Promoters and Indie Artists.
The original source of an indie musician and artist’s income in ancient times was through live performances. The performer, talent agent, venue operator, personal manager and promoter are five major players profiting from the live music process. You may read about this in detail in my blog The History of Indie Music. The manager becomes an important person with expanded duties including public relations, if the artist or band becomes successful.
After achieving some success, when an indie band starts touring, the agents draft contracts for venue operators and promoters in the process of finalizing the shows. This happens when the artist or band has agreed with the manager on booking the tour and the manager contacts agents with the tour itinerary. Agents act as a bridge between venues and managers and have contacts locally, regionally and even nationally. Because of their relationships with the right people and their contacts in the industry, they are responsible for end to end planning of the tour, in coordination with the manager. They get approximately 10% of the income from shows that have been booked by them. They can either work independently or as a part of larger organizations.
Marketing and presenting live entertainment events is mostly done by Promoters as part of larger event promotion organization. They contact appropriate venues, as yet another middleman, and get available dates for the tour or performance. Promoters have an agreement with the performers which is completed in two steps – one, settling on the fee structure, dates and other basic features and two, preparing detailed draft of the artist’s accommodation and other important points. Once the deal has been signed, Promoters get going on advertising the tour or event. In my blog How to Become a Better Indie Artist, I have talked about how getting a publisher for your work helps indie artists. Publishers charge exorbitantly, true, get them still. They will make sure you are connected to someone who knows more than you about making records. It is always good to know the experts. You get to learn by absorbing all the knowledge and become better at art. Publishers also get you connected with promoters. When you contact a label for publishing your music, it gets you connected with a lot of pros in writing lyrics, recording, business development, marketing, branding and distribution. All of them work together to make an indie artist’s music a success. If you think you know a bit about all of these, know also that it just makes you the jack of all trades. If you think that you have made good music and the radio will be able to get you listeners, you are living in a different era.
The contract that a promoter gets for the performer or indie artist, has an agreement with the host venues for details of the event. A promoter tries to get the best deal for the artist, in terms of cost for renting the space, inclusion of as many services as possible from the venue, like clearing cost post event, equipment, electricity, staff, etc. The Promoter might even be able to get you and himself a percentage of the ancillary merchandise sold at the show. You might wonder why a venue would agree to provide so many services for the event. The reason is footfall. Let’s say you are famous and performing at a cafe. Your event is working as free advertising for the café, as well as they are profiting from the sale of eatable products that happen during your performance. Once you become more famous and the venue is sure that the performance is going to be really profitable, they may even do a bit of promotion for your event themselves.
In the best of their times, labels would only participate in the live entertainment side of the industry if it helped promote the sales of records. With less-famous artists, labels would financially support tours if they saw a possibility of increase in sales of record music through the expanded audience that the artist would get by touring. However, with the impact of internet on the industry, the labels were compelled to experiment vertical integration due to steep decline in record sales in the early 2000s. They started helping promote tours and in return revised the contracts to subsequently include a portion of revenues from live music.
In my next blog I will discuss the recent developments in this area in detail. Please share your experiences and I will add them to my future posts.
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