In the last decade, we have seen a shift in our music industry, and it’s been a tough road for the people that made it possible. Having to wear multiple hats for organising music events and excelling at it. This has also made heads turn towards the business of event and artist management, and a lot of people now want a piece of the pie too. To avoid over-saturation in the industry; it is essential for them to know what roles they are playing and how they can improve on them.
WHAT IS A MUSIC PROMOTER’S JOB?
The primary job of a music promoter is to publicise a concert. Music promoters are the people in charge of ‘putting on’ the show. They work with agents or artists, and with clubs and concert venues to arrange for a show to take place. Promoters then are in charge of making sure the word gets out about that show. They also take care of organising the incidentals (hotels and transportation) for the artist.
Music is an invigorating industry to work in. Finding the best new acts and seeing them go from being unsigned and unknown to huge stars is exciting. You need an ear for music, and to know which acts to put on at the right time. You should understand how to market music to an audience, whatever the genre. The promoter is at the centre of everything. You have to coordinate the whole campaign, so you need excellent organisational skills to manage budgets and liaise with artists, agents, and venues. It’s crucial that you can network and manage your contacts efficiently, so you need excellent interpersonal skills. Finally, you’ve got to be trustworthy and honest. People need to trust you to sell tickets and put on a great show.
HOW TO EXCEL AS A MUSIC PROMOTER?
It goes without saying that you need to get to know your local music scene. Read the music press to see how shows are being promoted and which venues are popular, and think about how you would market a show. Knowledge of the industry is essential, so it could help to get some work experience with event management, record company or music promotions business. It is critical to realise what artist you are promoting for and what is the audience you are catering too. You need to single-out these points and promote the even accordingly.
Many people enter the business without fully understanding the demands of the job, so turnover and job burnout is high. For those who stay in this business, it can be fiercely competitive, as there are large amounts of people who try to succeed. Particularly for those just starting out, it can be difficult to get steady work within the industry. It is always advisable to have a stable job to support your promoter job. Many people also like to take up marketing or business course that helps them immensely.
It is also important to understand that music promotion is not only about Social Media Posts. It also involves an active Guerilla Marketing Strategy and requires promotion on as many mediums as possible. This strategy includes Radio, Newspapers, Posters, Flyers and Networking with the audience to grasp their attention in a personal and memorable way.
I think promoters and agencies in India are currently performing roles that are usually handled by 3-4 specialised companies abroad – press, booking agent and management. I know Dev (UnMute), and Vijay (OML) have spoken about this. With regards to an ideal promoter, the thing I’d really like is for someone who understands the artist they’re booking and the audience they’ll get. With hip-hop, a lot of people book the acts and then can’t understand why kids from lower-income communities (who form the main fanbase) are showing up in droves for the show, and they have to make a decision whether to let them in or not and a lot of time that ends up being a problem. So understanding the artist and their audience is critical. Other than that just be professional! – Treat everybody with respect and get shit done properly and promptly. I don’t think the market is saturated yet it’s just that everybody seems to be playing in the same sonic space – we need more promoters to make this market grow, but we need people with original ideas on how to incorporate and introduce a new audience to our scene.
– Uday Kapur (Co-Founder of Azadi Records)
HOW MUCH MONEY DO MUSIC PROMOTERS MAKE?
The pay for promoters varies and depends on several factors, including the deal made with the artist/agent and how popular the artists are with whom they are working. Promoters make their money off of the proceeds generated by a show. They can either have two kinds of deals – pay the artist a set fee, no matter how many people buy tickets or a door split deal.
AT THE END…
Finding out the right path for you is extremely important. If you want to work on Festivals and large-scale events, then it makes sense to join a Promotion Agency. If you like the thrill of working with Indie artists and want to work from the ground up, then working for yourself is the best way to get started.