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Interview: Cemre Şen

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Booking manager, Charmenko

What’s booking, and what does a booker do?
“In terms of the company where I work, we schedule musicians for events in Turkey and Eastern Europe. We put the companies organizing the events in contact with the artists and ensure that their needs are met. We don’t plan the event, but we’re involved in the entire process: we monitor everything from the concert venue, date and setup to ticket sales, interviews and production.”

How did you get into your line of work?
“People in the music industry generally get their start through someone they know. I didn’t have any connections like that. I studied philosophy in college. I only wanted to see more concerts. I started out as an assistant and I’ve been here for seven years.”

What does a typical day look like for you?
“We use our contacts to check on musicians’ tour plans, and we get this information far in advance. We share the information we received from music reps with our clients. We then present their offers, venues and the artists’ requests.”

At what point do your personal preferences come into play?
“Whenever there’s a big-time musician coming, I rely on my own preferences to think about possible opening acts for them. I suggest bands to the client that are currently on tour and that would make sense given the artist. But I’m normally involved in projects that have nothing to do with my taste.”

What are some of the challenges of this job?
“It’s a very challenging job in every respect. People think it’s a lot of fun, but that’s not the case at all. I have to travel all the time; I need to oversee events both in Istanbul and Europe to ensure that they go off without a hitch or to intervene if there’s an issue. I’m constantly checking my e-mail.”

How have the events of the past year affected your work?
“Musicians don’t want to come to Istanbul as much as they used to; both the fluctuation in currency and the escalation in violence have affected us negatively. Turkey isn’t a market where there are a great number of album sales to begin with, so all of the revenues come from concerts – which is why they can’t keep ticket prices low.”

What was the biggest project you worked on, or the one you were most satisfied with?
“There are so many. The Radiohead concert in Prague, for instance. I also loved working on the Sigur Rós concert at Zorlu.”

 

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