How to Get a Booking Agent License in California

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Surety Bond Professionals is a family-owned and operated bonding agency with over 30 years of experience. With access to a broad range of surety markets, our expert agents are ready to assist with all of your California booking agent license bond needs. Learn how to get a booking agent license in California, below.

What Is a California Booking Agent License?

California’s Labor Commissioner licenses booking agents and talent agencies. These are individuals or companies that, for a fee, connect artists (actors, musicians, directors, writers, cinematographers, composers, models, and so on) with those who hire people in the entertainment industry. In addition to procuring jobs for artists, booking/talent agents may also provide career counseling and development for artists. Under California’s definition, procuring recording contracts doesn’t fall under the umbrella of what talent agencies do.

What Are the Steps in the Licensing Process?

Talent agency licenses are issued by the Licensing and Registration Unit of the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standard Enforcement. You can either apply online or by completing a downloadable paper application and submitting it by mail.

There is a long list of required documents that you’ll need to gather and provide in support of your application, including an Affidavit of Character, sample contracts, and a surety bond.

Why is a Talent Agency License Bond Required?

A talent agency license bond is a surety bond that guarantees the licensee’s compliance with Chapter 4, Part 6, Division 2 of the Labor Code of the State of California, which regulates talent agents and talent agencies. A violation that causes financial harm to an artist or client, such as failing to pay monies due to the injured party, can result in a claim for damages being filed against the bond.

The bond’s obligee, the California Labor Commissioner, has established $50,000 as the required bond amount (referred to as the bond’s “penal sum”). This is the maximum amount that will be paid out on a single claim.

How Are California Talent Agency License Bond Claims Paid?

In addition to the bond’s obligee, there are two other parties to the surety bond agreement, which is a legally binding contract. These are the bond’s “principal” (the talent agent or agency) and the “surety” (the company that authorizes the bond). It’s the principal that bears full legal responsibility for paying legitimate claims against the bond.

However, most often, the surety will pay a claim initially and wait to be repaid by the principal for the resulting debt. It’s an arrangement that ensures prompt payment of the claim and gives the principal some time to repay the surety, which often can be done in installments rather than one lump sum.

How Much Does a California Talent Agency License Bond Cost?

The annual premium for a California talent agency license bond is a small percentage of the bond’s $50,000 penal sum. That percentage (the premium rate) reflects the underwriters’ assessment of the risk inherent in paying claims on behalf of the principal. That assessment is based largely on the principal’s personal credit score. A principal with good credit rarely pays a premium rate higher than 3%, and it could be as low as 1%, making the annual premium between $500 and $1,500.

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