Concert promoters are generally responsible for all aspects of a live show.
They work either for large companies or for themselves.
They book acts and hire production crews, caterers, security personnel
and concession vendors. They handle merchandise sales, promotions and local
media events. They deal with facility managers and local government officials.
They make sure the acts arrive on time, are comfortable before the show
and get to their next gig on time. They supervise cleanup after a show and
settle all outstanding bills. And only then can they go home -- only to start
all over the next day, looking and searching for acts that fit the local market.
Leslie LaForce is the marketing manager for a concert promotion company
in Wisconsin. She and her team promote all major rock concerts in the area.
She says she often works 80 hours a week.
Physical demands of the job, however, are minimal, says Chuck Caro. He
is an independent promoter from Syracuse, New York.
Those who suffer from some physical disabilities can find work in the concert
promotion industry because a lot of work is done in an office environment,
says Cindy Post. She is a promoter near Oklahoma City. And concert promoters
spend little time away from their local market.
But there is no question that the life of a concert promoter is pretty
hectic and stressful. After all, they are responsible for making sure everything
goes smoothly. But if it does not go well and loses money, they will have
to bear all the costs.
"I would not recommend going into this industry," says Gary Bongiovanni.
He is the editor of Pollstar, a trade magazine on the concert industry. "It's
an excellent way to lose a lot of money."
It is not unusual for concert promoters to lose $100,000 on a single show,
he says. That means concert promoters must find the right artists at the right
Current record sales are obvious measures of popularity. The reputation
and history of an act will also influence ticket sales. Concert promoters
must have a nose for up-and-coming acts.
Finding talent is kind of like playing the stock exchange, says Markian
Saray. He is an independent promoter. That means you book an act when its
price is low with the hope that it will pay off later as it becomes more popular.
Saray speaks from first-hand experience. He had a chance to book Lou Vega
before his song Mambo No.5 made him a big star. He did not because he did
not want to take a risk. But there is no question he learned from that experience.
He went out of his way to book a relatively unknown band from Italy called
Eiffel 65 just before its song Blue was becoming a hit across North America,
even though he does not like that song, or that type of music.
Steve Litman is an independent promoter in St. Louis. He says you can go
broke quickly trying to impose your personal taste upon the public. "I promote
a lot of things that I personally think are awful," he says. "But if people
want to buy the ticket, that's the way it is."
Most importantly, concert promoters must understand their local markets,
says Cynthia Wallace. She is the director of the North American Concert Promoter
Association. "You have to know the value of the talent in your marketplace
in order to cut a reasonable deal," she says.