There Has to Be A Better Way
Life as a live event promoter typically is full of to-dos that can involve dozens of people, from artists, agents and their teams to management assistants, PR pros, production teams, venue teams, marketers and more. If the endless phone calls don’t kill you, keeping up with all the emails just might. And how about those spreadsheets? Those are always fun to maintain. Promoters can spend the bulk of their day just trying to stay organized and on top of things, but it’s exhausting. Going back and forth between emails and spreadsheets, calculators and documents, faxes and accounting software isn’t fun, but it’s all you’ve got, right?
Well, not so fast. Music promoter software aims to change how live music is promoted. Sure, the industry is changing as far as how shows are marketed, but all of the tasks required to throw a show are a constant burden for most. As such, music promoter software is finally becoming more commonplace and giving live music industry professionals a much-needed break.
What is Music Promoter Software?
In a word, music promoter software is automation. The software connects to or provides all of the various systems you use every day into a single, integrated platform you can access from anywhere. You don’t have to be tied to your desk to get work done. You can do it all from your desk, straight from your mobile device at the show, on a flight or on the other side of the globe. You also don’t have to deal with manual data entry, cross-checking or duplicating tasks.
According to WorkMarket’s 2020 In(Sight) Report, 53 percent of employees say they can save up to two work hours a day (240 hours per year) through automation, and 78 percent of business leaders believe automation has the potential to free up to three work hours per day (360 hours per year). Forbes calculates the total annual potential savings for a company who embraces automation could be in the millions of dollars. That should get your attention, especially as margins continue to shrink.
Ready to dig in? Take a little time to do your homework. There are several options when choosing music promotion software. Here are a few things to look for in your search. Keep in mind that how you do business matters. You may do things a bit differently than a fellow promoter, so before you start looking for software, start with the following three steps:
1. Assess Your Systems and Applications
What systems and applications are you using right now to promote your shows? Would you be surprised to know that small companies, on average, run an average of 22 applications? Take a good look at how you communicate with venues, partners, agents, artists and anyone else required to put on the show. How many systems of record do you use? How do you keep track of ticket sales? Holds? Settlements? Financials? Are any of these systems integrated? Write it all down. You’ll need this later.
2. Assess Your Time
Most live music promoters have long days and even longer nights. Wouldn’t it be great to get some of your time back? How much time are you spending organizing, planning and putting on a show? Where is that time devoted? This is an important step because many music promoters find they are spending the bulk of their time performing manual tasks. Like a food journal, spend a week writing down how your time is spent and see if you can identify patterns. You may be shocked to see how much time you’re potentially wasting just looking for things in emails and updating spreadsheets.
3. Imagine Your Dream Scenario
This may sound silly, but this practice is actually quite helpful. In a perfect world, how would you like to see your day go? Do you enjoy going back and forth between applications? If you had a piece of software you designed yourself, what would it enable you to do? What would you do with any extra time the software may provide you? Write it down.
4 Things to Look for In Music Promoter Software
The next part of the assessment moves to the actual features of the software. With steps one through three documented, you can take a more precise look at the various music promoter software options to determine which ones offer the capabilities you most need.
I put this front and center because not may music promoter software products have this component. It’s a game changer and you’re going to want it. It will keep track of all of your expenditures, income, ticket sales and more in one place, plus provide invaluable analysis to give you a big-picture view of the health of your business with drill-down capabilities to see the details. You should be able to see both historical and forward-looking data to show how much money flows in and out. Settlements should automatically upload into the tool, no manual entry required.
The financial component will allow you to create more accurate budgets and forecasts based on reliable historical data and then make smarter decisions that come from actual financials and not just your gut. You’ll eliminate the need for those ridiculous spreadsheets as all of your money is automatically tracked with every ticket sale, every marketing expenditure, and every other credit and debit.
Email may be the standard, but how frustrating is it to know someone sent you something important and then have to dig through dozens and dozens of emails to find it. It’s hard to know what was sent when, when the last correspondence was, and if things were resolved.
Software geared for a music promoter will have a communication tool that archives all conversations under individual topics, clients or shows, enabling you and your team to see the entire stream of conversation in one place. Be sure the software allows you to connect your team and stakeholders to the same platform so you all experience the same efficiencies and are working from the same source of truth. You should be able to control access to sensitive information, enabling outsiders to see only what you want them to see.
We all live and die by our calendars, right? Your promoter software should offer a killer calendar that combines your holds requests with all of your appointments. When a hold is accepted, it will automatically place it into your calendar so you don’t have to. It will, of course, have all of the expected calendar features, as well, easily replacing whatever tool you currently use or, at least, connect to the calendar you prefer.
The best part about the calendar management feature is that if you connect your team to the platform, you can easily share what’s going on without having to call or email each other. Everyone is working from the same calendar that is integrated with the collaboration tool for seamless efficiency and productivity.
When your shows are over, everyone has to get paid. A settlement component will enable you to automate the entire process for faster payouts, better documentation and accurate accounting. You should be able to see an instant summary of all payments made, what you still owe and what’s still owed to you. Be sure your music promoter software allows you to calculate accurate tax payments and other variable expenses so you never have to worry if you overpaid or underpaid your artists.
The settlement component must tie back into your financials, too. Remember, the key to any “solution” is that it makes your life easier. You shouldn’t have to take data from one system and then manually transfer it to another system. All of the data should be automatically updated to reduce redundancy and human error.
The Bottom Line
What if you like some of the systems you’re used to? Any music promoter software worth the investment will offer one-click integrations with whatever tools you already use or depend on, like a calendar, ticketing platform and task management systems. Imagine every ticket sale automatically updates your financials? That’s progress.
By automating business processes, you save time and money booking shows. It’s that simple. You have one source of truth in real-time and it’s always accessible in the cloud. You’re more organized, productive and profitable because you’re no longer wasting time on inefficient processes. Artists love it because they’re paid on time. Venues love it because they can manage your requests quickly and with fewer resources. Everyone wins.