What do Booking Agents Look For?
Sharron Elkabas is the Managing Director of MN2S, an international talent and music agency with offices in London and Miami. Largely unimpressed by the service he received from the booking agencies he dealt with prior to founding MN2S, Sharron and the team used the connections they made working with local and international DJs to set up their own booking agency in 1997. Sharron works closely with his team of booking agents, evaluating offers, negotiating fees, discussing requests with artists and managers and ensuring that performances and campaigns are flawlessly executed. Sharron has worked with huge artists across a wide variety of genres including Flo Rida, Akon, the Brand New Heavies and many others.
MC: When you started your company you did so in part because you felt other agencies were lacking. What did you feel was missing?
SE: Working as a promoter from the mid to late 90s, I was facing some challenges from the agencies of the time. Some of the agents I would deal with would be abrupt, and sometimes simply unresponsive. Booking an act can be a bit of a process at times and you need everyone to be on the same page to make deadlines. Slow, unresponsive agents make that process so much harder and an agency should not be run that way. The music business was evolving, and I was ready to evolve with it. So, we formed this company to improve upon the established ways of doing business.
MC: What do you feel are the qualities that make a good agent?
SE: This is a people’s business. Agents should treat people well first and foremost. Both the customers who are booking the talent and the talent themselves are people. This business does not work without them. Agents should treat each interaction as more than a sale, because it always is. Our job is helping people — helping the talent get booked and helping the booker get the talent. Agents should want to help.
MC: What do you look for in a client (as people)?
We look at clients as being both the talent and the buyers. Both sides are our clients, and we look for similar qualities in both of them. The biggest is reliability. The client must be reliable in their communication. They should show up and be where they need to be, when they need to be there. They must have a high level of professionalism and be trustworthy. This allows us to be efficient in getting them what they want and need.
MC: What are the KPIs (key performance indications / Metrics) you look for when evaluating a client other than existing tour history?
SE: One of the things we look at outside of an artists touring history is their online presence, in particular, their socials. Also, their fee range has to be viable. We want them to be a good fit for us, and we want to help them raise their profile and fees. Again, we also want them to be reliable as an artist and have a good reputation in the industry.
MC: Do you ever take on clients purely because of their talent (vs. what they already have going on?)
SE: Yes. Sometimes when raw talent is just undeniable you can take a risk on them. Sometimes that exceptional talent isn’t enough, though. They may not be the right fit, or we just need a bit more heat on them, which is the job of managers, publicists, and record labels, not the agent. That heat is something the agents can then build upon.
MC: People often discuss the changes in the recorded music business and publishing businesses- what has changed on the live front in the last 5-10 years?
SE: One thing that keeps the scene so exciting is how it is constantly evolving. Genres are continuously changing and coming and going. Something will pop up and just as quickly disappear. Also, dealing with a global market, sometimes a genre will be popular in one place and not in another. For example, a genre may disappear in one territory but still be very prevalent in another. We always need to keep abreast of music trends globally, and work strategically to what’s popular in that territory at a particular time.
MC: Any parting words of advice?
SE: For anyone looking into getting in the music industry, I think persistence is everything: being resilient, having thick skin and not getting deflated when you face rejection or setbacks. The music business is endurance. It’s hurdles. If you can just keep going and not be fazed by the down points or setbacks that can happen day to day in this business, you will succeed.
For more information on Sharron and MN2S you can visit their website here: https://mn2s.com/booking-agency/