Tag Archives: Promoters

Promoters Need to Promote More…. WTF?


One of the great lies I hear from bands that haven’t made in the music business is that promoters don’t promote enough for their shows. Really? A PROMOTER whom by title and definitions job it is to promote isn’t promoting enough? I call a serious BS to this excuse that musicians use to not be accountable for their poor numbers. I have yet to meet either as a musician or a business person a promoter that didn’t promote. We are talking 30 years of playing or working in the business and I have never seen this. Even the small promoters work their fingers to the bone, pay the bands with what little came in and always go home with nothing while the bands bitch and complain and pretty much did no promotion what so ever.

It is my contention that most musicians don’t know what promotion truly is and wouldn’t recognize it if they saw it and they have no idea what is going on in the background. Is this harsh? Yes, but it is my experience dealing with musicians.

So let’s get this out of the way early. Yes, there are exceptions where maybe a promoter is new or doesn’t know what they are doing or maybe doesn’t have a budget but this is not what you normally deal with. Even still people who are promoting an event are usually very excited about their event and will promote it the hilt to the best of their ability which I can not say about musicians. Yes there are a few musicians out there that get it, but the majority don’t and they make excuses as to why they there are no people at their shows.

First and foremost, promoters are not in the business of losing money. Promoters are in the business of making money. They aren’t into taking chances and throwing away hard earned dollars by throwing an event and not promoting it. That is just plain stupid and not even close to reality. If you as a musician have met a promoter that is into throwing money away and you worked with them, then that is your fault for making a bad business decision. Hopefully you have learned form it and know what questions to ask next time.

As far as promoters taking advantage of local bands again a load of BS. If you are a local band, and you were lucky enough to get a spot on an event that has money behind it, you are already getting more than you are worth in advertising and promotion alone. It builds your brand, your credibility and if you actually drew in the minimum of 30 paid tickets you should be drawing in, then you will be remembered and brought in again and again as long as your work your butt off and keep brining in numbers. This does lead to getting paid and much better opportunities for you. If you are a local band opening for a A level or B level band, you are getting paid by getting in front of the audience that paid to see the headliner not you. This is a crowd that would never normally come see you. Understand the opportunity that it is, the opportunity you couldn’t normally afford to pay for yourself and make the most of it.

I can’t tell you how many times I stood in front of Bridgestone arena during a big concert by myself handing out promo cards while not one of the band members helped or how many times I was out ever day hanging posters and no help from the bands. 3 times I had a tiny bit of help hanging posters from 1 musician who did one small area of town with me and 2 others where a model and a friend helped me to 2 square blocks. Everything else was me every day hanging posters and hitting a previous area again every third day. The bands always had an excuse as to why they couldn’t help.

Promoters have their events listed on all the known event websites. They get their events in all the local entertainment rags. They set up radio interviews and advertising. They do email blasts over and over again. They have social media accounts that they promote on. They hang posters all over town over and over again because posters are always pulled down. This more promotion per event then most bands will do in a year for themselves let alone for just one event. What do musicians do? Maybe a couple Facebook posts or tweets and call that promotion.

In a perfect world, each event will be promoted to the hilt by the promoter, venue and bands. Will this happen? Maybe, maybe not. The reality is this. Each musician or band is responsible for their success and the success of each event no matter what anyone else does. You can never rely on someone else’s promotion for your business. YOU have to kill it each and every time. YOU cannot let excuses creep into your thought process. People pay to see bands that are good, the pay to see an experience. If they aren’t paying to see you, it’s not because of a lack of promotion by the venue or promoter. It’s because you aren’t giving them what they want yet. They don’t see anything worth paying for. YOU as a band have to learn how to separate people from their money. YOU have to learn how the become the EVENT that makes them put other things off and come see you instead of a movie or handing with friends.

As a promoter we have to do the same thing however, promoters learn quickly usually and bands seem to languish in poor work ethic and lack of creativity.

