The DIY Advisor: How to Improve Your Music Business in One Easy Step

by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan

File Under: Making Money With Music, Networking and Building Your Team


When you book your live shows, license your music, and accept interview requests from the press, you have a choice: do it yourself or have someone else handle it. Typically, once an artist achieves some success, people are hired to fill these roles. In fact, many people expect to deal with a booker for a live show, an artist rep for dealing with your whales during a crowdfunding campaign, a publisher for licensing music, a publicist to arrange an interview, or a promoter to try to get your music heard at a radio station.

But when starting out, this usually is up to you. But does it really have to be this way? There's a good reason to use agents beyond just saving yourself some time: in each of these cases, you'll have better success when you have someone representing you in your music business, rather than doing it yourself. Here's why:

1. Negotiations

An agent can be a tough negotiator but a rough negotiation doesn't reflect on the artist, just the artist's organization. And an agent is supposed to try and get as much as she can. Also a customer is more inclined to pay more because they realize that there's an organization behind the artist.

2. Promotions

Whether you're trying to get your music heard, talking to a journalist about potentially doing an interview, or trying to get booked, an agent can shamelessly promote you and your music without sounding conceited or fake. Because they’re one step away from the art, they are freer to brag and talk up you and your music like a fan.

3. Stature

Once an artist has success, they are expected to have an agent representing them. Having one immediately raises your prestige. It gives the impression there’s a full organization behind you.

To achieve these benefits, it really doesn't matter who you get to represent you in each of these areas. If you’re starting out, see if you can get a friend, a family member, or a fellow musician to do it for free or a small cut.

This works especially well online. Your website, web presences, and your postings to social media should have different contacts named for booking, publishing, handling publicity, and all of the other roles. Even if all the emails wind up going to the same email address in the end, they give the impression there’s an organization behind you -- it’s not just yourself. This is especially easy when you own your own web domain, and can create forwarding addresses.

We have previously talked about the importance of having a team and making it easy for people to contact you. Your agents are some of the first roles that you need to fill in order to add legitimacy to your business contacts. And then, once you grow your business further, you can hire people for each of these roles. But using the agent strategy from the outset should get you to that point much faster.

Challenge: Find a friend, family member, or acquaintance to represent you in just one area of your music business.


#makingmoneywithmusic #yourteam #agentstrategy #challenge

Photo Credit: Adapted photo from Eric Fischer

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