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Performer singing for their agent with their California Talent Agency License

How to get a California Talent Agency License

This California talent agency license guide is for informational purposes only. SuretyBonds.com does not regulate or manage licensing for talent agencies in California. Contact the California Department of Industrial Relations for the state's latest official talent agent license requirements. 

According to California Labor Code section 1700.5, the California Department of Industrial Relations requires all people who engage in or carry on the occupation of a talent agency to first procure a talent agency license from the Labor Commissioner. California Labor Code defines a "talent agency" as a person or corporation engaging in, procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to get employment or engagements for an artist or artists.

How to get a California Talent Agency License

How do I get a talent agency license in California?

Step 1: Get all the necessary paperwork and forms. 

You have 2 options when it comes to applying for a talent agent license. You can apply either online or by mail. Regardless of the way you choose to apply, there are a few forms that you'll need to fill out. To avoid any delays in your licensing process, make sure to fill out all of these forms before applying for your license. 

  • Talent Agency Application form
  • Affidavits of Character: 2 Affidavits of Character are required for either 1) each individual owner of the talent agency, 2) or by each of the general partners of your agency, 3) or if it's a corporation, each of the general partners, 4) and by each person with managing responsibilities in the agency. The person executing this form needs to be at least 18 years old and can't be related to the applicant.
  • Personal Record: For each person that's required to have an Affidavit of Character, a Personal Record form needs to be filled out as well.
  • Premise Certification: This form ensures that your talent agencies physical location complies with certain standards required by the California DIR. 
  • Non-Exclusive Contract Between Artist and Talent Agent-Sample and Exclusive Contractor Between Artist and Talen Agent-Sample: Both of these contracts need to be submitted, but only the sample forms are needed. You'll also need to submit 3 forms general services contract, 1 of which will be returned to you. 
  • Schedule of Fees: You'll need to submit 3 copies of this form, 1 of which will be certified and returned to you. Changes in the Schedule of Fees form can be made, but none of the changes will be effective until 7 days after the filing date of the changes with the Labor Commissioner and not until posted for no less than 7 days in your talent agencies office. 
  • Certificate of Worker's Compensation Insurance: Even if your agency doesn't have any employees or subagents, a Certificate of Worker's Compensation Insurance issued to you as the applicant and certificate holder is still required. The certificate needs to contain the agencies owner's name or legal entity if the agency is a corporation or partnership, DBA if applicable, current street address, effective and expiration dates, and a policy number. 
  • A copy of your driver's license/valid photo ID: An ID copy is required for each individual owner, all partners, all corporate officers and each member of a limited liability company. 
  • Fictitious Business Name Statement: Required if you're using a DBA other than the legal entity name for your talent agency.
  • Articles of Organization: Required if you're a limited liability corporation.
  • Articles of Incorporation and Domestic Stock forms: Required if your business is a corporation.
  • Certificate of Qualification: Required if your business is out-of-state to certify your corporation is qualified to do business in California.
  • Zoning Permit or Home Occupation Permit: Required if your business operates at a residence. You can get this permit from your local city or county government. 
  • Business Tax Registration Certificate: Required if your business operates at a residence. 

Step 2. Electronically document your fingerprints with Live Scan. 

You'll need to submit a Request for Live Scan Service form with your application materials to get licensed. Fingerprint images are required for all officers, all corporate officers, and each member of your agency if it's a limited liability corporation.  

You can find a list of local Live Scan fingerprint vendors on the California Department of Justice website. Make sure to bring a valid photo ID when you go to get fingerprinted. Once your fingerprints get submitted and processed, the California Department of Justice will respond to and contact the DLSE directly. You won't get a response from them directly. 

Step 3. Ensure you have all your record keeping documents. 

Your talent agency needs to keep a record of certain items for all the artists that you manage that's readily available for inspection.

  • The name and address of each artist employed by your agency. 
  • The fee amount received from the artist. 
  • The beginning and ending date of any contract entered into between the artist and you talent agency. 
  • The name and address of your agency and the inclusive dates and type of service of each employment engaged in by the artist during their term of contract with your agency. 
  • The compensation received by each artist for each engagement.
  • The amount of fee due to your talent agency and the amount paid to you by the artist for each engagement. 
  •  A record of all funds received on behalf of an artist and the disposition of the funds.

Step 4. Purchase and file your California talent agency surety bond. 

The California Department of Industrial Relation Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Licensing and Registration Unit requires you to file a California talent agency bond and submit it with your application materials. By filing this bond, you agree to follow California Labor Code when operating your talent agency. If you fail to do so, your California talent agency surety bond provides financial protection to the state and to your customers.

You can apply for your California Talent Agency bond online 24/7. A quick application review will determine your personal pricing, which starts at $500 annually. 

Step 5: Submit your application materials and pay required fees. 

Once you've gathered all the required documents and have been approved for your talent agency bond, you can apply for your California talent agency license. You can do this either online through the California Department of Industrial Relations application portal, or by mail. Make sure that your materials are all completed, dated, and signed by you, all of the general partners, or authorized corporate offices. The corporate seal needs to be affixed on your materials. If you're applying by mail, send your materials and fees to the California Department of Industrial Relations office. 

Department of Industrial Relations
Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
Licensing and Registration
1515 Clay Street, Suite 1902
Oakland, CA 94612

You can pay your fees by check or money order made out to the California Division of Labor Enforcement. There's a licensing fee, a filing fee, and a fee for each branch location that's filed through the DIR. 

Fee TypeAmount
License/renewal fee$225
Filing fee$25
Each branch location$50 per location

How do I renew my California talent agency license?

You'll need to renew your California Talent Agency license annually. The renewal process is similar to the initial application process. You can renew online or by mail by sending in all the same application documents and fees in steps 1 and 5 to the California Department of Industrial Relations. 

Last Updated: August 11, 2023

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