Screenshot of an AGNT promotional video
Following the lead of industry-disrupting tech startups such as Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify,a new tech company called AGNT hopes to innovate and "liberate" the market sector of DJ bookings. Their platform is designed to connect DJs directly with event organizers, supposedly cutting out the need for booking agents and other artist representatives in the process of booking gigs, and is currently available as an iPhone app as well as by web portal.
When putting together their profiles, artists have the ability to specify which of the 32 genres options they play, their price range, what equipment they need, and what of events they mainly play. They can also designate the distance they're willing to travel for performances, as well as link to their social media profiles and host up to five mixes.
Platform co-creator Viet Nguyen, who also works as a promoter with Canadian company Boodang, told DJ TechTools (via Resident Advisor) that the idea for the app came about because of conversations with DJs frustrated by the existing booking conditions. "Artists were complaining that they don't have representation, that no-one was helping them collect money from promoters, and that promoters were sticking to the same DJs," he said. "Our initial thoughts were, we could be like the new AirBnB for DJs."
The app launched in June, and it currently facilitates about 25-30 artist bookings per week. It was designed with feedback from a focus group consisting of around 12,000 resident DJs of various stylistic and professional backgrounds. As it stands, AGNT makes money by taking a 3% service charge from the artist booking fee as well as another percentage from the organizer depending on the event's size.
It remains to be seen how effective the app will actually be, though, considering that DJs and event planners are already able to connect directly via all manner of social media and in person, when possible. Independent music scenes have proven over the last few decades that they are able to successfully operate without booking agents. That being said, perhaps the centralizing nature of this platform, putting all these communications in one place as opposed to strewn across several different apps, might make these kinds of exchanges easier for some users.
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