Talent agents make a living by finding work for actors, models, singers and comedians. It's customary for these professionals to represent a large number of clients. State laws require that talent agents must be licensed by their state. Certain agents, such as those representing actors, become franchised by unions such as the Screen Actors Guild. Salaries for talent agents can be extremely high for top agents, while others may earn just enough to stay in business.
Talent agents typically earn 10 per cent of the earnings made by their clients. StateUniversity.com lists the annual salary for a talent agent at approximately £35,100 as of 2011. In comparison, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual salary of talent agents at £56,829 as of 2009, or £27.3 hourly. The lowest 10 per cent earn £16,809 annually, while the highest 25 per cent earn £68,815 annually as of 2009. However, these figures also include managers and agents representing athletes --- these professionals are also sometimes referred to as talent agents.
The highest-earning talent agents earn millions of dollars annually and represent top actors, models, singers and other entertainers. High-profile talent agencies such as Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor and United Talent Agency represent celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Will Smith and Denzel Washington, all who earn millions of dollars per movie. Similarly, top sports agents also earn millions of dollars annually from negotiating contracts and endorsement deals for athletes. Agent Tom Condon, who works for Creative Artists Agency, represents Peyton Manning and earns more than £19 million annually.
Talent agents in California earned the highest salaries at £74,295, as of 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Connecticut talent agents earned an average of £69,719, followed by New York talent agents, with an average annual salary of £66,924, according to the bureau. Illinois and Massachusetts also ranked in the top five, with agents earning an average of £59,780 and £59,364, respectively.
Other Talent Salaries
Talent agents for musicians earn incomes based on a wide variety of factors that include the type of work musicians are engaged in, the type of music and their profile. As an example, cruise ship musicians earn approximately £11,700 annually, according to MusicianWages.com, with agents typically earning 10 per cent. Agents who represent artists such as Beyonce and Justin Bieber --- who usually earn £1.0 million dollars and £195,000 per show, respectively --- earn much higher salaries, typically 10 per cent of these earnings. In the modelling world, very few models earn more than £325,000 annually, with most earning a few hundred dollars per day. As such, the majority of modelling talent agents may represent a number of models, earning a few hundred dollars per day collectively in commissions. Talent agents also represent news broadcasters: Matthew Kingsley of 3 Kings Entertainment represents television personalities such as Keith Russell and Clayton Morris. The average annual salary for top broadcasters is £44,362 annually as of 2009, according to StateUniversity.com, which cites statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Based on 10 per cent commission, a broadcasting talent agent earns £4,436 on average for one broadcaster.