to discuss the guy further, so I'll see what's what.

Either way, worst comes to worst, he gets us a few gigs and cocks up, we've still had those gigs, and assumably the payment for! (as he told us straight away that we'd never be playing for nothing).

axemanchris
01-17-2011, 02:02 AM
Well, if he is charging a percentage, then if you don't get paid, then he doesn't get paid. So, it's in his best interest to make sure that you get as much as you can.

CT

SlackerBabbath
01-17-2011, 01:05 PM
Well, if he is charging a percentage, then if you don't get paid, then he doesn't get paid. So, it's in his best interest to make sure that you get as much as you can.

CT

To be fair chris, depending on how the percentage is worked out, gross or net, it can often turn out that the agent gets paid while the band are left with nothing after paying their expenses, so the notion that if he makes profit, so will you, is not necessarily true in all cases.

Of course, all this means is that you need to ensure that you either have a 'net deal' with the agent (which very few agents will agree to) or if it's a 'gross deal', you make sure that he's getting gigs that are paying enough money to make both himself and the band money after the expenses have been made.

It sounds OK to be told you'll "never be playing for nothing" but that doesn't actualy mean that you'll be making profit either.

Y'see, this is my main concern here.
This is an example of an agency con that I heard of someone running a few years ago. (a friend of mine, a gigging musician who also happens to be a police officer, actualy uncovered it and, eventualy, managed to close down his operation)

This guy regularly advertised in lots of free places on the internet for young unknown bands to join his agency, he accepted almost everyone, regardless of ability and 'signed them up'. In his contract, he had the provision that any gigs he got you, you were contractualy obliged to either play them or pay him his comission out of your own pocket.
That meant that he could send you to the other end of the country for a gig that only paid £50, from which he would make 20% or £10 and the band would either have to play it but would end up making a loss after travel expenses, or they'd have to send him £10.
Of course, he'd say to his bands "Well you have to expect to make a loss at first" and continue to get them gigs that made him a profit but the bands a loss.

Now you might wonder why he'd do this for just £10 profit, but he was doing this with hundreds of inexperienced young bands. He'd sweet talk them, gain their confidence by telling them things like "You'll never play for free boys" and being the inexperienced young bands with a dream of stardom in their hearts, they'd often sign up without hesitation.

Let's do the maths. Basing it on 100 bands all playing just one gig a week, he stands to make £1000 profit, per week. And by all accounts, his operation was way bigger than just 100 bands playing just once a week.

The point is, anyone can get bands lots of gigs for £50 a time, just not all in the band's immediate area. Working on a national scale, there are literaly thousands of £50 gigs out there available to anyone who wants to play them.

So, this agent had no decent contacts, he had no way of making these young inexperienced bands any profit, which is essentially what an agent is supposed to do, it's why people sign up to agencies, yet as they made a loss, he made lots and lots of profit.

Now, Punk_Ninja, I'm not saying that this particular agent of yours is running a similar scam, just giving you an example of how he could give you exactly what he's promised you and still be making money himself while you make a loss.
Let me put it another way, a proper agent is only as good as his contacts, if he has no real contacts he's practicaly useless to you, so I would suggest trying to get a bit of information out of him, you want places and prices here, where he expects to get you gigs and for how much money he expects those gigs to make.

Punk_Ninja
01-17-2011, 03:13 PM
That's put me back in a position of fear towards this guy! :p:
Though there's no dreams of stardom in this, we're calling a spoon a spoon, this is a bout as a covers band, I'm actually thinking if things take off with this agent of abandoning my hopes of original material and focusing most of my creativity to my solo project. There were no particularly high promises made other than gigs and payment!

But yeah, as I'll be seeing this guy tomorrow (also, according to my bassist he has found a singer for us, so at least the guy is pulling his weight even if it's a mild start!) and I'll be sure to tell the band about the whole net/gross thing and stuff like that.

You guys have really helped. Though I'm stuck in a position of comfort and caution! :p:

axemanchris
01-18-2011, 08:22 AM
In music, you should always be stuck somewhere between comfort and caution!

CT

Punk_Ninja
01-18-2011, 09:35 AM
Very good point, but I guess I meant in terms of mindsets towards the agent.

With things that could potential screw us out of a bit of cash it's always better to be in a comfortable position! :p:

SlackerBabbath
01-19-2011, 08:06 AM
In music, you should always be stuck somewhere between comfort and caution!

CT

You just hit the nail squarely on the head there bud.

Punk_Ninja, so long as you are cautious and check for the kind of stuff that we've warned you about, what can possibly go wrong? What's the worst that can happen?

He screws up and you bugger off, that's about it really.

Punk_Ninja
01-19-2011, 08:12 AM
Yeah, that's what I've been thinking, saw the guy and the band last night, me and the drummer are both rather cynical and keeping at arms length where our bassist seems a bit too trusting, but 2 of 3 is an alright ratio.

