Booking agents are transitioning from afterthoughts to key players in the music industry as artists perform more live shows to compensate for falling album sales. It is now agents' job to create venues, events, and stunts that will distinguish musicians and encourage ticket sales, and their earnings are higher than ever thanks to elevated ticket prices, more tickets sold per show, and proliferating events. The top 20 world tours in 2013 made $2.43 billion in ticket revenue, for a year-over-year boost of 24 percent, according to Pollstar. Booking agents often sign artists before they have deals with record companies or music publishers, and can play a vital role in putting together the rest of the team and molding the act's image. Concert booking is a challenging job, requiring agents to avoid numerous pitfalls that can ruin an act's image, such as overcharging, touring too frequently, and booking overly large venues, notes William Morris Endeavor's Marc Geiger. The explosion in live music also means agents need to book venues much earlier, often about a year in advance, and sometimes even before an artist has released a record. Getting in on a popular act early can help booking agents foster loyalty and earn a bigger commission, although their approach must be more hands-on.