Lessons Learned: Marty Diamond

This is directed at young, startup bands. We’re inundated with calls where bands say, "We need an agent!" The music could be good, bad or indifferent, but these particular people never actually played any dates. They hear you are supposed to have a booking agent and the agent is supposed to get them gigs.

The lesson, for them, is learn what everyone’s role is in the process. Don’t ask for an agent if you don’t know what an agent actually does. Don’t pursue a record deal if you don’t know what a record deal encompasses.

We hear, "We’ve got an amazing record," or, "Go check out our MySpace page." Fine, that’s a good start but do you actually mean anything where you live? They need to go out and physically do the groundwork. Go out and try to book some dates for yourself. Try and do the groundwork to promote. Go out and build a heartbeat. If you live in San Diego, build a story there before you run to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tucson and everywhere else.

Jonathan Adelman signed The Fray, but he got on a plane first and went to see the band in Colorado. They were already building a solid base in their own market and now they’re massive in Denver and most other places. They took the time and all of the other elements lined up – hit records, TV, sold-out shows, etc. Barenaked Ladies built their reputation regionally and then had a hit record. Snow Patrol put in the groundwork too. Damien Rice has built a career staying focused and working one step at a time.

They all put in the time, the energy, and understand the process.

So this is my lesson learned, the one I tell the callers: Take the time to understand the roles of all of us in the business and learn the process. You want an agent? Give us a reason. There’s nothing I can do as an agent to make somebody mean something if they are not willing to do it themselves. Create the reason for us to care about you.

And most important of all: perfect your craft!