Posted: Apr 12, 2021
Category: Live Performance
**Guest post from Justin Paul, music/career coach, A&R, DJ, and producer.
They book or purchase music talent for a specific club, concert venue, event series, or festival. More senior talent buyers book talent for a group of venues—for example, AEG or Live Nation-owned venues in a big city or geographic region.
They connect with agents, artists, and managers and make the best, most sound business decisions possible for that venue's audience and demographic. That could be a band, DJ, rap, or solo artist.
Current trends in the talent buying industry:
First and foremost, talent buyers look at how many tickets they believe (based on data) an artist can sell. The more tickets an artist can sell, the higher the performance fee they can command.
Sometimes talent buyers are tastemakers, and they take a chance on an up and coming artist/band that may not have much data available. Typically, those are opening acts or the middle of the lineup. Up and coming artists may even play for free or a smaller amount and are often more suited for club events.
It’s all about ticket sales: Pollstar reports, number of music streams on Spotify, Apple, Amazon, YouTube, and SoundCloud. Plus local, national, and international press coverage, social media engagement and authentic followers, and from their own experience seeing/hearing the artist live.
It is important to keep in mind that talent buyers keep an eye out for fake followers and streams that some artists may pay to boost their numbers. An accomplished talent buyer will see straight through a phony following.
Being one's own promoter is the best way to get booked for shows. Hosting private events and advertising them on social media sells a lot of tickets. Talent buyers on the local and regional level look for self-promotion. Once an artist has a significant following, talent buyers look to see if an artist will sell out nationally. And of course, the charisma of the artist and the show they produce are often put into consideration.
Being a talent buyer has allowed me to grow in a new level of professionalism. At the beginning of an artist's career, most musicians are their own managers and agents. Recognizing the level of professionalism an artist has is incredibly important in selling oneself.
It helped me to understand ticket sales data, specifically from Pollstar. I reverse-engineered the knowledge I gained as a talent buyer to then enhance my bookings as an artist and I pursued my contacts of other talent buyers as well. I started to look at music through a different lens.
Get out there and play as much as possible and touch lives. Get people excited about what you're doing because the most authentic form of marketing is word of mouth. Once an artist plays a lot, they become better at music and build a community. Out of that community, connections could help the artist get in touch with venues, lighting designers, and other creatives."
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