A Week In The Life Of…. A Booking Agent, Stephen Wade

Stephen_Wade
Stephen Wade is owner and booking agent at Select Music. He represents a diverse array of Australia’s best talent including Passenger, Boy & Bear, Josh Pyke, San Cisco, Emma Louise, Rufus, Seth Sentry, The Church and Bob Evans to name but a few. In Select Musics 10 years it has grown into one of the top agencies in the country, also representing acts like The Preatures, Ball Park Music, Shock One across every musical genre. A wearer of many hats and interests including his touring company Select Touring where he has brought acts like Ice Cube, The Dandy Warhols, They Might Be Giants, Crystal Castles, Good Charlotte, Tallest Man On Earth, Public Enemy and Chairlift to Australia.

Stephen very graciously agreed to fill us in on what a typical work week looks like for one of the busiest booking agents in the country.

Job Description

I am the owner and senior agent of Select Music. I represent a roster of around 25 artists and oversee a music agency comprising 9 staff, and representing 90 artists covering all genres. My role as an agent means handling all the live bookings for my artists – taking enquiries for one off events & festivals, planning the touring schedules around new releases.

Our staff are then involved in contracting the shows, collecting all the information and providing the artists with worksheets, sending out posters and promo, invoicing & collecting their money.

DAY TO DAY IN A WEEK

SUNDAY
Fly to Brisbane for the Passenger show at the Riverstage. It’s an amazing show with a huge crowd (the biggest Mike has ever done in Brisbane),  I make sure everything is running smoothly and catch up with the artist.

MONDAY
Fly back to Sydney. It’s Australia Day.
I have Thelma Plum and one of my new acts Winterbourne playing at The Rocks. Even though it’s a public holiday there are still acts playing and correspondence to deal with.

TUESDAY
Up at 7 and set up my laptop upstairs at home so I can clear out my inbox/emails while having breakfast, and I then leave for work ready to go from 9. (This is pretty much the same every day)
Arrive at the office.
I get roughly 400 to 500 emails a day, so I go through those. Some are enquiries about our artists so these are always answered first.
I have meetings with my PA Katie to run through my roster and get up to speed on what needs to be done on some of the future tours we have planned. This may include looking for supports, confirming the announcement date, locking in the last few dates, deciding on ticket price, liaising with management.
I make calls to some of the big festival bookers to pitch my acts and talk about why they should be a part of it.
Leave for home at 6

WEDNESDAY
Emails never stop which is a good and a bad thing.
I have a meeting at 11 and one at 12 to discuss international touring. I do quite a lot of international tours as well separately to my agency work. My role however is more to oversee and approve whilst my business partners run this side of things.
I do up some budgets for a few of my high profile acts who are planning to tour later in the year.
It’s also my birthday so I leave the office an hour early to go home and have dinner with the family.

THURSDAY
Breakfast meeting with a manager of a few of my largest artists. We meet as he has the schedules of releases for some artists and we then discuss the best way to relaunch the acts into the live marketplace. We talk about time needed, and the right types of venues we should be playing.
I chase up enquiries for my acts.
Run through the settlements for one of the big tours we have going around Australia this week.
Call venues for an upcoming San Cisco tour to work on getting the last few shows confirmed.
Emails, emails, emails
I call managers of the acts I pitched for festivals to let them know what the feedback is.
I meet with my book keeper to go through bills, company accounts and misc.

FRIDAY
I get up at 7, which is my normal waking time.
I get online at home while I am eating breakfast and clear out my inbox for an hour so that it’s relatively clean when I arrive into the office.
I plan out my day as I have a lot of things on my agenda which build up over the week and I want to get them done before the weekend.
I have 6 tours in various stages that need to be worked upon. My PA Katie updates me on where things are at with them all, and what still needs to be done.
I need to put dates on hold for one of my biggest acts for later in the year
I speak to my accounts person for touring to get a recap on where everything is at
I chase up show enquiries as well as specific enquiries for acts
I confirm a few one off shows which I have been working on for a while which always makes me happy.
I finish up at 6 and head home where I have to get ready quickly to head back in to the Opera House for a show.

SATURDAY
I attend a few emails but get the day to myself

SUNDAY
I have Andy Bull performing at Laneway Festival so have to be at Balmain at 1130 as he is performing at 1230.

Highlights

· Getting to watch an artist you love grow from early days and the be headlining shows in front of thousands of people, and being able to share in that experience.

· Listening to new music every week from unknown acts and your own established acts.

· Going to shows and experiencing the live performances, standing side stage and watching the crowd lose their shit.

· Meeting amazing creative artists/performers

· Travelling the country and overseas

Downsides

The downsides are just the hours and the constant scrutiny. It is after all show business and not show friends so at the end of the day the only thing that matters is the results you achieve for your artist. This job pretty much follows you everywhere you go and you can be contacted at any time of the day or night so you can’t be precious when the stakes get higher.

Words of wisdom

Our industry is not for the faint hearted. But is for the dreamers and those who genuinely love and are inspired by music and the incredible people who create it. It’s an industry filled with incredible people who all work exceptionally hard but I am yet to see any one move forward and create a meaningful career if they don’t have a good work ethic. It is a job that consumes large parts of your life and you have to be willing to make sacrifices!

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