DJ AGENCY, DJ AGENCIES, DJ & ARTIST BOOKINGS
At Sparkle Artist & DJ Agency we strive to make the whole process of enquiring about and booking a DJ or artist as simple, reliable, and ethical as possible, a hassle free experience that works for all parties. If you are a new artist or a new booker, it's not always easy to find your way round the industry, and work out who does what - so we hope the following general guide is a useful introduction.
What is an Artist Agency / DJ Agency?
DJ Agency, Artist Agency, Performance Agency, Cabaret Agency, Entertainment Agency, Dancer Agency - yes there are almost as many names for booking agencies in the entertainment world as there are types of DJs or performers - and it can all get very confusing for artists and bookers alike if they are new to the industry!
Agencies / Agents work for for live acts, DJs, and performers, and associated services clients to advertise and present their clients talents, experience and services in a professional and user friendly format, and to provide a channel from which venue, club, corporate and private function customers can find them, book them, and to provide a sound commercial framework to schedule and transact bookings.
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Why Use a DJ Agency / Artist Agency?
Your event is special, and has required hours of planning and significant investment - like all the other arragements involved when you book a DJ, live act or cabaret performer you will be looking for value for money, reliable arrangements, the peace of mind that a written contract brings and the assurance that one of your key event elements is in the hands of a reputable and ethical provider with many years experience.
Many bookers are tempted to try and book artists directly, in the mistaken belief that this is cheaper. This is a false economy with Sparkle as we as don't charge an agency booking fee (nor VAT) on the vast majority of artist bookings. Although they may be excellent performers, artists not all are as talented at making, recording, remembering and keeping to travel and booking arrangements as they are at their chosen art. They may have several late night bookings one after the other in different countries and time zones with tiring flights in between - and it's all to easy to forget to note down a change of set time or new booking enquiry made by phone just as you are in the baggage hall. That's why they use agents and managers to help them.
The same goes for bookers - we are here to help and advise bookers, we understand the things that need to be done and when, we know the things that can go wrong and how to avoid them where it's in our control, and how to react and overcome them when the problem is outside of everyones control (usually plane delays!)
Agents also act as a facilitator for payment transactions, travel arrangements, visas, accommodation, technical requirements, promotional material, communication and special requests - and all the other logistics required to ensure that when you book a DJ or artist they arrive at your event on time, deliver an exceptional performance, and then get to their next show smoothly. Agents are good negotiators and can often broker a mutually acceptable compromise between the bookers budget and the artists fee, resulting in a successful arrangement for all, where this may not have been possible before.
DJs and performers starting off on their careers won't usually have booking agents - if you are looking for professional established DJs and artists a good test is to check the artists contact details on the website, directory or promotional material - if they are the artists personal contact details, or they offer a facebook email address, you may want to consider whether they are the right level of artist for your event.
If you are on a very small budget there are also lots of DJ and artist registers and directories out there that purport to be booking agencies but these are really just contact lists where anyone can submit their details for publication in return for a subscription fee. Yes, you may get a DJ or artist at bargain price, but there is a significant risk attached - if you are spending thousands on your event, we would suggest that it is best sure the entertainment is the hands of professional artists and the arrangments are made through professional agents.
We are all used to the conveniences of text, IM, Twitter and Facebook etc but you should never use these for important communications such as confirm your booking arrangements. Instant messages and texts are are easily erased or overwritten, and may not be as secure as you think. They are are also not recognised as legally binding forms of business communications. Always make and confirm any arrangements by email or in writing, preferably requesting as formal contract.
International bookings should always be done through a reputable agent. We are pleased to mention that Sparke Agency has a 14 year 100% unbroken artist appearance record worldwide - this is extremely rare in the industry , we're pretty sure it's unique in the UK, and possibly the world! This is due to our careful selection of extremely professional and dedicated artists, and partner businessess, and our 30+ years experience in DJ, promotion, artist management, and artist and DJ booking.