Also, the guy has got us a singer he reckons. Though I was a bit annoyed at how he was badly avoiding some questions, like we asked of this singers previous experience (cos we noticed that after we had to sit around as he auditioned loads of people who sang to backing tracks, that his forté, is pretty much pub singers!) and he tried to side-step it til his wife chimed in with an appropriate answer.

So I'm very cautious of it, but either way, it can get us gigs which we need, even if he screws us about we can walk and get our own gigs once we have whatever ones he fetches us under our belt.

SlackerBabbath
01-19-2011, 08:20 AM
Yeah, that's what I've been thinking, saw the guy and the band last night, me and the drummer are both rather cynical and keeping at arms length where our bassist seems a bit too trusting, but 2 of 3 is an alright ratio.

Also, the guy has got us a singer he reckons. Though I was a bit annoyed at how he was badly avoiding some questions, like we asked of this singers previous experience (cos we noticed that after we had to sit around as he auditioned loads of people who sang to backing tracks, that his forté, is pretty much pub singers!) and he tried to side-step it til his wife chimed in with an appropriate answer.

So I'm very cautious of it, but either way, it can get us gigs which we need, even if he screws us about we can walk and get our own gigs once we have whatever ones he fetches us under our belt.

Tell you what, you're in England right? So am I, if you PM me his name and details, I'll see what I can find out about him for you, I've loads of contacts and if he's got any sort of bad rep, I'm pretty sure someone will have heard of him

Punk_Ninja
01-19-2011, 12:52 PM
I'm not the guy that deals with the agent so I don't know his details, though this is the ad he put up which we replied to:
http://www.joinmyband.co.uk/classifieds/im-an-agent-looking-for-singersbandstribute-acts-t173679.html

Not the most professional of ways to reach acts. Though I guess he isn't exactly trying to hire the most professional acts, which I guess is why he's taken such interest in a band who's pretty tight, it must be a nice change from people singing "Valerie" to a backing track :p:

SlackerBabbath
01-20-2011, 08:40 AM
I'm not the guy that deals with the agent so I don't know his details, though this is the ad he put up which we replied to:
http://www.joinmyband.co.uk/classifieds/im-an-agent-looking-for-singersbandstribute-acts-t173679.html

Not the most professional of ways to reach acts. Though I guess he isn't exactly trying to hire the most professional acts, which I guess is why he's taken such interest in a band who's pretty tight, it must be a nice change from people singing "Valerie" to a backing track :p:
OK, I've got a couple of guys checking him out now, one of which swears that he's heard of him before but he can't remember whether it was in a good or bad light, I'll get back to you in a couple of days and let you know what we've found out.

Punk_Ninja
01-21-2011, 03:25 AM
Ah, cool. Well thanks so much for doing this!

Something tells me that just to spite me he'll be a shady guy. :p:
Though I guess is if he and the singer we meet on Tuesday is good he'll have at least found us a singer.

SlackerBabbath
01-21-2011, 09:01 AM
Ah, cool. Well thanks so much for doing this!

Something tells me that just to spite me he'll be a shady guy. :p:
Though I guess is if he and the singer we meet on Tuesday is good he'll have at least found us a singer.
Yeah, there's always that.

Nothing bad about him has come up so far, but then, pretty much nothing at all has come up about him, apart from people generaly saying that the name sounds familiar. I've got one guy contacting an agent that he knows from the same Burton on Trent area to see if he knows anything about him but I haven't heard back from him yet.

It's pretty much looking like he's probably only just starting out as an agent, so he's almost certainly inexperienced, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, the inexperienced often have much more enthusiasm than the experienced. It all depends upon his ability to make good contacts really.

Punk_Ninja
01-21-2011, 03:26 PM
Ah cool. The guy's actually from Stoke if that helps, he's just signing around the Burton area...not sure why.

But either way, thanks for the help! It's much appreciated, not many people would personally look into this stuff for someone on an online forum!

For now I'll take him at arms length in case he does screw us about, though he does seem nice enough, but I guess that'll be put to the test when it comes to getting gigs, I think he's going to have us practice as a band at the place he operates from for a couple of months before sorting gigs out, as we're dealing with a new singer, then he'll be working the gigs.

Though if he does mess us about, this has put the band into a generally more professional mood, the drummer's been starting to put a website together, he's bought a mixing desk (this is partly for his uni course though), my bassist's bought a few mics, we're sorting out our appearance as a band,we're sorting out more songs to do (granted they aren't writing originals which is what would be ideal, but I guess they're seeing this agent as a sweet deal if we get a couple of covers sets down), but yeah. So it's all coming quite nicely, and will continue to if this guy sorts us out well!

