I’ve been thinking this week about the severe shortage of film and television music agents. With so many composers in the business, admittedly an oversupply, and an expanding amount of programming that needs both licensed and original music and scoring, it seems to me that the professions of “composer agent” or “song licensing rep” would be booming, but they aren’t.
The number one complaint I get from composers in the first 5-7 years of their careers is: Why can’t I get an agent? That usually stems from a desire on the part of the composer to concentrate on writing music servicing their clients, rather than marketing and drumming up new work. These composers and many others would be happy to pay 10% of their income for representation.
The few agents in the industry are so in demand that many of them don’t do a lot of marketing at all, instead letting the composers go out and build relationships and get considered for jobs, with the agent stepping in to send demos and negotiate the deal. And the existing agents can pick and choose only the most “marketable” of composers, leaving everyone else unrepresented.
Here’s a message for music business programs at our colleges and universities: rather than turn out hundreds of new composers every year into a massively oversaturated market, how about developing some courses in effective and ethical representation? There’s a huge demand for these skills, and given the huge shortage of agents, a qualified and motivated agent could write their own ticket in the film and television music industry today.