The relationship between agents and talent buyers is a bit of a chess game, with the fact that talent is the commodity in question bringing its own dynamic to the traditional sales equation.

Call it the favor factor. "In our business everybody tries to end every deal with their side having done a 'favor' for the other side," says Seth Hurwitz, president of I.M.P., producer and talent buyer for the Virgin Fest by Virgin Mobile at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

"Never have I seen this more obnoxious than in the festival business," Hurwitz continues. "I got calls from people saying, 'I really want my band on your festival,' and by the time it was all over it was, 'You owe me.' People in our business can't seem to accept that any deal is mutual. It's got to be 'I did this for you.' "

"Of course, it's so they can cash in later, or maybe it's to keep the promoter in his place," Hurwitz continues. "Personally, I don't think I'm guilty of that, but that's because I actually am doing everyone favors."

Hurwitz says the best relationships are reciprocal, explaining that he's not in a position to book act B if he gets a good deal on act A. "We don't have any slots for favor bands on this show because we have seven slots per stage and only two stages, so there's no room," he says. "The favor I can do for people is when I have two bands of equal stature that are both available and both want offers, I'll go with the people that have supported me. And that absolutely comes up."

Example? "That's one of the reasons you see so many William Morris bands on the [V-Fest] bill," Hurwitz says. "Most of the agencies have been somewhat supportive, but I have to give William Morris the credit. I don't have to pitch them on playing [V-Fest]."

Click here to read more on the V-Fest roster, festival money vs. stand-alone gigs, the agent's strategy and more.

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