One of the many things independent artist struggle with is booking shows for themselves. In fact, some up and coming rap artist hire their friends to try and book them shows, and they only manage to book them a few performances. This is really rough because there is literally thousands of dollars an artist can make at a show.
So now that we have addressed the issue, what is the answer? How can you as an indie hip-hop artist go from booking 2-3 shows a year, to booking a 20-40 city-wide tour? The key is hiring a professional with venue contacts to book the shows for you.
Hire A Booking Agency
Okay so you have a few tracks ready to perform but you don’t know how to go about booking yourself shows. One of the best things to do is hire a booking agency. Of course, if you have a manager he would be more suited for this job because in the end that’s one of the things you will be paying him/her to do. The other best alternative would be to hire a booking agency to book your shows for you.
This article is strictly dedicated to independent or underground rap artists. The way indie artists get booked for shows is entirely different from how major label artists get booked. So please keep that in mind.
Which Hip Hop Booking Company Is The Best?
This is a good question to ask because you do not want to go with a company that takes your money and does not produce any results.
Even further than that you always want to choose a booking agency that has reputable and reliable contacts to venues in your country, and if possible contacts to venues abroad.
As an artist conducting good business, you should always make sure you connect with a booking agency under a contract. Always ensure all the details are outlined in the contract and you understand the terms therein so you don’t screw over yourself.
With that being said, to find out the answer to which booking agency provides the best service to rap artists, I had to do a little digging. I also called up some of my music industry friends who own record labels, manage independent artists and also those who own concert venues.
There are actually not many booking agencies that specifically tend to independent hip hop artists. But there was one name that kept on popping up, and many of the managers and venue owners I spoke to gave this company rave reviews.
They spoke very highly of this company and told me that they have had some amazing past clients, some who are now signed to major labels. I thought wow! Perfect. So I started to do more research on them and found out that this booking company would be the best choice for independent rap artists.
But there was one name that kept on popping up, and many of the managers and venue owners I spoke to gave this company rave reviews. They spoke very highly of this company and told me that they have had some amazing past clients, some who are now signed to major labels. So I started to do more research on them and found out that this booking company would be the best choice for independent rap artists.
The Kenyatta Booking Agency
The booking agency that every indie rap artist and label are raving about is none other than The KBA (Kenyatta Booking Agency). There was a lot of things that stood out to me about this company this company that I really liked. But I thought it could have been all hype, so what I did was call them up and spoke to one of their agents to learn more about their company and also to purchase their services.
The first thing I liked right off the bat was their customer service. Michelle, who answered the phone was very polite and courteous, and also very knowledgeable in company’s services and products. I understood everything clearly and was excited to try the booking service out.
List Of Services KBA Provides
One of the things that impressed me most about The Kenyatta Booking Agency was their versatility when it came to booking artists.
We have used services from Coast2Coast Mixtapes Promotions and also Brookfield’s Booking Agency, but what they do is set up their own performance nights at a local venue and have artists perform in front of other artists. That’s not how you create a true fan base. We didn’t see any good results from doing that.
Also these two companies I’ve just listed only book show performances, they are not known to book their artists for appearances or hosting events. This is what I found intriguing about KBA, and this is why they stood out not only to me, but everyone one I asked who used their services. Below is a list of where they can and have booked clients.
Results From Trying KBA’s Booking Services
As you know I am an active independent record label owner. I have over 15 successful rap artists under my label and I’m always looking for more ways to give them exposure. When dealing with KBA you get to choose from 5 packages based on your needs.
For example, what type of performance do you want to book your artist for? A talent show? An Amateurs Open Mic Night, A city-wide tour? Open up for a major label artist? etc. My advice is to know what you want for things to run more smoothly.
If you are one of those artists that can make up their minds about things, or can’t communicate well, please get a friend who can to talk for you. Again, it will make things run more smoothly. Always know exactly what you want before calling, and you can always call to receive clarification on their services.
Next Phase With KBA’s Services
Okay, so the next stage after you choose your type of booking is to sign a contract with them to solidify the deal. This is to protect not only your end by their end as well. The contact will include the services to be rendered to you as a client, and if the services are not performed you can bring your case before a judge.
Again, always have a contract and if you need a professional to look over the terms before you sign do so. It will save you headaches in the long run. Once we signed the contract they went to work right away. They booked 18 shows for three of the rappers on my label. 14 of which were performed here in America, and four in Canada.
We went for music showcases and one rap battle tournament event. Yes, Kenyatta Booking Agency even books rap battles for their clients! Again, tell them what type of even you want your artist to perform at, and they will book it for you! Just incredible!
Getting Paid From Performances
So yes we did get paid, a couple of ways actually. This is the exciting part. They were able to get venues to pay us for every show. Due to the privacy clause in the contract I can not tell you how much the artists got paid, but I will tell you there were some determining factors.
1) Social Media Presence – My artists have a good steady growing social media presence. This helps because it let’s venues know that you can potentially have a big draw on concert night.
2)Featured Presence – My artists have been featured in a number of independent and major publications and music blogs. Again, this shows that they were able to bring constant awareness to their music, and as a results have a fan base following.
3) Radio Spins Of Hit Singles – This is what really allowed us to cash in from our performances. Every artist that performed had hits spinning on the radio that lead to Itune sales. If you can send this information to venue owners it can make the deal even sweeter.
There are some of you who are reading this saying that you don’t have any or just a few of what I listed. That is okay. KBA can book you for the shows, but don’t expect to make thousands of dollars. You have to start off small, and earn more as you grow your presence and fan base.
The other way that we cashed in on our performances was that the KBA booked us at shows where the venue owners allowed us to sell our merchandise for free.
I have been in the music industry long enough to know that not all venues allow you to do this for free. Some venues will take what is called a “Hall Fee” or “Vendors Fee”.
Which is essentially a percentage of the merchandise you sell. This cuts into your profits, and we were grateful that the agency booked us shows were we can sell our merchandise and not dish out a fee for it.
The Final way we made money was through our Performing Rights Agency. This is an organization that collects and issue performance royalties for their clients. PRO’s as they are called for short, are organizations like ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN etc. The KBA will definitely go over all the details with you when you call for a consultation or before you sign the contract.
That’s it for now. Good luck!