The essentials you need to know
So you want to be a concert promoter! The concert promotion business is extremely rewarding once you learn to navigate it.
Most will say a concert promoter isn’t in the music business. They’re in the people business. You need to understand how and why people make the decisions they do. Psychology plays a large part in any industry that deals with people.
What Does A Concert Promoter Do?
Concert promoters do not have easy jobs. They tend to handle most business details during regular operating hours throughout the week and attend the shows on the weekend.
Some will say concert promoters handle the boring behind-the-scenes tasks. However, these tasks can make or break an event. Every music event you attend is promoted by someone making sure the turnout is what’s expected by the artist.
A concert promoter is responsible for almost every business management detail, from connecting the right acts and venues, negotiating favorable contracts, managing transportation, and ultimately getting tickets sold.
Along with all the management and marketing responsibilities, it’s also their responsibility to put together a budget and stick with it. Nowadays, budgets can be in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, so understanding contracts and negotiation is essential.
Artists are always asking for specific details about backstage and the venue. As a promoter, you want to make sure everyone has a fantastic time, the artists included. The artist is at the center of it all.
This doesn’t mean you’re just responsible for stocking the green room with their favorite beverages. You need to ensure the venue is ready to provide the right environment for their performance, promoting and marketing the event to the right people so the house is full. These are just some of the things you have to consider as a concert promoter.
As true with most music-related professions. There’s not really a college degree path to becoming a concert promoter. Education will significantly help you by attending a specialized trade school such as Dark Horse Institute. But most of the skill is leaned on the job by obtaining practical experience in any task that may be handled as a concert promoter.
I’ve said in the past how vital an internship can truly be. Getting an internship with a concert promotion company, talent manager, booking agent or venue manager is a great way to start. You could do this while in school for your chose field of study. Having a certificate, degree or experience will make you a more attractive candidate when applying for internships.
You will also need to be a proficient writer. As a concert promoter, promotional writing is a large part of the job. You can start by finding blogs and sites to practice and publish some writing to build your portfolio.
You will also want to build a social media presence. You don’t need to become an influencer, but it would be helpful if you are labeled as someone who’s in the know on great events and great music. Networking with other individuals who are musicians and performers. This is your chance to learn the process when someone can’t afford to pay you.
Patience is Key
There are so many individuals with social media accounts and interest in portraying themselves as concert promoters now. If this is what you truly want to do, you’re going to need some patience.
Starting at the bottom with small events is ok, as long as you’re gaining valuable information about the process. In a perfect world, the occupation of concert promoter would be a side hustle and your day job would contribute to the same skillset until it’s viable to live off this income.
Three Essential Skills
To be a successful concert promoter, there are three areas where you should devote a large portion of your time to. The first being, mathematics. Budgets are not going to track themselves.
During your contract negotiations, promoters need to run the numbers of everything regarding the event. Understanding how spreadsheets work and becoming familiar with them is a must. Excel is one of the best software platforms for keeping track of absolutely anything.
The second area where you will want to spend some time is writing. Concert promoters are always writing. Some of the material they are responsible for involves press releases for media kits and social media content.
Though going to college is not necessary to become a concert promoter, it may not be a bad idea to take come communication and writing courses as these skills are highly valued in the industry.
And lastly, you’re going to want to pick up reading. Promoters tend to read a lot about the industry, business and marketing. Being aware of what is currently going on in the industry is a must. It will be hard for you to know this if you are not avidly searching for new information.
The most common question that comes up when thinking of becoming a concert promoter is, how much do they really make. When looking at some statistics, it shows that the salary range is $28,000-$187,000 per year with an average salary of around $76,000.
As you can see, the range is extremely wide. It’s important to know that only the top promoters who are booking massive festivals and concert tours are making the top of this tier. It could take years to move up to a point where your income is suitable to live off, but these are the things you should consider when deciding what you want to with your life.
With all this being said, the career path of becoming a concert promoter is tough, but the skills you will learn along the way will last you a lifetime. Communication and organization are skills that easily transfer over to almost any line of work. Remember, you got into this line of work because you enjoyed it. Put it the time and it will pay off.
Tie It All Together
If you are interested in learning more about the music business and how to become a successful concert promoter, Dark Horse Institute’s Music Business Program is a great way to take things to the next level when you are ready.