One of the most advantageous relationships an artist or band can have is with a promoter. At the local level, there seems to be a mystery as to what exactly the promoter does. “Does the promoter promote? Shouldn’t the promoter be responsible for bringing all the people if I’m putting everything into the music end?” These questions resemble those I hear from local artists on a semi-frequent basis. While that logic may seem like it makes a lot of sense, it can ultimately hurt the artist in the long run.
To answer the question; yes the promoter promotes. However, the promotional push varies at different levels based on the expected effectiveness of the promotion. For example, a large national act or regional touring band has a recognizable name. If I’m promoting a show with a headlining act with a solid fan base, investing in print ads, radio spots, and other means of advertising may make a lot of sense. The average concertgoer will see that name and make it a point to go to that show. The context of the promotional push is much less important at this level. Whether you see a Facebook post from your favorite band or a flyer at your bus stop, you’re going to that show regardless of how you found out about it.
At the local level, it may be a completely different story. Local promoters frequently encounter bands that are looking to get their foot in the door and are still working on building a solid fan base in their hometown. They’re completely focused on the music, and spend 99% of the time before their scheduled show practicing and honing their sound. Of course, practicing and putting on the best show possible is something that should be a primary focus. However, it goes back to the saying “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” This is the same premise with a live show. If a band plays a flawless set, but the only people there to hear it are bartenders at the venue, was it really a live show? Truthfully speaking, you may be able to salvage some kind of benefit from this scenario, but it’s almost as if you just moved the location of your practice onto a stage, and that has very little benefit to your band.
The reality of the situation is that the local band developing their fan base lacks the notoriety of a regional or national act. The fans most likely to go to see this band are people who know the band, be it family, friends, classmates, or co-workers. This is where most bands start. At this level, it makes much more sense for the band to reach out to these people rather than the promoter. The band knows EXACTLY who these people are, and can reach them more effectively. If the promoter makes the same push for the local act as they would for the regional or national act, it may not have any added benefit. For this type of show, the promoter may scale back and do things like flyers and “let-outs” (waiting until a show is over and passing out small handbill flyers to each person who leaves.)
…continue reading on Hypebot.
Image via Anthea Christensen