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How to Enquire or Book a DJ / Artist
It couldn't be simpler to book a DJ or Artist through Sparkle Agency - our website lets you browse our roster easily by genre, and each artist profile has a link to our booking enquiry form. Simply fill in the requested details and we'll get back to you with availability of the artist and a firm fee quote - in most cases we don't charge an agency booking fee (or currently at least VAT) saving you up to 35% on some other agencies quotations
You can also contact us by email on bookings@ sparkleagency.com but we recommend using the webform to get the quickest response.
We can usually hold a date for 7-10 days (except short notice bookings), you will need to let us know whether you wish to proceed or not. If you wish to proceed and we will send you a straight-forward easy to understand booking contract by email detailing both parties committment for you to confirm.
Full details of our standard tems and conditions can be found HERE
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Types of Artist / DJ Agencies & Management
This section is mainly to help artists and performers, but bookers may find it helpful too. There is sometimes confusion over how agencies operate and what they do for artists, and bookers. This is mainly because the terms Booking Agency, Agent, or Artist Management, and sometimes Manager, are often used interchangeably to describe the overall industry service, when in fact the type and level of service provided are in many cases different. Depending on the profile of the artist, the roles often overlap, are combined or you may have several agencies performing the same in competition. An artist at the peak of their career, for instance, will have several staff or organisations providing these roles, whereas a relatively new artist just breaking through, may manage themselves, register on several entertaiment directories, Facebook and their website but use a reputableagent to conclude the booking and issue a contract .
In the DJ world this is particularly true, where the term 'DJ Agency' can mean anything from a global professional management organisation to paid web directories where any artist can upload their own profiles and contact info, with no quality control. The two are a world apart - we hope the following will help you select the best for your own needs.
An artist manager will guide and manage all aspects of the artists professional career personally . The artist manager or management agency is employed by, and paid for by the Artist. If you are dealing directly with an artist manager for bookings you should NOT expect to have pay for that service, however you might be expected to pay for travel and accommodation for them to accompany the artist to an event.
An artist manager may also arrange tours, and plan the artists travel and accommodation and personal requirements for these tours. Well known artists often have a dedicated Tour Manager or Personal Assistant to travel with them and arrange these under the direction of the artist's manager, as the logistics of a large international tour may require a full time resource. The cost of the tour manager is usually rolled into the artist fee but is sometimes itemised seperately.
It's not uncommon at the early levels of a career for an artist to share a manager with 2 or 3 other artists, which can make it more affordable, but as an artist gets more popular they would expect the manager to manage them solely. A wise artist will pay a manager a small retainer for their services to cover basic overheads, supplemented by a % fee on each successful deal or booking. The level of fee is usually between 10% and 40% of the artists professional earnings depending on whether a retainer is paid and whether an manager is shared or dedicated to a single artist.
An artist manager will usually engage other resources to help promote and advertise their artist and to carry out some of the day to day commercial and booking activity including the services of a Managment Agency or Booking Agent
A Management Agency usually represents a number of artists, in relation to booking and commercial enquiries which are then discussed either with the artist direct or their manager. A management agency may also manage the artists diary and day to day engagements, and other various day to day commercial aspects for the artists - contracts, payment from event bookings, providing press packs and travel requirements to bookers, leaving the artist manager to concentrate on more personal or performance aspects of the artist career. In some cases a management agency will also fulfil the role of artist manager providing either a dedicated or shared manager resource. A management agency will only deal with bookings for their own rostered artist
The Management Agency is employed by, and paid for by the Artist, usually representing them exclusively and making their money from either a retaining fee or by a % percentage on all of the artists professional earnings through the agency. If you are booking directly with a management agency you may be charged a booking administration fee.
At Sparkle Agency in nearly all cases we do not charge an agency booking fee to the booker - all of our fees are paid for by the artist. There are exceptions - usually where the booking engagement results in a full time employment offer,.
As you might expect a booking agency is primarily concerned with facilitating bookings between an artist and a booker. Booking agencies will usually have a large number of artist on their books from a selection of management agencies, artist managers and possible some artist they deal with directly.