Bottom line is this. YOU have to toot your own horn and not expect anyone else to. YOU have to learn the skills to make this happen. YOU have to have a band that is dedicated to putting together a strategy to promote effectively. This means everyone in the band has to participate and quit using the “that just isn’t my thing” excuse. If you are in a band and you find that you don’t have the drive or the time to make this happen, then it is time re-evaluate your business and maybe step aside or just be comfortable with being a local band. There is nothing wrong with that. Getting up and playing music for any number of people is it’s own reward.

The music business isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago. There is very little money it, especially for bands that haven’t made it. Musicians wanted control of their careers so they could make more money and not get screwed. Well guess what, you got it. Now it is all your responsibility. The real work, the hard work is now up to you and you live and die by the sword.

Now you know why, bands had contracts that paid other people so much. They were the ones making you successful. They did all the hard work, the grunt work. They were the ones taking the risk and fronting the money so you could be a rock star.

Time to make a decision. Either you want it and will do everything as a unit possible to make it or you won’t, but quit blaming others for what you are not willing to do for yourself.

To all the bands that are doing it, keep it up! Never give up! Take the reigns of your business and do your best to dictate your success!

Good luck!

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White Noise… How To Seperate Yourself From It.


The latest entry in my vBlog featuring my thoughts on separating yourself from the white noise we create on social media to our friends and family. Please share and comment!

 

 


The Disconnect Between Musicians and Promoters Part 2


Let’s break it down a little bit so that maybe I can shed some light on what promoters are looking for in booking an opening act. First and foremost, this is definitely a “who do you know?” business. If you have the right connections or relationships, this will certainly be a lot easier for you. Some times it seems unfair but people will use people they like and trust before people they don’t. It’s your job to development this relationship and get your foot in the door.

Unfortunately most bands and artist just send an email and wait for a response and leave it at that. This shows no “real” interest in developing a relationship with a promoter or talent buyer and is pretty rote at this point in the game. Business people are looking for persistence, reliability, creativity and hard work. This is a very speculative business and so promoters are looking for artists that will make sure they deliver and help make sure the show doesn’t operate at a loss.

To get in good with a promoter, you need to try some creative ways to get noticed and get the gigs. They need to feel a sense of trust with you. Try setting up some social media campaigns early that get your fan base used to interacting with you in different types of promotional contests (These are things the promoters will see when checking you out). Then apply that to getting opening gigs. Especially when you have a opening spot already in line. Make sure you explain to your participants the seriousness of what you are asking them to do.

Let’s say you are opening for a band in your hometown. Supply the box office with a sheet of paper (with your band name on it and numbered already) and get all your fans to make sure they report to the box office they are there to see you and wouldn’t have bought tickets if you weren’t on the bill. After the show, get that paper and show it to the promoter, talent buyer or in house manager (take a pic first in case they keep it). It is essential you start building up your rep for hard work and bringing people out.

Another idea is prep your fans before the show by saying after you perform, you will be at your merch booth and want all your fans to come and bring their tickets stubs. Have them initial the front of them and take a pic of all them together. Obviously these are things you can email to promoters, put on social media (be prepared for every other band to copy you) and start building your street cred as the band to hire for the gig. This is also a great way for your fans to participate in your success and make sure they know that appreciate their help and support. You can’t do this with out them. This also helps people decide which show they want to spend their money on. One with a serious band they like where they can help or just another show where the band will show up, play, and act like they are the stars and probably bail before the concert is over.

This will also help people at the show who were on the fence about you or are maybe just showing up decide to check out your booth. Having all the people around you and the excitement they see going on while you are gathering ticket stubs will help you to get these “undecided’s” to the booth and hopefully by your CD or spend time talking to you. You are now developing new fans. You see, your time on stage isn’t the only time you are developing new fans. You job the whole time you are there is to development new fans and maximize every opportunity in front of you to do so.

As you can see, none of this is hard. It may be a bit time consuming having to interact on social media but you are supposed to be having original content to post anyway and this helps fill that hole. The idea is to be creative and PROVE you are the band to bring on board. This may take prep work as described above but this is business. You are a business. You need to start acting like one.

