Alternate Career Titles:
Promotion Director, Director of Promotions
Career Overview: Develops, implements and directs promotional campaigns for the record label and its Artists. They work to get radio airplay and more.
Career Salary Range: $27,000 to $95,000+
Become a Promotion Manager
The Promotion Manager is the head of all the employees in the promotion department of any record label. Their primary responsibility is to obtain radio airplay for as many of the label’s singles and albums as possible. With hundreds of new records released each week, this is no small task. With that said, the Promo Manager must be successful in delivering new tracks to radio stations, in hopes they like the songs and add them to their everyday playlists. Again, this is easier said than done, as playlists don’t change a whole lot from week to week. Rather, the same songs usually remain in the playlist rotation, with only a few songs making their way to radio each week.
Of course, there is also music television, with stations that usually run their playlists and new releases in the same fashion as their radio counterparts. To actually get songs to TV or radio stations, the Promotion Manager works closely with regional and local representatives who are responsible for calling and visiting Program or Music Directors at radio and TV stations.
The Promotion Manager is also in charge of deciding where record launches or promotional parties should occur. Whether that’s in New York City, Los Angeles or any other city, it is the Promotion Manager’s responsibility to figure out the best course of action.
As the name implies, the Promotion Manager is responsible for formulating different types of promotions that will help get the records on the air. This is done by working with other departments (for instance the merchandising department) and can result in T-shirts, bumper stickers, and other pieces of memorabilia, each promoting the Artist and/or the Artist’s album.
The Promotion Manager might also arrange interviews, TV, radio, and public appearances, or press conferences through the record label’s publicity department. The Promotion Manager may also feel that a group needs additional exposure through different forms of advertising. He or she is also in charge of scheduling regular meetings with the staff, where any problems will be discussed, along with statistics on how many records are selling, whose records are selling, which tracks were added to what playlists, and more.
As a Promotion Manager, you will be asked to work closely with the VP of the department, or even with the President and CEO at some smaller companies. Success is measured by how many of the label’s records make their way to major stations” playlists, and the Promotion Manager works long, stressful hours trying to make this happen.
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Like other positions, the Promotion Manager’s salary will vary, depending on the size of the record company (get your record company contacts list), their experience level, geographical location, and so on. Salary can range from $27,000 to $95,000 per year.
The road to a Promotion Manager career at a large, reputable record label is a long one. The process starts by securing a job as a Promotion Rep, before possibly moving on to become a Regional Manager. Although salaries can be low at first, the experience earned is often well worth it.
It’s often difficult to advance to a Promotion Manager position within the same record label. So, usually, the next step would be for the Promotion Manager to move on to a similar position at a larger record label.
Education and Training
Depending on the size of the label, educational requirements will vary. However, no matter the size of the label, you should have a high school diploma. Jobs at major record labels will most likely require a college or music school degree.
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Experience, Skills, and Personality
Being a managerial position, the Promo Manager must know how to perform their job, while also maintaining their status as a leader and a supervisor to others in the department.
Also, it is common for Promotion Managers to be good sales-people, with the ability to persuade radio and music television stations to play the label’s records and videos. To be able to sell their Artist, the individual must stay well-informed on all types of music, along with records from other labels, target markets, and more. It’s also beneficial for the Promotion Manager to be personable and creative.
Unions and Associations
A Promotion Manager may belong to a number of organizations and associations, including the Country Music Association (CMA) or the Gospel Music Association (GMA), among others. He or she might also be an associate member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Internships are a useful way to get your foot in the door of any record label. For this position, ask to be placed in the Promotions department. If you find that the label you want to work for does not have an internship program, call or write the Promotion Manager or VP of Promotion to see if they’d be willing to create one.
- If you are a college student at a college or university with a music merchandising or music business program, check to see if they have work-study programs available
- Large cities that are home to some of the better known labels typically have employment agencies that look for personnel to fill these types of positions.
- Stay current with trade magazines, newspapers and job boards to find any available positions.