To promote or not to promote...
Hey there! Today, we talk about promoting concerts.
And no, not the how-to, or what-TO-do, or what-NOT-TO-do. We talk about is it worth it.
Well, that all depends on YOU.
I have had the great pleasure of meeting many amazing music industry professionals. Managers, lawyers, accountants, and more are in this list. However, I have NEVER met more people in the industry that CONCERT PROMOTERS.
Concert promotions is the easiest of the music industry jobs to get simply because you contact the venue, contact the bands, organize the show, and BAM! You have a concert. *No, it is not that easy, but that’s basically how it works, in the beginning stages anyway.
But does this make you competitive to other promoters in your market? Probably not.
The first show I booked was back in 2012 and I did it as a fundraiser for my fraternity in college. (Yes, I was in a fraternity. Yes, I am aware of how metalheads and fraternities don’t sound like they mix. Yes, it was weird at times.) I made money on that show. I didn’t book another show until 2015 for a class I took in grad school. We needed to do an event of some kind; I figured I did this before, why not do it again. So I set up the first Protage, Inc show – Showdown At West End. Four amazing Orlando based locals. Again, I made money. (It was also my first show at West End Trading Company in Sanford, FL, by far my favorite venue to promote concerts out of.)
^ This flyer... Hm. About that... Happy I eventually found my current graphic designer. (BurnedInSilence Designs by Adam Hutton)
At this show I was complimented as running it very well. The bands were happy. I made money so I was happy. I was one of maybe two or three people in that class that actually did an event (out of a class of 30-40). I felt like king shit, to say the least.
At some point in my promoting efforts I met another promoter. This man was, and is, far ahead of me. We were talking shop one day and he told me that to get ahead it was smart to join up with another promoter who books across the state. See, imagine you’re a booking agent. Do you really want to deal with four separate promoters in Florida? Probably not. So it makes more sense to first try to find a promoter who works more than one market. At this time I was only really booking the greater Orlando area. After our conversation ended, I got the idea to move outward. Orlando is one of the strongest rock markets in Florida, but it is by no means the ONLY rock market. What about Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and so on? Truth is, I was losing out. I was small time and would remain that way until I decided to extend my market. If I had stayed in just the Orlando market, I’d just be another nobody promoter trying to make it. I had to obtain more markets.
And that is why today, I book shows all across Florida. Sure, most of them are still in Orlando. Orlando is my most booked market. But Tampa is a close second. And I am starting to book more and more in Fort Myers. Miami and Fort Lauderdale have decent markets too, but it is very different from the rest of Florida. I recognize I need to start utilizing Jacksonville more.
So, now I am that much more competitive. When agents contact me now, they know I will buy more than one date. That is music to their ears. They get to deal with one promoter instead of multiple. It simply makes it easier on them.
Now, what is the most major red flag to me when I meet a promoter? It is a hobby for them. I am and always will be weary of any promoter who says they do not make money off shows. I have to wonder if they take it seriously. I also have to wonder how good their shows are doing. Maybe they are a band member, and this is very typical among band member promoters. For them, they get a bit more of a pass. If not, I get weary of the hobby promoters. If you are a hobby promoter, by all means, have fun with it. But I don’t know a single hobby promoter who books regional or national acts. And I have to keep that in mind.