How Artist Management and Booking works? Part1
The artist’s team
A relatively well-established artist traditionally has four different entities working in the artist team: a
manager, a record label, a publicist and an agent. Each handles a separate aspect of the artist’s
business. However, with the advance of technology and changes in how people operate globally,
including the music sector, there has been a major shift towards roles and functions overlapping, with
some businesses offering 360-degree services.
A record label signs on artists to release their music and promote and distribute their records, both
physically and digitally. A ‘major’ record label refers to a larger international company, usually one that
owns several smaller record labels, such as Warner or Universal. An ‘indie’ or ‘minor’ label refers to a
smaller, independent business that often specializes in a specific music genre or niche.
An agent is an integral part of an established artist’s team, and is responsible for everything related to
the artist’s touring, from single shows to long international tours, support acts, etc. Agents work with
their network of promoters and venues in order to secure the best opportunities and terms for the artist.
They offer full touring administration and handle all details related to a live show on behalf of the artist,
such as touring calendars, logistics, contracts and invoices.
A publicist is the artist’s public relations (PR) and branding expert. They have a keen knowledge of the
media outlets and key personalities in their territory, and help guide an artist to get the best and most
suitable exposure possible. They pitch and negotiate TV performances, send news and press releases
about the artist to their mailing lists, handle interview requests and ensure the artist is visible and
present at important events where media is present. If a promoter wants to get a quote or a video shout-
out from the artist, this will often have to go through a publicist.
The manager has the closest relationship with the artist. The array of tasks a manager handles can
vary, but, in general, is responsible for the overall development of the artist’s career. They are
responsible for negotiating the terms of all agreements with the rest of the team, as well as the
communication between all entities. On behalf of the artist, they work closely with the record company
regarding the artist’s recorded music, with the agent for touring, and with the publicist for promoting the
The challenge of being a booker
The booker is the most sought-after position of a festival or concert organisation. You get a chance to
show your insight to who the next big talent is, develop the festival’s or venue’s profile, and negotiate
the best deals with agents
However, as well as being a craft, the position also carries an administrative and financial responsibility.
Because bookers are often dependent on an artist/agent in order to develop their programme and
profile in the direction they want, they sometimes agree to terms that are not affordable or impede the
venue or festival in other ways. In these cases, it is important to remember that a venue/festival and an
artist/agent are always mutually reliant upon each other. Without the venue/festival, there will be no
show and vice versa: without the artist, there will be no show. Most artists rely on income from touring,
as record sales alone are not enough to sustain an artist’s career. Less established artists also rely on
the exposure and experience they get from playing shows, in order to build their fan base, potentially
attract new entities to their team, and develop artistically.
So, the booker has a central, but complex role in a concert organisation. They must work closely with
the person in charge of finances, the technical staff and the marketing team. Everyone needs to
communicate with each other to make the organisation functional
So there you have it a brief Intel on how the world of music functions.
Lookout for Part 2 of How management & booking work.