Booking live entertainment is a murky world unless you have the experience and networks to negotiate it. However, the added value that exciting entertainment can bring to the private events sector cannot be overstated. It’s time to find a way to make the whole booking process clearer, to the benefit of event organisers and, ultimately, attendees.

The Event Industry’s Entertainment Problem

For private event organisers, the entertainment business can be a tricky one to navigate, and the bookings process is no exception. For those coming at it cold, booking live entertainment can be a lengthy, confusing, and unreliable process – not to mention potentially intimidating when it comes to approaching booking agents.

Ultimately, the problem lies in a lack of information and guidance. There is little advice on how much you should be paying and when, whether the act you’re looking to book has been vetted or has Public Liability Insurance, or what happens if either party cancels.


This lack of transparency needs to be addressed in order to dismantle the ‘closed shop’ image of the live entertainment industry for private events professionals, and allow both sectors to grow.

Seeing the Value of Transparency

Transparency is a term that is frequently banded around but its importance is sometimes, ironically, not so clear. The impact of transparency has a very tangible and well-established progression: it creates trust, which in turn drives growth and increases value.

In short, transparency is essential so that consumers and sellers can be matched knowing that what they see is what they will get, ensuring clarity of description, delivery, and quality, as well highlighting the availability of choice. When it comes to booking entertainment, introducing a transparent method of hiring acts could open the door to an untapped world of creative opportunities for your event.

The importance of transparency can be seen in the real value that it creates and develops, helping to introduce organisers to exciting, new mediums through which to engage with their consumers.

Bridging the Gap

With a third of event sectors expecting technology to change the way they operate in 2018, now is the right time to develop tech-based solutions to overcome this gap between event organisers and talent. As Airbnb did with the hospitality industry, technological innovation has the ability to create crystal-clear connections between consumer and client, between organiser and growth.

It is a process of disintermediation, encouraging accessibility and proliferating choice and creativity. At Headliner, we’re attempting this through our online platform, but we hope and expect there will be other shots at realising this sector’s Airbnb moment.

From the point of view of the live entertainment industry, creating the means to better connect with private event professionals opens up an overlooked and untapped economy. With the U.K. private events industry valued at £1.2 billion, bridging the gap between this and the live entertainment industry could encourage artists and performers to step into an unexplored, lucrative market.

For the corporate events industry and those who work within it, demystifying the way in which entertainment is booked could signal a paradigm shift, not just in what we come to expect from private events and how we experience them, but also how emerging digital platforms can further increase the value of the events industry.

Written by Stan McLeod, Co-founder and CEO of Headliner

Stan is a former music promoter who co-founded and launched BandWagon in 2012. In 2015, he co-founded Headliner along with Maria Hayden and Rosario Garcia de Zuniga. The platform represents over 4000 musicians, bands, DJ, and performers, boasts partnerships with the likes of ATC Live and ITB, and has processed over 750 bookings in the past year.

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.