Music Agents and Scouts

Outlook

Employment Prospects

Employers

Approximately 14,830 agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes are employed in the United States. The largest music agencies are located in Los Angeles, New York City, and Nashville where the music industry is centered. There are music agencies in most large cities, however, and independent agents are established throughout the country.

Starting Out

The best way to enter this field is to seek an internship with an agency. If you live in or can spend a summer in Los Angeles, New York, or Nashville, you have an advantage in terms of numbers of opportunities. Libraries and bookstores will have resources for locating talent agencies. By searching the Web, you can find many free listings of reputable agents. The Yellow Pages will yield a list of local talent agencies. Compile a list of agencies that offer internship opportunities. Some internships will be paid and others may provide college course credit, but most importantly, they will provide you with experience and contacts in the industry. An intern who works hard and knows something about the music business stands a good chance of securing an entry-level position at an agency. At the top agencies, this will most likely be a position in the mail room, where almost everyone starts. In smaller agencies, it may be an assistant position. Eventually persistence, hard work, and cultivated connections will lead to a job as an agent.

Advancement Prospects

Once you have a job as an assistant, you will be allowed to work closely with a music agent to learn the ropes. You may be able to read contracts and listen in on phone calls and meetings. You will begin to take on some of your own clients as you gain experience. Agents who wish to advance must work aggressively on behalf of their clients as well as seek out quality talent to bring into an agency. Successful agents command more lucrative salaries and may choose to open their own agencies. Some agents find that their work is a good stepping-stone toward a different career in the music industry, such as a talent buyer for a music club or an artist and repertoire worker in the recording industry.

Tips for Entry

Attend industry events and let it be known that you are interested in becoming an agent.

Apply for an entry-level position or an internship at a talent agency.

Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are set up by your college’s career services office. 

Find the names of the top music agents and scouts on social media sites such as Twitter and follow them to keep up with their insights and news on the industry.