Booking agents usually have access to a wider range of artists, but they work for the booker in securing an artist and the booker pays for that service. Booking agencies will charge bookers an agency booking fee on top of the artists fee and their and managers fees This is usually between 10% and 25% of the artist fee, or occasionally a flat fee.
The downside to booking with a booking agency is they don't have direct control over the artist or their management - this can lead to the complication of issuing back-to-back contracts, and occasionally cancellations by the artists management who have decided subsequently to take up a better offer elsewhere before the contracts are signed.
Sparkle Agency only books out it's own rostered artists - enabling far greater control over the bookings, which has enabled us to build a 14 year 100% unbroken appearance record worldwide
The internet has given rise to a large number of DJ, artist and entertainment directories. Some are purely online versions of reputable established industry directories such as the DJ Blackbook or the more general White Book, a convenient extension of established resources. The majority however are standalone websites offering free or subscription based publication or advertising for any artist willing to pay the fee. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the concept - it gives new or less experienced artists the ability to get more exposure, however there is little if any control over quality or experience of the performers. Artist profiles, talent, or references are rarely checked, and the ability to create slick mixes on digital DJ programmes these can make everyone sound like a superstar DJ - buyer beware, you may find the live perfomance is not as polished!
A few organisations run reputable directories where all applicants are vetted thoroughly and only the best selected, but sadly the majority are the music equivelent of dating websites where anyone can uload their inforamation and also stretch the truth about their experience (do you really want a nasty surprise on the your first 'date?).
This is not a different type of agency, but is listed here because it is probably the biggest source of confusion to new artists, particularly bands and vocalists, sadly fuelled by expectation from Pop Idol, X-Factor and similar talent shows, and the record industry deals of the 70s 80s and 90s. New artists joining booking or management agencies often expect large sums of money to be injected into their own development as artist. This is rarely the case, as most agencies rely purely on booking fees from performances, which are fractions of the artists own earnings.
The most likely source of funding for artist development are
- Record deals from larger labels. These are increasingly becoming a thing of the past, as major labels rely on smaller record labels to discover and hone the talent and then cherry pick the talent and offer the artist a contract with a bigger label. These may not come specifically with artist development funding, but may come with cash by way of a signing fee or advance against future earnings. (artists beware the latter is not 'free money', just a loan against future possible earnings that you may have to pay back off the top before anyone else gets paid).
- Wealthy artists, promoters or entrepeneurs who wish to 'discover' the next big band or voice and are willing to speculate their own money into grooming and developing the artist. Their aim can be to make money, revitalise their own fading music career with connection to new talent, feed their ego, dabble with the music industry, or occasionally and very commendably to 'give something back' to an industry that treated them well. Established artists have been known to do the latter, often using their own management, fame or influence to get the new band gigs, often on the billing of their own tours. Simon Cowell & Co have made a fortune out of ceommercialising the actual talent spotting process, it not only makes good TV it also generates a great deal of cash towards artist development of the lucky winners . But there is a catch, your 'business angel' will expect you to sign over around 50% of all future earnings, rights to your songs and possibly your soul and artistic control/integrity too, in return for funding. The old adage of " there's no such thing as a free lunch" is especially true in the music industry!
- Prizes from talent shows - big or small these often come with development or record deal prizes from sponsors, from large companies, music brands, radio, or TV for some form of development, oftten these are the deals with least strings attached, and can lead to bigger and better things..
- Fund it yourself. If you still have a day job, try and keep it as long as possible - it's a very useful to use that as a way of funding your development as an artist until the time is right to take the plunge. A day job and steady wage can also provide the basis for bank loans for new music equipment, sound system, stage wear, professional recordings, publicity material and websites and your managers first years fees!
Unless you have the most exceptional talent (in other peoples eyes, not just your own/your Mum's), professional presentation, and powers of persuasion, it's simply not realistic to expect others to fund your as yet unproven future career. For them It's a high risk gamble, and your chances are frankly very low unless you are lucky already have connections to them.
