What a Traditional Booking Agent Will (And Won’t) Do for Your Band

Imagine this: you’re an inventor, and you have built a new kind of multi-tool for home construction that nobody has seen before. You’re certain this tool is fantastic, your family raves about it, and now you want to sell it to the mass market. Do you march up to Home Depot and tell them how awesome your tool is? Maybe, but there’s a 99.9 percent chance they will tell you to go home. A massive company like Home Depot won’t waste their time and money stocking a product nobody knows about –– even if it is the best invention since the light bulb. In other words, if there’s no market demand for it, there’s no way Home Depot can make money from it. It’s the same with big booking agencies. Large, traditional booking agent’s don’t bother with unproven bands because they can’t make money working with them.

What do music booking agents do?

Traditional booking agencies make exclusive deals with nationally-touring artists who are signed to a record label. They typically only book artists who draw, at minimum, 75 fans per show, per city. They don’t book bands based on talent: to them, it doesn’t matter that you can riff at a hundred miles an hour, or hit the high note, or win every rap battle you enter. What they care about is how many fans you typically draw to a show regardless of promotion.

Note that a typical booking agent isn’t there to build your fan base, either. Their role is to serve as the go-between for artists and venues. A booking agent for Lady Gaga doesn’t have anything to do with her promotion strategy, or nurturing her artistic goals. They simply work to match her to appropriate performance venues, and leave it to others to promote.

How can unsigned acts book shows?

Small or unsigned artists experience a bit of a Catch-22. In order to book shows with the big agencies, they need a fan base –– but in order to build a fan base, they need to book more shows. These music groups need a no-nonsense booking service that sees emerging artists as more than just a number on a roster.

When you join the Afton community, it doesn’t matter how unknown or unsigned you are. We serve as your event organizer, promoter, and booking agent, all in one. We can provide the boost you need to cross the bridge from obscurity into publicity. Because we’re musicians, too, we relate to artists of all levels with a level of awareness you won’t find at traditional booking agencies.

Since 2004, Afton has booked over 60,000 local acts in more than 10,500 Afton concerts, 40 cities, and 200 music venues. Afton is now the largest Booking Agent and Promoter of unsigned, independent local bands and rappers in the United States. Start booking with AFTON now to grow your fan base and get the support you need in your music career.

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Amelia Kintz
Co-Owner at Afton Shows
Amelia (Amy) joined Afton in 2006 and is Co-Owner of Afton Shows and Afton Tickets. She is passionate about helping local artists reach their personal goals and perform onstage. Amy loves going to concerts, traveling, snowboarding, being vegan, spending time with her daughters Ziah & Esmé and dogs Minus and Maida.