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The art of being a promoter

The promoters I know seem to really love their profession. Why wouldn’t they love it? The most successful ones make incredible money. 
 Carlee McCullough

The promoters I know seem to really love their profession. Why wouldn’t they love it? The most successful ones make incredible money.

Since they are the ones giving the party, they are extremely popular and everyone knows their names. They control their work hours and work when they want to work because they are the bosses. They meet the most famous people in the world. When you boil it down to its most elemental level, they basically make money entertaining others.

But on the flip side, although it appears to be a fun role, it is hard work, high risk, and can be a highly expensive field to enter. The overall economic impact of the promotions business is one that has the potential to generate profits for most involved. Consider this:

When a concert is booked, the normal cycle of business involves a “pay day” for the venues, beverage companies, acts, managers, agents, insurance agents, local restaurants, caterers, ticket providers, printers, internet/radio/television/print advertising providers, security, equipment providers, and last but not least the promoter. After everyone is paid in full, the promoter takes what is left and hopefully at the end of the day it is a profit.

But what exactly is a promoter?

A promoter holds the total responsibility of presenting a concert, product, event, festival or club night. The required duties include: securing the talent; paying the talent; providing for the talents’ travel expenses, hotel, and food; renting the venue; paying for advertising, promotions, security, insurance and any other related expenses that may arise.

Successful promoters

P. Diddy started out as a party promoter in college and this served as the catalyst for his success. He garnered the many skills needed to be successful in promoting, and expertly applied the knowledge to music, clothes, cologne, and parties.

Often referred to as the master of self-promotion, Diddy is a walking example of just how far the promoter skill set can take you. Memphis has also seen its share of promoters and a few have demonstrated that they have longevity in the business. Fred Jones, Julius Lewis and Curtis Givens are all astute promoters that are venturing into other areas. This month we will have a conversation with promoters to learn the secrets to their success.

Meanwhile, let’s analyze the art of being a Promoter.

How do I enter the business?

A college degree is great because you would know the basics of business. However, it is not a necessity and you can learn on the job. Learn the trade by interning with a local promoter. Start slow and promote a small event, concert or play. Get to know your market and what type of entertainment they prefer.

What is necessary to become a successful promoter?

The basic equipment needed includes: telephone, fax, or email address because communication is a necessary element of the business. The most successful promoters are ambitious and focused on the dollar. They are very organized, assertive, outgoing, aggressive and creative. You need a business plan so that you can get the focus necessary to be successful.

How do I fund an event?

The business plan lays out the budget, which should include all costs associated with the event. Like any other startup business venture, look to savings, investors, family and friends to support your event. Keep in mind, many corporations look to sponsor events as well.

What supporting staff do I need?

Since contracts, invoices and money are flowing rapidly, your supporting team needs to include the services of an accountant and a lawyer. Entering a bad deal can kill your business before it even gets started. But not being able to account for your revenues and expenses defeats the purpose of being in business.

Now how do I promote?

While there is no guaranteed method, understanding your target market and how to reach them is the first step in promoting. From Internet sites, word of mouth, flyers, television, radio, and print, the possible combination of marketing is varied.

My event bombed. Now what?

A crucial part of being a promoter is learning from the failures. There will obviously be events that could be considered a failure due to many factors. Assess the failures and grow from them. Try not to make the same mistakes over and over again. Connect with your clients and they can guide your path.

(Please send your questions to Carlee McCullough, Esq., Contract Compliance Officer, City of Memphis-Office of Contract Compliance, 125 N. Main St., Suite 546, Memphis, TN 38103 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)


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