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Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?

GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 05 May 09 - 05:15 AM
pavane 05 May 09 - 05:36 AM
Leadfingers 05 May 09 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 05 May 09 - 08:03 AM
Hamish 05 May 09 - 08:25 AM
Midchuck 05 May 09 - 09:27 AM
Leadfingers 05 May 09 - 10:08 AM
greg stephens 05 May 09 - 11:18 AM
pavane 05 May 09 - 11:22 AM
pavane 05 May 09 - 11:26 AM
Will Fly 05 May 09 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 06 May 09 - 07:07 AM
The Sandman 06 May 09 - 07:12 AM
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Subject: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 05 May 09 - 05:15 AM

I've been doing gigs for a good while and I've always pretty much sorted them out myself with no middle-man. I've been in a couple of bands that have got gigs through agents as well as getting them direct.

My music partner and I have recently been approached by someone who claims to be able to get us pub gigs but wants a commission amounting to 20% of our gross earnings. To me that's excessive. What does everyone else think?

I'd be interested in hearing about good as well as bad experiences with agents.

Thanks, everyone.


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: pavane
Date: 05 May 09 - 05:36 AM

The agents Mrs Pavane uses normally take 15% or the gross, though for the VAT-registered ones we have to add the VAT to that, making it about 16.5%

20% does seem a bit high, but not excessively so if he is a real agent, not just a chancer. (Ask how many acts he represents, for example). Agents are usually well known in their areas - is he in yellow pages?

In our experience, the agents can usually get a better rate from the client, so the losing of a %age isn't so bad. The reasons for the markup include a number of services they offer, for example, if the performer reports sick, they can often find a replacement. The agent will try and match the type of music you perform to the venue, which can be important.

You will have to decide for yourself whether it is worthwhile. If he gets you extra gigs, and you get no less net, then surely it is. If he doesn't get you gigs, then you haven't lost anything.

Note that Clubs will usually ONLY work through an agent.
Hope this helps.

PS you will have to declare this income for tax.


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 May 09 - 05:42 AM

If you are getting a DEFINATE percentage reduction , that has to be a good thing , though as Pavane says , check that the agent is Legit !
One thing to watch is that a LOT of Agents are NOT acting as agents per se , but are simply Sub Contracting your work ! We have had a number of occasions where (Usually due to the Stupidity of the agent) we have been aware that our fee , perfectly acceptable to us , was in fact only about HALF what the agent got paid !
On those occasions , a 20% commission would have been VERY acceptable .


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 05 May 09 - 08:03 AM

Interesting.

Do your agents only expect a commission for gigs they themselves have sourced for you or do they expect a cut of all your live earnings as a retainer?

Cheers,
Chris


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: Hamish
Date: 05 May 09 - 08:25 AM

Depends on how much and how many. 10% of £100 every other month means it's not worth an agent's while to even set up a web page for you, never mind lift the phone.

15% of £250 twice a week, on the other hand, adds up to over three and a half grand. If he's doing that for ten or more bands, then he's at least got a living. He's still not rich, mind you, having to pay expenses out of that.

As has been said, if it's a service you find worthwhile, then it's worth paying for.


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: Midchuck
Date: 05 May 09 - 09:27 AM

I'm not sure "fair" and "agent" belong in the same discussion.

P.


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 May 09 - 10:08 AM

We have worked for agents that wouldt have been worth 1% , for all that they did to get us ood Gigs - Others do a HELL of a lot , but we DONT have Just One , we work for a number of different agencies .


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 May 09 - 11:18 AM

WEll, there are good agents, who are worth a lot, and others who aren't. A good person, one worth their weight in gold, can find you a gig where and when you want it. Eg you want two dates to fill in a tour in September. Between one date in Edinburgh and one in Penzance three days later. A good agent will get you a gig in Manchester, then a gig in Bristol. An average agent will get you a gig in Bristol, then a gig in Manchester.A bad agent won't get you anything(or it might be you are an unsaleable band!).
Basically, any agent can ring you up once a year and say"I've got you a Southern Comfort pub promotion gig in Scunthorpe in November". Worth knowing, perhaps, but not as much use as an agent who can get you a nice gig with a listening audience in Scunthorpe when it suits you to be there!
Personally, I would say good gigs are worth 20% of anyone's money. You just have to decide what it's worth to you.


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: pavane
Date: 05 May 09 - 11:22 AM

We have always been happy with the agents we have used. The agent only takes a fee on gigs he gets you, and you are not committed to just using one.

His work includes researching venues in his area. In 9 years, Mrs P has only once been sent to a totally unsuitable venue (i.e. the wrong type of music). She has also taken bookings directly from venues, but usually for a lower fee.


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: pavane
Date: 05 May 09 - 11:26 AM

Note also that if you are good, word gets around between the agencies - yes, they do talk to each other - and you may have them chasing you for venues you wouldn't have known about otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 May 09 - 11:32 AM

When I was doing the rock'n roll circuit, some years ago - 3-4 nights a week - we paid our agent a steady 15%. However, on really well paid gigs - I'm talking around £600 for 3 musicians in the 1980s - he took 20%, and we still thought of ourselves as well paid. So - a good agent, who gets you gigs of the right sort, at the right time, in the right place, at the right price, is worth a 20% cut.


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 06 May 09 - 07:07 AM

Thanks everyone. All good stuff. Keep 'em coming!


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Subject: RE: Agents and Commissions - What's Fair?
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 May 09 - 07:12 AM

I do all my own bookings.
on the few occasions I have used an agent,or an agent has contacted me,15 per cent was the norm,but if the agent can get you lots of work he/she is worth twenty per cent.Dick Miles
http://www.dickmiles.com


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