Let’s talk holds on entertainment. Why indefinite holds are unacceptable…
Holds are meant for those clients who are seriously considering that entertainment. Planners or clients who”go silent” after weeks and weeks or even months after initially contacting an agency aren’t really interested in booking.
I can’t begin to describe how much time I’ve wasted as an band and tribute artist provider over the 20 years I’ve had David Levin Entertainment on clients who’ve said they were interested in my bands, then vanished or kept telling me “We haven’t decided yet” months after contacting me. Correspondence between agents and their bands and tribute artists is often intensive and time-consuming. If shopping clients would simply say, “We’re really not interested” or “We really can’t afford that band we want so much”, a lot of time would be saved by both agent and entertainer or bandleader and utilized in other ways.
There are also those planners who will wait till a hold is cancelled, then try to book the band “direct” by going around the agent (me) who they originally contacted to avoid paying the agency fee…
This has happened to me probably 15 times in the 20 years I’ve had DLE. Fortunately, most of my bandleaders and tribute artists have “a code” that we adhere to that protects us from this type of planner or client. It isn’t easy for bandleaders to turn down bookings but loyalty to those who promote and contract them comes first. However, there are bandleaders who have been disloyal and I’ve dropped them for taking work directly from clients who’ve gone around me after I’ve presented the band to them. Fortunately, those bandleaders are the exception to the rule.
It would be nice if holds weren’t necessary but they are a way to separate the serious clients from the shopping clients (those who aren’t serious)…
The way I look at it is this: I have the very best cover bands (known as “show bands”) and the premier tribute artists on the planet. These bands and artists are busy entertainers. They don’t have time to waste on clients who aren’t really interested in their services.
As an agent of the first order, I throw myself into my work when I receive an inquiry for a band, tribute artist or novelty act. The client means everything to me. I want to believe the inquiry is a serious one. Holds help but indefinite holds are unacceptable and disingenuous inquiries are not helpful. Sifting those out from the serious ones is a lifelong effort.
What can those who contact DLE do to make your job as an entertainment provider easier?
Very simply, telling me at the outset that they are “shopping” and that I may not hear back from them or that they are seriously considering booking. Whichever one it is, being forthright is key. If the clients don’t have the budget, they need to tell me and we’ll go our separate ways, amicably. Telling me what they can really afford saves a lot of time and makes my job easier and more enjoyable.