For Artists: How to get the most out of representation

At Closer&Closer we challenge our artists to think about what they can do to get the maximum value out of representation. Many artists and reps maintain a distant, slightly distrustful relationship. If work happens to come in, great, if not, then the blame starts rolling. The biggest mistake we make is not actively engaging each other as partners and actively seeking ways to serve each other.

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If you’re an artist who is thinking about getting an agent or if you are currently represented by an agency here are a few ideas of how you can get the most value from your artist agent.

Treat your relationship with your rep like a partnership.
The great thing about being represented by an agency is that you have the autonomy of a freelancer while having the marketing and management services of an agency. This relationship can easily become passive. Waiting to be ignited by a new inquiry. Your agent wants to help you build a great career (if they don’t you should fire your agent). By seeing them as a business partner and letting them know what you are looking to accomplish you will empower them to help you in a meaningful way. Brainstorm a few ways you can work together to accomplish your goals.

Share your goals. And keep sharing them!
It’s easy to share your goals and vision at the beginning of the relationship. However, your goals will evolve. Be sure to regularly set times to share new goals with your agent — Be sure to also get rid of old ones that are no longer serving you! These sessions are powerful opportunities to brainstorm how you can reach those goals together.

Create a list of dream clients. And keep updating it.
If an agent doesn’t know who you want to work with they can’t go after them. Agents are always looking for new companies to contact. The best way to increase your chances of working with your dream clients is to let your agent know so they can proactively share your work with them. Just like your goals, keep telling your agent who you want to work with on a regular basis. This will pay dividends down the road.

Share your pricing or… come up with your pricing.
Something we ask our new artists to come up with is a basic pricing outline. It’s a good idea to share pricing from at least 2 or 3 past projects with your agent. Knowing what your pricing is like helps agents to vet opportunities for you. You can also use this opportunity to receive feedback on your pricing and make improvements. You can even talk about how your pricing fits into your larger personal and professional goals.

Bring projects to your agent.
Bringing your projects through your agent is a great way to build the relationship and learn how to work together. In our experience, leading with trust and generosity creates a virtuous cycle where both parties want to do more for one another. Sharing project opportunities shows that you believe in the partnership and value the input of your agent. This will pay dividends down the road. I promise if an agent sees you bringing work their way they will be motivated to help you find more work.

Pass along unwanted inquiries.
Many artists receive inquiries they can’t take on. A great way to build rapport with your agent (and the other artists who will end up working on those inquiries) is to send the inquiries you can’t take or don’t want to your rep.

Let your agent know if things aren’t working.
If you are having issues with your partnership with your agent please let them know. I have talked to so many artists who left their rep because they weren’t happy with how things were going. When I ask if they told their agent they weren’t happy I am met with a blank stare followed by, “No, I didn’t want to bother them.” If you aren’t happy with your agent and you’re not telling them they can’t help you get what you want. Having conversations about the things that aren’t going well is a great opportunity to talk about your vision for your partnership and to brainstorm what a win/win relationship looks like moving forward. They should welcome these conversations as opportunities for growth and clarity.

Share your struggles
It’s inevitable that life will bring you challenges over the course of your career. People get sick, money can be tight, relationships at home can be tense or you might struggle with depression or anxiety. Everyone has ups and downs in their life. If you’re having a personal struggle please share them with your agent so they can be accommodating to your needs.

I hope these tips were helpful to you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of these ideas on how to get the most out of representation. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Drew MeltonFor ArtistsComment