Alternate Career Titles:
Talent Promoter, Promoter
Career Overview: A Concert Promoter will host musical artists at concerts, clubs, and events; they will also coordinate venue details.
Career Salary Range: $0 to $1,000,000+
Become a Concert Promoter
As one of the most desired music business careers, a Concert Promoter is in charge of putting together concerts, but also has many other duties. First and foremost, the Promoter needs to find the money needed to promote a concert by either raising money, or investing his or her own. Another way this can be done is to seek out others who will share in the expenses and in return share some of the profits.
With so many variables in promoting a concert, the Promoter must have a well thought out plan of action. He or she will need to coordinate the following: what city the concert will take place in, what type of venue will be used, when the show will take place, how many shows will be promoted, and who will headline the show.
One of the most important things a Promoter can do is create a starting budget. The budget is very important because without enough funds a promoter can not properly generate enough excitement for the show. Without enough excitement and exposure the Promoter is likely to lose money. It is better to plan to be over budget and allow for extra funds in case something does not go as planned. The starting budget can be reworked after negotiations for the main act have taken place.
Once negotiations are completed by the Promoter–which will include signing the headliner, supporting act(s) and renting the venue–he or she must then turn their attention to selling tickets. The Concert Promoter must decide where to spend his or her advertising funds. They may choose to advertise on radio, TV, in print, online, social media, or anywhere deemed necessary. Another key part of the advertising is to print and hang flyer and posters in areas where potential concert seekers will see them. The Promoter will then need to find a place to sell the tickets, which may include the box office of the concert venue, a ticket agency, or local record stores.
The Concert Promoter will normally work with the act’s record company (need a list of record company contacts?) or the act themselves. To build excitement for the show, the Promoter will figure out interviews, publicity stunts, press conferences, and more. It is also common for the Promoter to hire a Press Agent or Public Relations firm to help coordinate all of the press efforts. The Promoter and or the Press Agent will also make sure the press releases, press kits, and complimentary tickets are delivered to media prior to the event.
The Concert Promoter supervises any workers or specialists who have been hired to help with the show. Depending on the venue, the Promoter may be responsible for hiring and/or supervising others including Concert Photographers, Ushers, Stage Managers, Security Guards, Lighting and Sound Technicians, and Stage Crew.
On the night of the concert the Promoter will usually meet with the act’s Manager or Road Manager, to pay the act any money that was not already paid when the contract was signed. Once all other expenses are accounted for at the box office, the Promoter will know if he or she made money or not. After a show Promoters will sometimes throw parties, either for the act or for the people who helped pull the event together.
This career is for those who are willing to take financial risks. He or she must be energetic, have a strong work ethic, and have a high level of enthusiasm in order to execute a successful event, or to keep trying if one promotion has failed.
A Concert Promoter’s salary is influenced by a number of variables, including where (geographically) shows are being promoted, how successful the talent is, and how effective their promoting strategies are. Because a Promoter’s pay is tied to show profits, it is essential to have a successful strategy that will build excitement, make the act money, and in turn make the Promoter money. If the show is not successful this will have a huge negative impact on what the Promoter will be paid. A successful Promoter can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year; some Promoters have earned more than $1,000,000.
Promoter positions are filled by those who have proven themselves successful, therefore turnover is very low and opportunities are few and far between. It is sometimes easier to get started promoting smaller shows or by working in partnership with a venue to showcase newer acts.
As mentioned, low turnover makes it is difficult to advance in the concert promotion field. Booking Agents prefer to work with Promoters with a proven track record. If an individual has a great deal of his or her own money to promote shows, several valuable industry contacts, and/or the willingness to take a chance, the possibilities for success greatly increase.
Education and Training
There is no need for a formal education to be a Concert Promoter, and some in the business have no higher education whatsoever. However, there are some who have graduated from some of the nation’s top universities. It never hurts to have a background in business, and learning the basics of music promotion from a college course or music seminar might be helpful too.
Experience, Skills, and Personality
If you already have a background in music, you stand a better chance at finding an opportunity as a Concert Promoter and will have a chance to make good money. This is partly because having a list of contacts you can call upon for assistance is a huge asset. It also never hurts to have sufficient funds to promote shows properly.
Unions and Associations
Concert Promoters might work with a few unions while putting together a concert, but do not belong to a union themselves. Many Concert Promoters are associate members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), which is the organization that gives out the Grammy awards. Promoters may also belong to other associations like the Country Music Association (CMA) or the Gospel Music Association (GMA).
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Find a position with an established concert promotion company as an Assistant, Receptionist, Secretary, etc. Learn all you can from those who have been successful.
- If you decide to promote on your own, start by being creative and keeping you financial investment small.
- Try raising funds to promote by donating services to a school, church, or organization that will put up money and provide assistance.
- Join your college’s entertainment or concert committee to learn about concert promotion.
- There are concert promotion organizations and associations that sometimes offer apprenticeships, workshops, or conferences on concert promotion.