Ok, the reality is that most artist don’t have the funds to hire help…let alone provide for yourself. At the same time, maybe if you had someone helping you, it would kick things up a notch and be a win-win situation for all. So lets, break it down and figure out who you would benefit from if you did have the funds.
Publicists create demand. They create publicity. In very plain english, they make you “public”. So lets say you have little or no fanbase…or maybe you need help breaking into a new market. This is who you need. Before you can start making moves, you need to create demand. Make sure you and your music are seen as a valuable asset to an event, an establishment, a venue.
Publicists also receive media inquires…if a magazine wants to interview you or website asks to review your CD.
A booking agent will come in handy at the very early stages of your career or at the much later stages. I would argue that you should book your own shows for as long as you can. Become familiar with your city and metro area, decide what type of venues best fit your personality and music, take it upon yourself to learn your music scene.
If you’d rather have someone book shows for you, you might want to give them a percentage of your incoming instead of a fixed amount. It guarantees that you always leave with something. And it will drive your agent to book quality shows for you instead of just anything. If you’d like to wait till later, booking agents really do come handy when you’ve built a name, begin touring, and need help finding the best venues in other cities.
Remember, a good booking agent can have connections with some of the best venues in any given city, but if there’s no demand (publicist), it won’t do you any good.
This person is an extension of you. They hold your name/image/presence in the palm of their hands. They represent you in every way. They can handle all incoming music-related emails, handle your gig fee, order T-shirts for your band, website maintenance, and do all the things you hate to do. A manager can take care of every last detail to the point where you just show up and play the gig (though I don’t recommend this). A manager can take care of the above responsibilities – booking and publicity.
Honestly, if you can’t afford to bring someone on, do your best to be all three. If you’re in a band, assign a responsibility to each band member. Booking might require two band members. If you’re solo, then come up with some routine that helps you keep it all in order (i know that’s hard).
Remember that you have as much control as you want. You can hire a manager, publicist, or booking agent, but you can also determine how much control they have. After all, they’re being contracted by YOU.