Good Luck!

You can also read this and some of my other articles at http://www.metalholic.com.

David Lowry is the President of The Lowry Agency, a full service artist management agency that works with musicians, speakers, entertainers, actors and models based in Nashville, TN. The Lowry Agency’s roster includes Mike Martin, Rob Balducci, Neil Zaza and Jon Finn. For more information please contact The Lowry Agency at http://www.thelowryagency.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Stepping Over the Process…. is it Realistic?


First let me just say this blog is in response to what keeps coming across my email or phone conversations. This isn’t an attempt to come down on artists but an attempt at maybe setting some realistic expectations. I have been receiving a lot of phone calls from artists either out of frustration with other band members or from artists that think they can just step over the process of touring and building/rebuilding a fan base. I guess anything is possible but it’s not likely to happen even if you have had success in the past. This is not the same industry many of us grew up with and we can’t keep assuming that because 20 years ago the artists had a hit or toured the world with so and so band that people have any interest in us or care about our music at all. Artists call with no budget, no new music, no website or one that has been “in development” for years expecting that they can just go on the road and make thousands per show because 20 or more years ago they had a minor hit or two. It’s not going to happen. Current artists with hits on the radio are making $2,000 guarantees a lot of times and yet artists that haven’t had a hit since 1992 that want $8,000 or more a show. You better be a legacy act with huge hits from the past that are still played on the radio to demand that kind of money or more. I know how expensive touring is, but the money isn’t there for touring with artists with no active history or fan base that will support the necessary tour numbers for there to actually be a profit. This is when a band or artist has to suck it up and either rebuild for little money, try something completely different or maybe decide this isn’t for them anymore and do something in music that doesn’t require touring for small dollars.

For example, the first thing I am asked by anyone in a position of helping is “What do they have going on?” Many times the answer is nothing (note that when artists come to us or anyone else for help they have this notion that 3 months is an expected amount of time to make things happen), they have no new music, no tour dates, outdated photos and websites. How do you expect anyone to help you if this is your state of business and you don’t take the time to get it right before approaching anyone? The second thing is “Do they have a budget?” The answer is almost always no and people understand if times have been rough on the career but it’s amazing how many artists are not willing to put money into their own career but expect others to. If the artist doesn’t  have a budget then almost no one is willing to help and people can’t giving away their services for free. Video EPK’s cost money, photography costs money, etc… but artists are always hoping people will help them for free and then expect that things happen in a short time period. For the person that is connected like Irving Azoff and has his resources this is possible, for the rest of the “real” music world it probably isn’t. Music is a very speculative business to begin with and no one is looking to lose money on an artist no matter how much success he or she may have had in the past. As much as people love some of these artists, he or she needs to get paid as well and they can’t work for free or spend time with unrealistic artists that can’t or won’t rebuild career realistically if there is no interest in them at all.

Just because an artist may have had success in the past doesn’t mean they get a free pass of touring the bar circuit again and starting over. Yes that means rebuilding your fan base and getting paid very little most of the time. If you can’t do that then maybe playing isn’t for you anymore. I know we all have bills to pay but money is in short supply and investors want a return on investment. They don’t want to support an artist that hasn’t been on tour in 10 or more years and won’t draw 150+ people to a show. You as an artist are in the position you are in because you let yourself get there. You chose to not tour, you chose to not listen to your team or possibly choosing the wrong team. It could be a lot of different reasons for your situation and many of those may not be your fault, but it’s still your job to be realistic and make things happen with today’s current landscape, not what was possible 20 years ago when people were throwing money around like it was water.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself with unrealistic expectations. For example, if you think a major label is going to sign you, fund your tour and you’re a prog rock band, think again. No label is going to fund that tour unless you already have a huge fan base and more than likely you will just get shelved as prog rock probably isn’t there thing at this label. Most prog rock bands aren’t huge and most likely never will be. If you get a label interested in your music, at least entertain the idea and not shoot it down because you think a major is going to offer you something when you won’t even play shows because you don’t make any money on them. Do you know why you don’t make any money? Because you have absolutely NO FAN BASE at all. Who is going to fund a tour for a band with no fan base these days? Please tell me so I can call them up.