It's worth remembering that, whatever your music career aspirations, a record company, manager, management agency or dj agency is far more likely to be interested in you if you have already forged the start of a promising career with your own money and resources - it shows committment and determination. The world is full of exceptionally talented performers who have never made it, simply because they expected someone else to develop their careers for them.
If you want it bad enough, go and make it happen as best you can yourself - you make your own luck in this world.
We hope you found this information useful - however, just because this is the way the industry works doesn't mean you can't do it yourself or try doing it another way - Sparkle got where it is today by being innovative with the web and new audio and graphic technologies.. With the phenomenal expansion of social media, more immersive web technologies, digital music formats, and very powerful pocket sized computing, maybe you can come up with a fresh idea to promote and market your own talents/productions - go on be inventive, be bold, be adventurous and if it doesn't succeed, dust yourself down and try again. Most important of all never give up - success may be just around the corner!
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Who We Are / About Our DJ & Artist Roster
Sparkle Artist & DJ Agency is home to some of the world's top DJ/music/cabaret
performers. From clublands favourite global DJ's and live
PA's, to cabaret and circus performers, and skilled mainstream
resident/contract club DJ/hosts.
We've been in existance for 18+ years and have been responsible for some landmark changes in the artist booking industry
a registered, entertainment booking and
artist/event services business with a high reputation in the
industry. The agency is headed up by founder/Director Spike Hull,
an entertainment professional with over 30 years as a DJ, promoter,
artist manager and booking agent, and an in-depth knowledge of
music culture and technology and the entertainment industry generally,
as well as a wide understanding of business matters gained from
a previous success in financial and commercial management.
We have some of the best selections of DJs, musicians, vocalists, live acts, professional dancers, andpromo staff available anywhere - go to the relevent page to readprofiles on, watch, listen, enquire, and book our headline DJs, polished accompaniement musicans, renowned vocalists, mind boggling magicians, beautiful / handsome dancers and stuning cabaret performers.
We have a wide range of acts from different
music styles and spectrums ranging from funky, electro, house,
techno, hard dance, trance, progressive, rnb, urban, and soulful
DJs, some of the worlds most glamorous female DJs, and skilled
personailty DJ/hosts that form the backbone of the mainstream
nightclub entertainment available for season contracts or residencies.
Our live acts roster continues to expand
and features saxophonists, trumpet players, bongo, and traditional
and electronic percussionists that play with some of the most
famous DJs and musicians of the day.
Our dance roster features male and female
freestyle and choreographed performers in all all types of dance
routines from glitzy showgirls to large Riverdance-style Irish
dancing shows, cultural dance troupes performing dances from
China, Hong, Kong, India, Poland, and samba style Brazilian dancers
from the carnival parades of Rio, as well as street dance and
modern dance troupes such as the IT girls, doing amazing things
with music, light, ribbons, aerial skills martial arts and all
sorts of break dancing, crumbling and electro boddy-popping.
Look no further for bhangra dancers, bollywood dancers, thai
dancers, flamenco, roller dance teams, ballroom dancers, lion
dancers, jive dancers, line dancers and burlesque cabaret acts.
We have an absolutely fabulous selection
of Burlesque dancers and acts , including a spectacular Dita
Von Teese tribute and our wonderful Ooh La Las who perform a
fabulous 40s sailor girl routine among many others, or Gwendoline
L'amour fan-dancer extraordinaire.
New Artists / How to Apply
You'll find all the information you need re new artist applications on our Facebook page HERE.
Artist, Promoter, and Industry Services
are not just a DJ and performer agency - we also offer
a range of services to help DJs, musicians, bands, performers,
venues, promoters and the music industry generally. We
have drawn together a range of resources that we hope you find
useful, including our legendary SparkleDESIGN studio which has
been creating eye-candy flyers, posters, artist profiles, bespoke and template websites and
CD art for over 12 years and is used by many in the music industry,
as well as customers in leisure, fashion and business generally.
Check out our Music related website templates - stunning designs and slick functionality at budget prices:
Music | DJ & Nightclub | Fashion | Photography & Art | Entertainment | Mobile
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