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The Biz

Published: 2006/03/05
by Allen Ostroy

Agents and Press Kits

One thing that’s great about writing this column is I get introduced to musicians, agents, managers, and promoters who are all trying to find each other. Since the goal of this column is to help people with questions about the biz maybe I can help the biz itself by putting some of you together. If you are a musician or band shoot me an email with your web site and what you are looking for (agent, manager, promoter for a specific market, or all three). If you are an agent or manager looking to increase your roster shoot me an email with a pitch or resume. If you are a promoter or talent buyer shoot me an email with a resume and which market you are promoting in. If I get enough of each I’ll post them all and maybe it will help get you together. My email is I look forward to hearing from you and if you have a question for me include that.

Looking for an Agent

Hi Allen

This is about my third or fourth email to you, and you’ve been extremely
helpful thus far. This is sort of a follow up on my last email. I asked
you about booking agents, and how to go about pursuing them. I got in
touch with Meatcamp productions, they expressed a lot of interest, and now
I get no response from email or phone calls. So I guess I have to start
looking for others. Anyway, I wanted to ask you specifically where I
should look for booking agents. Do you know any good ones in the
southeast? Do you know where I would look, some database on the internet
or something? I haven’t had much luck with search engines. Reply
whenever you can, thanks.



_I would start by going to some of the websites of similar jambands and
looking there and asking them who represents them. Pollstar has a complete
list of agencies if you want to try them all. Do you know any other bands
from the south? Who represents them? Another way would be to ask any club
owners who you already have a relationship with who they recommend because
they are the ones talking to the agents. I can’t be too specific because I
don’t know you or your music so I’m not sure who to match you with. A lot of
times its who you jive with. The first agency I went with had almost no one
of importance on their roster but the agent who worked my band was a bad ass
and killed for us. Both the agency and the band grew together. It was a
good match. But that doesn’t always work. Did this help more?_

Keep in touch!


Response to 7/13/05 Column About Press Kits

Now I see why so many bands have a hard time getting shows. Egotistical booking agents who think they can tell how good a band is by the envelope or folder they send their press kits in.

Where are these experts from? In small bars and clubs you don’t need the William Morris Agency to get a show. Bar and club owners have one common goal in mind; MONEY – people through door equals money. If you have a large fan bass or can promise a strong turn out you can shit on a piece of paper and call it a press kit and they will still book you. I feel this article may have discouraged a lot of up and coming bands. Now they think they have to spend more time and money on a press kit than actually writing quality music. I have my own personal music tastes, I too hate bands with Groove in the title, but how does that make you cool enough to throw away their press kit. I have received many press kits also. Some have been shitty, some have been decent, very few great. That does not mean the bands sucked and I did not book them. For example one of the strangest press kits comes from Eastern Accordion Ensemble from Allentown PA. Their press kit comes with a vest and very little info on the band and a Led Zeppelin tape. I say Book them!

Well that was email at lunch time.

Thanks for letting me vent.



I think you may have missed the point of the column. First, I think Howie was kidding around about the Groove thing. There was a time there where a lot of bands were putting Groove and Jam in their band name. Second, I absolutely agree with you that people through the door equals money. I also agree with you that the larger the fan base the less you even need a press kit. The column was for the bands who may have played at their local college bar but are trying to play at some places outside their home turf where they won’t draw and no one has heard of them. If the talent buyer hasn’t heard of them and they won’t draw then they need a kit so the buyer can determine whether or not to help develop them in the market. With so many bands vying for such few spots the press kit is the first way to separate the musicians who are serious from the ones who aren’t. The most important piece of the puzzle is the music of course but first impressions and professionalism are important also. The column wasn’t intended to discourage the up-and-comers but to let them know what talent buyers are looking for and that they don’t need to include stickers and t-shirts or write in their bio how they used to crank Phish in their dorm room. I think the people I had answering those questions might agree with you to at least look into Eastern Accordion Ensemble more based on the originality of the press kit you describe. There are no rules or formulas in this business and what one person likes the next might not and visa versa. That’s why if you are in a band you can’t take everything too personal and must stay true to what you believe. How many stories have you heard of labels passing on what have turned out to be some of the top selling artists of all time?

We all agree that there are very few great press kits but isn’t it more likely that the ones that haven’t spent any time on their press kit might not have spent enough time in rehearsal? They simply might not be ready to play out yet. Maybe they should start with some parties. If a band doesn’t put any time into their kit then how can a talent buyer expect them to put any time into their music or promotion? I have bands tell me they are serious and then give me a bio with misspellings and music with horrible sound quality. Unfortunately being a band doesn’t just mean playing music. There are tons of things musicians have to do other than play music, from interviews to photo shoots but of course the most important is to be the absolute best musician they can. If a band took away from that column that they need to spend more time on their press kit than writing and rehearsing then they’ve missed the boat entirely.

Thank you very much for your feedback.

Keep in touch.


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