There are no shortcuts normally in this business. Take Mike Portnoy for example. One of the most popular and talented drummers in the world, who has a large fan base from his history as a musician and still he and his current project “Adrenaline Mob” are playing clubs to a couple hundred people a show. He knows he has to build this band no matter who he is and he is willing to put his money and time into it. Even someone as relevant as Mike has to work it the hard way sometimes.

If you are a musician reading this, please consider where you are at in your career. If you are in a band but won’t tour because your “cover gig” is paying more money, than back out of the band and let the band find someone hungry enough to make it happen. If you are an artist with a past but currently not where you were a long time ago, then ask yourself “how bad do I want this?” If you won’t play for smaller guarantees then you need to book yourself and stop making people’s lives difficult who are trying to help your career because you can’t be bothered with playing for smaller amounts of money. You are only as big as your last gig or chart success in the current times, not 20 years ago.

There is a process almost everyone has to go through. You are more than likely going to have to go through it as well. If you can’t or won’t, get out of the way for those that will and let your band move on with people who want it bad enough to put up with the crap of the road and bar tours.

Good luck!


The Disconnect Between Musicians and Promoters Part 1


You hear it all the time from musicians. “Why won’t they book me for an opening act?” “How come they got the spot and we didn’t?”, or “the promoter didn’t do his job” even “the promoter screwed me or didn’t know what they were doing.” etc…. This is obviously a one sided opinion, and from my experience one that is very, very misleading. Many artists have little or no experience in promoting a show, or have an idea what it costs; they just want to blame someone for things not going right, without ever looking at what they bring or don’t bring to the table.

Granted there are instances where maybe a promoter didn’t know what they were doing or maybe there were a small company with very little cash flow to do an amazing job of advertising the show, but that is a risk we all take and like all bands, promotion companies have to start somewhere and grow as well. This is why working as a team is incredibly important and any acts associated with a bill, should be doing everything in their power to work with the promoter and make the show as successful as possible.

I find this can be very frustrating, knowing how much work and money it takes to put on one single show. For a 1,500 seat venue, this can become extremely time consuming and expensive for the risk involved, and a marginal profitable return on the investment. To have a small time musician/band say that the promoter didn’t do their job is completely asinine. First of all, the musician/band probably has no idea what it really takes to make one of these shows happen, and secondly, what an opportunity it is for the band to even get a spot on this when someone else is paying for your opportunity and the big media. Most opening bands should realize by now that their job is to put butts in seats or they have no business opening a show for anyone. They should be able to bring in at least 40 to 50 people to each opening or they shouldn’t complain at all.

To put on a show of this size can run from $50,000 up to over $100,000 depending on the type of venue, marketing, guarantee etc… It takes at least 60 – 90 days worth of work, negotiations, planning and so forth to get these things going. When a band is given an opportunity to open a show, many times they don’t deliver and don’t work the opportunity for all it’s worth.

Promoting the show is so important. I am not talking about Facebook posts or the other white noise that you are putting out. I am talking about getting promotional materials, getting off your butt, and doing your job. You should be out on the streets consistently promoting and showing everyone that you are the band to hire for opening spots. Getting the promoter, venue and others to notice you is as important as performing on stage. Doing everything you can to get your fans to purchase tickets to come see you at this event, and then deliver the best show you can that night no matter what the circumstances is the ultimate goal.

Remember, the promoter doesn’t owe you anything. They gave you a shot and if you don’t deliver, it’s no ones fault but your own. Once you do the show, if you happen to deliver and get butts in the seat, then you need to learn to turn that into other opportunities.

In the next blog we will talk about ideas you can do to not only get the opening spots but to also get people to the show but also how to possibly get more out of the show than just exposing your music to a new audience.

Good luck!

You can also read this and some of my other articles at http://www.metalholic.com. http://metalholic.com/the-disconnect-between-musicians-and-promoters-part-1/