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How Do Today’s Concert Promoters Find Artists?

Being a concert promoter can be one of the most rewarding roles in live music management, but it’s also one of the most varied and challenging. A passion for going where the music takes you is a must! However, we’ve noticed that the best promoters tend to balance passion and spontaneity with a bedrock of organizational skills. The beating heart of the gig, however, is finding the right acts to fit your goals and abilities. There’s no guaranteed path to success, but a versatile approach based on excellent networking skills can help you locate the musicians in need of your expertise.

Using a variety of networking and research channels can make a huge difference as a concert promoter. And while everyone knows that a social media presence is mandatory in live music, how can you best capitalize on the trend? What other outlets should you be using to find the next up-and-coming artist before another promoter does? By knowing where to look, improving organization, and being ready for the next opportunity, a concert promoter can thrive.

Concert promoters: An irreplaceable part of the live music world

Concert promoters exist at the intersection of art and business. One of the primary jobs of any music professional is to help artists translate their talent into success in the real world—and this mission is one of the essential functions of the concert promoter.  As a promoter, you are responsible for constructing and executing a business plan that takes the idea of live music and makes it a practical and sustainable reality for everyone involved. 

The role can vary dramatically and promoters might be responsible for pulling together a concert, a festival, or a massive tour with many moving pieces that need consistent, accurate tracking. As some industry experts point out, organizational and financial skills may not be the sexiest part of the business; however, these skills are often the lifeblood of a successful concert promoter’s work. This entire process begins with finding artists ready to benefit from your expertise.

Working all angles of social media to find artists

It’s no exaggeration to say that a social media presence can make or break a career in live music. For a concert promoter, the various social channels are often ground zero for hunting down talent. But, what should you be looking for as a promoter that’s searching for the next great band to bring your skills and expertise to?

Related: What to expect from the event promotion and concert industry in 2023

Beyond the mandatory musical talent, an artist or band should reflect an attitude of professionalism and experience on their platforms. Social media can help promoters balance talent evaluation with their broader business mission. Some musicians – even ones with a lot of potential – might simply not be at the stage of their career where you can help them. Observing a band’s commitment to maintaining a social presence is a basic part of doing your homework as a promoter.

It’s also vital to check beyond the most prominent platforms, as many musicians are building reliable fan bases outside of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Be flexible and keep an eye out for the next platform that can help musicians connect with their fans. Some smaller yet valuable platforms to watch include:

  • Periscope
  • Bandcamp

Keeping up with new and upcoming social media trends can put you ahead of the curve when looking for the right artists.

Helping artists find you

While you’re peering into the careers of a promising new band, your own social media outlets must also be in top shape. Musicians and agencies will likely inspect your socials as you begin to make contact, making it critical that everything is professional and current. Even if they don’t expect you to be a social media expert, project the image of a successful promoter who can be a valuable partner.

A confident, professional social persona can encourage artists to reach out to you instead of requiring you to dig for talent. The less time you need to spend on talent discovery, the better positioned you will be to handle the business you already have in place.

The upside of networking at music industry conferences and events

A promoter can find excellent networking opportunities at the many music industry conferences that fill the calendar. Consider conferences that fit your niche and those that help you expand your horizons into fresh territory.

In addition to hearing some great new artists and mingling with booking agents and managers, you can find mentor sessions, workshops, and various events designed to connect industry professionals. Conferences are also great ways to meet with record label representatives and publishers who typically work with a vast network of artists.

RELATED: Tips for booking agents to keep track of artists and financials

Whether you’re looking to meet new artists, expand your contact list, or stay on top of industry trends, music industry conferences and events can benefit a concert promoter at any level. If you’re going to top-tier conferences and have yet to make the headway you hoped for in terms of networking, it may be time to revise your game plan and try again.

Music festivals and concerts

One of the more obvious places to find artists is at music festivals, but they’re obvious for a reason. Beyond mere talent discovery, festivals can give you other valuable insights into a musician or a band. You can see if their talents fit the live environment, whether they’re fully connecting with their fans, or whether their setlist works as well as it should. While everyone wants to find the next big talent, concert promoters can learn much more about an artist than just their musical ability when they see a band play at a music festival.

The same is true for a concert or other live show, whether a major event or a smaller gathering at a local hotspot. A watchful promoter goes into these shows ready to evaluate how well a musician matches the venue and live atmosphere. If a talented band is an awkward fit for the stage they’re currently on, a savvy promoter can envision bringing them to one where they can flourish.

How can you maximize your footprint at a music festival or a concert? It can be challenging to network with a manager or show producer during the chaos of an ongoing event. Often, the experienced promoter will have minimal direct contact with a band or representative during a festival or concert—but be ready to gather the information you need to follow up at the soonest possible opportunity.

Fan feedback can lead you to an under-the-radar artist

The modern live music landscape certainly comes with plenty of challenges, but one of the best developments—from a concert promotion standpoint—is the visibility of the fans. Instead of a faceless mob of excited fans that were typical of past eras, today’s fan bases are much easier to observe. While doing their social media homework, many concert promoters will keep an eye on what the fans are and are not saying about the band.

This type of fan feedback can be highly telling in various ways. Suppose a promoter is convinced of a musician’s talent and marketability but sees tepid fan reactions to live events. In that case, the reactions may signal that the musician needs a fresh outlet for their ability. An electrifying response to a band still playing at smaller venues invites a promoter to find them a bigger stage. No matter what phase of a musician’s career, the fans can often light the path for the experienced concert promoter.

Combining spontaneity with organization in concert promotion

Concert promoters rightly have the reputation of being go-getters who are always on the move. But while their ability to search for talent is a vital part of their job, being able to see the musician within a broader business picture is what ensures success in one of the most demanding gigs in the business. When looking for artists, concert promoters can maximize their search by being well-versed in all the available channels and methods.

Even with a solid ability to find new artists, long-term success for concert promoters requires a stellar underlying organizational skillset. When pulling together financials and offers, today’s best music management and booking software can lighten the burden and help promoters stay focused on driving their business forward.

With a platform built by music professionals who know the pressures of the industry, Prism can provide the ideal solution for promoters who don’t want to be slowed down by paperwork. To see how Prism can help your concert promotion business be more efficient, contact us today to schedule a demo.

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