Mark Robinson, vice-president of Warner Music says that the reason for this is because “On average, it costs $893,430.00 to book, promote, and launch a new band.” That number is then multiplied by more than four times in order to keep a band active through each following year. The reason that many artists can’t accomplish this is because it takes significant time and investment of money that these artists don’t have. The largest issue that new artists face is the severe lack of income from playing so few shows.
We have led lives on the road while making so little money that we almost couldn’t afford the gas to each following show on tour. Music is our passion. We want the number of artists creating music each year to progress to its fullest extent. The knowledge that most artists (99.997%) will fail before many people even get the chance to hear them is a statistic that we are not comfortable letting happen again and again. We at Skylight Booking have set out to bring the resources for expanding an artist’s network and opportunities to every artist who cares enough to not be another statistic. Every day, Skylight Booking exhausts our experience of working with venues and talent buyers all over the United States to bring the light of their attention to new artists. We have one goal at Skylight, to shine a light on your music.
The biggest difference between Skylight Booking and other agencies is that we don’t take a commission on each performance by the artist. We do this for a number of reasons. The first reason being that by receiving payment through a recurring monthly payment, it means that we can accept smaller artists on our roster and put in the same amount of work for them as we do for our larger artists. By neutralizing the “priority” of artists that bring the agency a bigger cut of their pay, we have put every artist on a level playing field. This ensures that our original vision is protected, and with that, we ensure that attention grows for every artist on our roster, no matter their credential, their popularity, or the size of their fan base. What this also accomplishes for the artist is that it no longer matters how many shows they play, they don’t pay more for more performances. Let’s average the two extreme ends of the industry-standard commissions paid to booking agents, and meet in the middle at 16%. If an artist gets paid $1,000.00 for every performance, and their agent gave them the choice of playing three shows or five shows on any given month, then the artist would need to decide if they wanted to pay the agent $480.00 or $800.00 for the same month of work. If this same artist utilized Skylight Booking’s unique fundamentals to secure the same three shows or five, then their choice now turns into deciding between paying their agent $199.99 for three shows or $199.99 for five. Skylight Booking has saved artists more money, while providing the same results, than any other agency in the world.
Take a look at exactly what sets us apart from other booking agencies below and see why Skylight Booking has the fastest growing success rate of any booking agency to date.
|Estimated Time Before Receiving Show Offers||Typically 12–15 months||Typically 2-3 months|
|Success Rate||Roughly 2%–5% on average, varying||Roughly 4.4% on average, varying|
|Number of Venue and Talent Buyer Contacts||1,000–22,000, depending on the agency||Over 48,000|
|Venues Contacted Each Month||Roughly 1 per working day, or 20 per month||Basic Element: 100 per month|
Premium Blend: 200 per month
|Tour Routing Offered||Yes, at an additional $16,700.00 per month||Basic Element: No|
Premium Blend: Yes, at no additional cost
|Cost Adjusted as More Performances Are Secured for the Artist||Yes. The more shows that you play, the more money you pay.||No. It doesn’t matter if we book 5 shows each month for you or 20, pricing is not inflated.|
|Minor Agency Price||$4,167.00 per month, before commissions||Basic Element: $499.99 per month|
Premium Blend: $749.99 per month
|Major Agency Price||Base pay of $20,000.00 per month, before commissions||Basic Element: $499.99 per month|
Premium Blend: $749.99 per month
|Commissions||10%–22% of your gross show payout (before your own expenses) paid to each agent||No commissions taken|
|Per-Agent Commissions||10%–22% of your gross show payout (before your own expenses) paid to each Agent Assistant*||No commissions taken, regardless of the number of agents that work to get you booked.|
|Commission Requirements||Must meet a minimum of $12,000.00 per month in commissions paid to each agent, or else be dropped by the agency. Including legal recourse if signed to a contract.||No requirements. No commissions paid.|
|Contracts||Minimum of 1-year contract; up to 6-year contract whether services are provided or not||No Contracts|
|Works with un-Managed Artists||No, you must have an officially licensed Manager||Yes|
|Works with Artists without an Artist Legal Team||No, you must have an official Agency Lawyer on retainer||Yes|
|Accepts Small Artists||No||Yes|
For most registered agencies the answer is simply ‘yes,’ and they won’t even consider booking for an artist without one. But Skylight Booking has been successfully booking unknown artists and helping them build their fan base for years, many of which never had a manager, and many of which still don’t. However, not all agencies pursue these efforts equally. When asked about what it takes for an artist to sign to the agency that employs him, Jack Cox of X-ray Touring says, “I would advise that unsigned acts/artists approach agencies through their lawyer or after you have a manager in place. Do not bother doing so before.” Adam Gainsborough of This Is Now Agency, holds a very similar mindset, saying, “Bands should really get in touch with agents when they’ve reached a level that they can no longer manage themselves. Bands obviously can be picked up quite quickly by agents and management due to the potential that’s seen in them, but more often than not, a band really needs to do a lot of leg work in raising their profile as much as they can until they need to increase the number of the team that they work with.”
Of course, there is merit to the belief that artists need to already be a household name before wanting to work with them. But we at Skylight disagree, because we at Skylight exist to empower the little guy, not exploit the big guy for our own subsidy. If you make your money off of accepting only 10% of whatever your artist makes, then of course you would not work for an artist that wasn’t already making at least $400,000.00 every year. However, since Skylight Booking does not rely on commissions, we don’t have to be so closed off to new artists. We can still make a living that keeps our agency operational while working with artists who don’t necessarily make much money themselves. Best yet, we don’t come scratching for our cut of the small amount of money that artists do make while on the road. Because of how our agency is structured, we can let artists keep 100% of their payout for performances and still survive ourselves. You don’t build an agency comprised entirely of formerly touring artists without holding a special place in your heart for the hard-working artists reminiscent of your own lives. We see ourselves a few years ago in every single one of our artists today. We’ve been there. And now we can help them live as touring artists without sacrificing their livelihood. Every hour of the year for us is spent creating something for our artists that we wish had existed for ourselves.
When asked how to find new artists to work with and book for, most agents met a consensus. Becky Sugden said, “Honestly, I mainly find my bands through tips within the industry or through my bands’ recommendations. [Not through the bands themselves.]” Jack Cox agreed, “If I receive an email out of the blue from an unsigned and unmanaged act, I can’t treat it as a priority, as I need to concentrate on the artists I represent. [It’s important for an artist to know that if you do not have a manager, do not reach out to us yourself.]” Skylight Booking doesn’t ignore new contacts that reach out to us. Nor do we put them on the back burner. We may not always be in a position to respond to an inquiry the very same day, but we always respond to artists who reach out to us. Always. Our passion is art. And we can’t be passionate about art without being passionate about the artists themselves.