Getting booked as a DJ can seem like an impossible task when you are first starting out. You may not have the gaudy numbers of those around you, the connections or hit records that promoters want to see when they pay someone to play. There are a limited number of gigs out there and it can be tough to connect with the right people to showcase your skills for the right gig. In comes AGNT.com, a website and app which is a marketplace for both promoters and DJs where they can connect digitally to book gigs using the service.
DJs, events and promoters can create profiles and the opposing parties can research and bid on each other to find the right match. DJs say as much information as possible such as the music they play, when they are available and their fee, while promoters can offer up slots at events.
The site has been around for a year and it has already amassed 10,000 users and put together 1,200 bookings. The service is only available in the United States and Canada at the moment.
We spoke to Co-founder CEO Viet Nguyen about the service about challenges that face DJs and promoters, how to spot fake numbers and how photos are changing nightlife.
1. What is the biggest challenge for promoters trying to book DJs?
The process of finding available talent is broken and cumbersome. You have to go through several layers of agents and agencies, and rarely do they provide a curated list of artists that actually matches up with the dates and locations you’ve requested. More often, you simply get a roster list, or broad availability dates.
For the vast majority of booking scenarios, where you’re looking to fill a time slot with the best possible artist available, the process can be very challenging. But it could be so much easier if there was an open, central database where people could search for artists based on specific criteria, such as region, or genre. It would cut out the logistical barriers and transform the way organizers and artists could connect.
2. What is the biggest mistake that you see DJs make when trying to get bookings?
Not marketing themselves well enough is a big one. Some DJ’s think they can just throw themselves up on AGNT and start getting bookings. That’s not how the system works. We build and create opportunities, but it’s the DJ’s job to get their brand heard. Better ratings and more activity will get you ranked higher on the platform, and in return it will get you more gigs. If you’re not very well known in the DJ circuit, you need to get yourself out there and establish yourself. Send out links to your AGNT profile where organizers can listen to your mixes, read your reviews and ratings. Sitting back and waiting to be booked isn’t going to happen.
3. How do you coach promoters to identify artists with fake numbers?
If we’re talking about social media numbers, I would say that the best way to identify fake or purchased fans / followers would be engagement. If they’ve got a ton of fans or followers, but barely any engagement on their posts, you can be sure that you’re looking at some fabricated numbers. Another way to identify inflated social numbers is to check who their fans or followers are. Fake users don’t have very much associated with their profiles other than a few friends.
4. What is the number one thing a DJ can do to improve their prospects of being booked?
Establish your brand and play out as often as possible. Try to get in with local organizers, nightclubs, and bars. If you’re good enough, people will notice and you’ll start getting booked more often. But it doesn't happen overnight. It takes a lot of time and even more determination.
5. What is the best way for a promoter to get the DJ they are looking for the right price?
Usually with AGNT, the DJ will set a range depending on weekend / weekday or event type. Organizers can send an offer within that range. Or if an artist hasn’t set their fee range, and they’re a fairly large artist that tours often, you can look at their previous gigs and check out the ticket prices and venue capacity. Usually you can get a pretty good sense of what they’re getting at other gigs, and how much your offer should be.
6. How can artists and promoters create relationships with each other using a service like yours?
Some relationships are already established; we’ve seen a lot of artists and organizers using the AGNT platform to legitimize their bookings and payment. AGNT helps remove that awkwardness when asking for payment and also helps with advancing the set times. However, there are many occasions where promoters are getting in situations where they need to quickly find a DJ for an event due to a cancellation or no-show. AGNT helps organizers source out a DJ quickly for their event and establishes a level of trust through action, which helps forge positive relationships.
7. Where do you see the most innovation in the nightlife industry?
The most innovative part of the nightlife industry right now is in how events are being promoted. Social media has made a huge impact on how events and venues are being promoted. Venues understand the need to get people using Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter within their four walls. Photo sharing is one of the best marketing tools that nightlife has. And the thing is, is that no one ever deletes their photos on FB or IG. They keep them there forever, and people tend to go back and look through other people’s photos. It’s constant marketing and a very powerful tool.
8. Can you share a success story of someone using the platform?
Absolutely! We have a few venues that book on a weekly basis with AGNT. We started a loyalty program for those venues and they began accumulating what we call “AGNT Dollars” on bookings. Recently one of the venues had enough AGNT dollars that they were able to book a fairly prominent artist from Germany called Maximono. The show cost them almost nothing due to their regular bookings with AGNT, and they would have spent the money booking DJs on a weekly basis regardless - so it really was a win-win situation for all parties involved...including the artist who got a great gig out of the entire deal.
DJ Marketing 101 is an ongoing series presented by SoStereo and Magnetic to help emerging DJs / Producers learn how to market themselves and build a successful brand in today's crowded music marketplace.
SoStereo is a cutting edge music licensing service and marketing company focused on helping emerging and mid tier artists connect with brands and content creators for licensing opportunities. If you are looking to add an additional revenue stream to your music, get more exposure and grow your career get in touch. SoStereo is interested in electronic music, indie, hip hop and world music. More info HERE.