Telekom Electronic Beats

Resolutions 2020: How To Boost Your Bookings As An Independent Artist

You don't need an agent to get ahead

Words by Caroline Whiteley
Published on January 8, 2020 13:53 Berlin Time

At the dawn of a new decade–not even just a new year–, the team at EB understands the pressures of building the brand new 2020 you. Drinking more water, hitting the gym, and eating healthier are all part of these cookie-cutter personal goals, but we’ve tailored our January Resolutions series for those entrenched in the electronic music world, who hope to grow fresh skills, hone existing ones through residency programs, secure more coin, activate their communities through party promotion, or simply find their own singular production sound. In this first edition, we look back a bit as we look forward: dive into what you can do to increase your bookings as an independent artist.

In November 2019, UK acid house veteran Posthuman posted a step-by-step Twitter thread, outlining the steps artists can take to get DJ bookings without an agent, a move that can seem particularly daunting for artists in the early stages of their careers.

Most artists would have already been aware of the power of engaging in one’s community, keeping close relationships with other DJs and promoters and showing support, keeping tabs on the types of venues that play host to their style of sound. But the thread even delves into logistical aspects and includes action steps like reaching out to promoters directly (for which he includes a messaging template), having an invoice ready and insisting on a photo of the room you’ll stay in if you’re crashing at the promoter’s home.

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Having just relocated from London to Glasgow and finding himself in the same situation as a lot of other producers and DJs – with his income mostly deriving from gigs – Posthuman’s Josh Doherty felt inclined to share his experience. He also knows what it’s like to be on the other side. Running his club night “I Love Acid” since 2007 with editions across the UK and Europe, his bookings pair acid legends with emerging talents and has hosted the likes of Luke Vibert, Nightwave, Object Blue and DJ Pierre.

I see so many people that think they need to get on an agency and that’s just how it works. But as a promoter, I book a lot of people that don’t have agents and it’s often easier.

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Doherty says he wanted to share his experience in order to break from the gatekeeping mentality of treating information like a currency, as well as keeping a written manifesto for working DJs and promoters like himself.  “It was cathartic to write it all down because (as a DJ and promoter), I often forget to do half the things that I’m meant to be doing.” He adds that a lot of the steps included in the guide aren’t just meant as tips for artists looking to increase their bookings, but also a reminder to artists of what to expect as a service from an agent, if they are working with one. After all, “if you’re booking an artist and you’re paying a fee to an agent to do something, and they’re doing the absolute bare minimum and you’re still doing all of the booking the hotel, and booking the flights, coordinating set times, and then they’re not even contributing, you think what is it that exactly you’re paying them for?”

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Find Posthuman on Twitter, Soundcloud and Discogs.

Additional graphic design by Ekaterina Kachavina.