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Hi guys,


I have been playing around with the idea of signing up with an DJ agent. I don't really know anyone who is, but have done some research and it seems to be worth a go.


However, having never used one before, and not knowing someone who has I don't really know the best way to identify a good one. Anyone got any tips? Or can anyone recommend one in the South West (Gloucestershire) region.


Many thanks in advance

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Thought this was going to be a punchline. :D


How To Identify A Good Agent?


There not breathing (joke) :joe:


not heard of a small good agency in my area to be honest, I wouldn't want to be thought of as the same as some of the DJ's an agent I do know use .


The big agency that i am aware of is Unit 1


not sure how good they are or how well they pay but the only one i have seen at a lot of hotels



Rob Star Entertainments
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landline 0161 265 3421
Mobile: 0777 99 777 26

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There's a multi-service type vendor in my office building. They're more of an ents company though, but do hire in the odd DJ when they've got too many enquiries..


Not really an agency though!



DJ David Graham

Tel: 01204 537716 / 01942 418415

Email: hello@djgraham.co.uk

FB: http://facebook.com/djdavidgraham

Web: [under construction - it really is coming soon :)]

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So are we thinking agencies are not a good way forward if I want to maintain a reputation... Was mainly hoping it would get me a few more bigger clients.


I am really planning on pushing hard for 2011 to promote myself so looking at various avenues. Have just started a website :)

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In all honesty i wouldn't know i have never used one. I have read bad reports from DJ's moaning they were not properly informed about what the client wanted or expected and also about late payment, they also have clauses that if they get you a gig with a client or venue any and all future bookings have to be through the agency which seems fair enough if they got you the work in the first place.


could be a good thing but as i have only read stuff its only hear say.


Being a control freak myself I don't like the idea and i don't like the potential Chinese whispers if you don't deal direct with the client.


but I may be completely wrong , maybe some other dj's with actual experience of agency's will offer advice

Rob Star Entertainments
Facebook page
landline 0161 265 3421
Mobile: 0777 99 777 26

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Unfortunately, just as there exists cowboy and fly by night Dj's, so do exist Cowboy and Fly by night agents.


A cautionary tale....


When I ran DJ@ a member reported to me one agent who ripped off him as well as a lot of DJ's and Artists by taking money from the client and then not paying the engaged artist. Amazingly they managed to evade any real legal action for almost 4 years, and in that time must have made a huge profit, whilst actively recruiting more artists and the number of unpaid victims continued to grow


Inevitably, legal action eventually followed instigated by Equity, who, in 2007 branded him a 'Serial Offender'.





The guy eventually was investigated, followed by being hit with a £7500 court order, but since all of his 'assets' were either hired or rented, including his home address, very few artists saw a penny of the money they were owed :devil:


The Agent's name was Les Hemmings (Gerald Leslie Hemming) and the name of the Agency was Hemmings Leisure, based in the West Midlands. Amazingly, the website and business appears to still be up and running, despite nationwide publicity and even a slot on BBC Watchdog.






The Agent was even subject to a (negative) mention in the 2008 / 2009 Employment Agency Standards




Yet, still despite a four year regime of not paying engaged acts and with many Artists still being out of pocket the agency appears to continue to operate and is still listed on most of the DJ & Wedding directories :rolleyes:


My own advice is to avoid any Agent who charges a subscription fee to join before finding you work. The type of entity who advertises as taking £xx to join and then promise the earth to you in relation to workload. Any 'old school' agent worth their salt, will not operate in this manner, and will not need to charge any upfront fee, because he / she will be able to earn enough money from the commissions charged for each booking they find you.


In short, if they don't find you work, they don't get paid. Simple as, and that is the way that proper agents have been working for decades. Its then in their interests to find you as much work as possible.


Be wary of Agents, (usually the ones charging you a subscription) who report of being able to find you unlimited numbers of gigs. Agents have been affected by the recession and the weakened leisure industry demand just as much as we have. There is no secret source of gigs, and whilst a lot of agents will have regular customers and loyal corporate clients keeping them ticking over, they are probably only just about keeping the artists already on their books busy with work, and certainly won't be in a position to offer unlimited amounts of work to a newcomer. For each approach you make to an agent, 99 other DJ's may have been there before you, and got turned down. Unless you are offering some kind of unique act or a service not already covered by others on their books, chances are you'll be disappointed.


In other words, if an agent approaches you, and it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is


Personally, given how stagnant the entire industry is at the moment, i'd be much more inclined to put my commission money into other means of self advertising. Bettering my website presence (or getting one), attending Wedding Fairs, or spending a few days, ringing around and arranging to meet up with managers of local venues to discuss their pub / function room requirements

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I used them for 20 years but not anymore.


The three which I used varied in quality. The money was always less than what you could achieve. ie if I generally charge £250 ish for a gig, the same gig with an agent would at best leave me with £180 after taking off his 15% commission & VAT.


