Friday, April 2, 2010

When Your Client Isn’t the Bride-Part 1

I am dedicating these next few blog postings to musicians with tips for when your client isn't the bride. This will be a weekly series, so stay tuned......


“My sole inspiration is a telephone call from a producer.”—Cole Porter
Good booking agents have a handle on their musicians’ talents, so that they can make decisions about who to hire at a moment’s notice. There are some booking agents who receive a commission from you to find you work.

Waiting for the phone to ring from a booking agent who hires talent for weddings may be a long wait. They work for the bride, not for you.

The booking agent is hired and paid by the bride. They’ll phone, fax, or email you with a job order, simply asking you if you are available. Then they’ll supply you with the time, date, location, and all the particulars in order for you to respond quickly with your price and availability. “Quickly” is the operative word here. A bride will hire a booking agent for the following reasons:
1. She hasn’t the time or energy to search for live entertainers on her own.
2. She has a lot of money to spare and is happy to pay someone to take care of hiring entertainment for her wedding.
3. She has looked for entertainers on her own, but has exhausted all the possibilities she knows of.
4. She needs to hire a musician fast!

Whatever the reason may be, the booking agent will need a response from you pronto.

The longer it takes for them to get back to the bride with your quote, the greater the chance that they will phone someone else and assume you are not interested. You stand a better chance of landing the the gig if you give them a small discount, because the bride is more likely to book you with a smaller mark-up. Also, a booking agent may be more likely to recommend your services if they know you’ll give them a discount.

If a booking agent contacts you about a wedding gig and you have never worked with them before, do some research. Phone other musicians in your area and see if they have had any experience working with the agent. You’ll want to find out if they were sent good wedding jobs and if they were paid in a timely manner.

When a booking agent hires you to play for a wedding, ask them to sign your contract, just as you would with all other clients. They may have their own contract for you to sign, as well.

The booking agent will tell you what to play, when to play it, and how to dress. They’ll give you directions to the wedding location and describe exactly where you’ll set up. They’ll even let you know if you will be served a meal at the wedding or not. They are your sole contact for the wedding. You will not be working with the bride.

This can be wonderful if the booking agent is truly on top of all the details and communicates them to you. It is not so wonderful when the agent drops the ball and leaves out some important pieces of information that you’ll need to know to do your job properly. After being booked for just one wedding job through a booking agent, you’ll know if you’ll ever want to work with them again.

If you decide to build a good, solid relationship with them, they will continue to think of you when a bride is seeking just your kind of talent. Get in touch with the booking agent right after the wedding job, thank them, and report to them how things went.

There is one thing you must never do when a booking agent sends you on a wedding gig: Never give out your business cards or brochures to a wedding guest when you are hired by a booking agent to perform. Instead, give the guests your booking agent’s card. This is the best way to say “Thank you!” to the booking agent who sent you out on that job.

Copyright © 2008 by Anne Roos, excerpt from "The Musician's Guide to Brides: How to Make Money Playing Weddings", published by Hal Leonard Books. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced in any form, without written permission, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review.

Hundreds of additional tips, are available for musicians (and all entrepreneurs) in my book, "The Musician's Guide to Brides" available wherever Hal Leonard Books are sold: music and bookstores, and through online retailers including,, Sylvia Woods Harp Center catalog, and of course, at my website at

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