Agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes promote and represent their clients. They typically serve as the liaison between their client and a prospective employer when making business deals and negotiating contracts.
Depending on the type of clients they represent, talent agents and business managers perform such duties as marketing and advertising their client’s availability for showings, tours, performances and trading to other sports teams. They arrange interviews and public appearances for their clients, and seek other ways to gain public attention for each artist, performer or athlete in ways that will promote his or her career.
In addition, agents and business managers develop contacts with organizations and individuals that will ultimately support their clients’ success. They also oversee their clients’ involvement in print or broadcast advertising, Internet advertising, product endorsements, in-store displays, special events and other promotional activities.
Agents and business managers may also manage financial records for their clients. They often prepare accounting forms and collect commissions and fees from sponsors and others.
Talent Agent and Business Manager Job Summary
- Candidates for these highly sought-after positions will face strong competition.
- The best job opportunities will go to college graduates with strong communication and computer skills, a high level of creativity and related work experience.
- Long hours, including nights and weekends, and substantial travel are common, but agents and business managers often enjoy high earnings.
Work Environment for Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers and Athletes
Agents and business managers typically work out of an office. They spend much of their time on the phone, arranging bookings and appointments for a client’s appearances and performances. They also use computers to research trends to keep current with their client’s industry – whether it be art, publishing, film, theatre, music or sports – and they plan a schedule that will benefit the client.
In addition to their office-based duties, agents and business managers often log significant travel time. Frequent travel may be required to meet with clients and consult with others as they handle the business end of their clients’ careers. Agents and business managers may accompany the artists, performers and athletes they represent while their clients on the road, traveling across the country or internationally for shows, signings, games and other activities.
Education, Training and Licensing
Many employers prefer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration with a specialization in marketing (MBA Marketing) when hiring agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes. These types of degree programs typically feature courses in finance, accounting, management, business law and marketing. Other employers may accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree in communications(advertising or journalism), and classes in consumer behavior, marketing, market research, communication methods and technology and sales. Yet another option is a bachelor’s degree in public relations, which involves courses in business administration, creative and technical writing, advertising and others. Internships can also be advantageous in procuring a job in this field.
While agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes are not required to be certified, some associations offer programs leading to certification. The number of managers who seek certification is likely to grow in the future.
Strong computer skills are required for recordkeeping and data management, and Internet proficiency is also important, since much of today’s marketing and promotion is conducted online. The ability to speak another language fluently, especially in cities with large Spanish-speaking populations, is also helpful.
Employment Figures, Projections, Outlook and Earnings
Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes held about 11,700 jobs in 2009, according to research published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Many of them were self-employed, while others worked for agencies and management companies.
The BLS predicts much faster than average employment growth for talent agents and business managers between 2008 and 2018. The best opportunities will go to those with several years of work experience and specialized training.
Based on figures from May 2009, the BLS reports that agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes earned a median annual income of $61,890, with the middle 50% earning between $38,480 and $105,890. While the lowest 10% made around $25,860, the highest 10% had incomes in excess of $165,000 per year.
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