All of the agents which I use failed in not providing sufficient details relating to the gig.For example if it's upstairs, or indeed even the basic question; what is the B&G first dance?


I would tend to turn your question around. Do they you need you? It can be quite difficult to ensure that they ply you with a steady stream of work. They tend to have a pecking order!

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Thanks for all the replies guys.


From what you have all said, I think I may concentrate on getting through december and new years, then look at 2011, spending time and investment on a better website and further promotions.



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I'm using an agent now for the first time in 30 years! At the moment in my area it's difficult to get into some hotels and venues except through an Agency.


I'd suggest calling a few and see if they're interested in you. They may well be desperate to cover nights you are free in the festive period - if you help them out it could put you in good stead for next year.


It's all about personal relationships - if you like them and they like you it can be good. Yes, they are going to take a percentage - but I know of hotels charging £400 for their "in-house DJ" who they are only paying £250! Give them a call - you've nothing to lose.

Edited by Paul The Party DJ

Paul The Party DJ

Mobile Disco and Wedding Specialist Southampton & The New Forest

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I would suggest approaching a few and see if they are looking for professional DJ's to add to their books.


Personally I've had good and not so good experiences but now have some good relationships and have made it clear I will only work for £X so I only want the top end bookings and not the average low paid pub stuff. I don't get loads of bookings but then ones I do are good and this is great for me.


Once you have had a few good bookings and get good feedback you will find you get more offers of work from the agent.


Make it easy for them by providing testamonials, references, some nice photos etc so it makes sense for them to put you on their books.


Get a clear idea of how they charge and what the process is, the better ones will send you information before each gig so get a chance to research the venue if new and also speak to the person booking you and avoid surprises.


These agents are better than the ones that phone you and say, I have a gig in London for £250 on Friday. Do you want to do it? Then you get hardly any info and turn up unprepared to a nightmare gig up 3 flights of stairs with no lift :-0


I would say Go for it as it can be a good source of bookings, just spend a bit of time promoting yourself and also asking them details about how they work with DJ's


Good luck, let us know how you get on.

Jose Saavedra



Wedding Disco Specialists

Mobile: 07734 387 478

Email: mail@mjsevents.com


Web: http://www.mjsevents.com

PLI (£10m) & PAT Tested equipment


Member of the following associations:

Federation of Small Busineses & The Wedding DJ Association


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I have worked for a number of agents over the years, one who still runs his own agency is based in Switzerland.


Here´s what for me marks a great agent


Contracts clear and worked out


ongoing care of djs


always available


straight talking and honest


any agent will have a number of clients you can contact for references


a hotmail address same for gmail even if they have a web url is always dodgy



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a hotmail address same for gmail even if they have a web url is always dodgy


Thats a very good point. But its also amazing how many DJ's operate in the same manner, publishing only mobile numbers or 'throw away' webmail addresses like Gmail or Hotmail on their literature or websites.


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So are we thinking agencies are not a good way forward if I want to maintain a reputation... Was mainly hoping it would get me a few more bigger clients.


Couple of things to add to the several very valid points already mentioned...


You want an agent to give YOU bigger clients - this will never happen, they will always be the agents clients !


Agents do have a bad reputation, but as was said earlier, there are good and bad, as with any business. Many DJs, myself included, offer work to other DJs when we can't cover gigs.


Some are referred to as agents, some are multi-ops, but all are doing pretty much the same thing !


The way I work is that I negotiate a fee with the client to include a commission for myself. I then contact one or more of the DJs I know are reliable, and meet the standard expected by that client. The DJ/s quote me or I tell them what money is available, and we agree a fee.

Client is given contact details for the DJ and can chat with them at any point. DJI takes care of requests and planning, I take care care of contracts, finance and legals and venue arangements

Most private bookings pay 7 days prior to event, so I pay DJ on the Monday following the gig. Hotel bookings pay after 30+ days, I pay DJ within 30 days.


This xmas, all the venues I look after are paying after 30 days after final December date, however I am paying ALL the DJs on the Monday after each gig. Luckily I have the cash flow available currently, I want to look after the DJs, keep their trust as well as not pestering the venues, so I am perhaps in a unique position


I am NOT saying I'm better than anyone else, I am not perfeect, but I have decided that's how I want to run my business, and if I have happy venue's and happy DJs, then I can't ask for more !!


A DJ mate of mine blocks off xmas for an agent. The agent comes up with lots of dates, some get cancelled or postponed (no fee), and DJ gets paid in February and March. Agent claims hotel haven't paid him, but as far as I'm concerned that's not the DJs problem !


Agents/ Multi-ops can get you more work, but you will generally earn more money getting them yourself !!

The best DJ between Littlehaven Station and the Rusper Road in Horsham - Probably....

MY disco website CHEAP DJ PLI amongst several others ;-)

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