SlackerBabbath
01-22-2011, 06:09 AM
Ah cool. The guy's actually from Stoke if that helps, he's just signing around the Burton area...not sure why.
Maybe he has a bad rep in the Stoke area?

But either way, thanks for the help! It's much appreciated, not many people would personally look into this stuff for someone on an online forum!
It's honestly not a problem, all it took is two phone calls, besides, I'm not doing it just for you, if this guy is screwing with bands, then I'm doing it for all his potential victims.

For now I'll take him at arms length in case he does screw us about, though he does seem nice enough, but I guess that'll be put to the test when it comes to getting gigs, I think he's going to have us practice as a band at the place he operates from for a couple of months before sorting gigs out, as we're dealing with a new singer, then he'll be working the gigs.
That's really the best way to treat anyone that you meet in the business, until they prove themselves sufficiently to you.

Though if he does mess us about, this has put the band into a generally more professional mood, the drummer's been starting to put a website together, he's bought a mixing desk (this is partly for his uni course though), my bassist's bought a few mics, we're sorting out our appearance as a band,we're sorting out more songs to do (granted they aren't writing originals which is what would be ideal, but I guess they're seeing this agent as a sweet deal if we get a couple of covers sets down), but yeah. So it's all coming quite nicely, and will continue to if this guy sorts us out well!

Here's hoping that he's a nice guy then. But like you say, he's already brought advantages to your band, even if he isn't.

Punk_Ninja
01-22-2011, 08:16 AM
Yeah, I guess all I can do now is wait and see what's what!
Cheers again for all your help.

SlackerBabbath
01-23-2011, 07:53 AM
OK, my contacts have got back to me now.
So, no bad news to report about him, but like I said before, pretty much nothing at all has come up about him, but it's a little disconcerting to realise that he's an agent with no web site of his own and with, as far as any of us can find, just two adverts on the entire internet, both of which were placed only 1 month ago.

That makes him sound like he's just starting out as an agent.

For an entertainments agent, who let's face it should be all about advertising and promotion, this sounds quite amateur, although, if he's sub-contracting other agencies he probably doesn't really need to advertise much as they will be doing all the hard work on his behalf.
The way it will probably work is that he'll be contacting agencies on your behalf and then adding a small percentage to the subcontracted agent's percentage which will be his fee. Instead of 20%, you'll probably be paying something like 25 or 30% (hardly any agency works for 10% nowadays) He's basicaly a go-between man, what we would normaly call an agency 'broker' rather than an actual agent himself, although localy I should imagine that he'd probably be acting more like an agent by actualy getting you gigs himself.

It sounds a bit like he's cheating, using other agents rather than getting you the gigs himself, but it is a well established way of doing things and the extra fees you will be paying will ensure that you have less work to do. Believe me, it can be a real ball-ache sitting on a phone for days at a time contacting agencies and venues all over the country so that you can fill your diary, and often gets quite expensive in phone bills. Remember, a venue that refuses you a gig has just cost you as much money in phone calls as a venue that accepts you, even though it's a wasted call.
You get what you pay for, and what you're paying for is not having all the hassle of the extra work you'd have without him.

Obviously him using other agents is gonna bump up the amount of money you pay out in agency fees, but then, you can always think of it as a percentage of money that you wouldn't normaly have in the first place without him acting on your behalf... unless of course you were getting your own gigs. I'd say go with it, see where it gets you, but be dilligent and don't be signing any contracts that have exclusivity deals with him, otherwise you'll be paying out extra agency fees for a long time.

Spot of advice, any out of town gigs that he gets you, ask the venue owners which agency they used, that way you can be quietly making up a national list of agencies that have already got you gigs and so will probably have no problem getting you more. Keep this list to yourself, it's your 'safety net' incase it all goes tits up with this guy. That way you won't have lost anything and can pretty much continue playing the same gigs without paying out as much in agency fees, although you'll have more work to do contacting them all when you want to fill your diary.

But don't use it to get gigs behind his back, that would be a bit cheeky and may result in you getting a bad reputation among agents, and as I have mentioned time and time again in these threads, as entertainers, your reputation is your greatest asset, it's what keeps you in work so it is paramount that you look after it. It's one thing to be getting your own gigs in untested territory if you don't have an exclusive deal with an agent, but it's another thing entirely to undercut him in a venue that he's responsible for getting you in while he's still working for you. Play fair to the best of your ability and only use the list if and when you part company with him.

Punk_Ninja
01-23-2011, 08:20 AM
Okay, thanks, that's a lot of help!
I'll definitely keep all of that in mind, and I'll take this back to the band to keep us all in a sensible mindset about the situation.

Seriously been loads of help, thanks!

SlackerBabbath
01-23-2011, 09:47 AM
Anytime bud. :cheers: