Want more gigs? Want to learn what promoters look for? These questions and many more will be answered in this blog by a music promoter. We recently chatted with John from @austinmusiclove, (a music promoter from Austin, Texas), that while on the small side, has a similar vision to us, which is a true passion to help artists succeed. Therefore we took the opportunity to provide you some insight straight from John.
Can you share a little bit about yourself and what you do? I’m a lifelong musician and songwriter and I have a background in computer programming. I started a songwriting circle meetup to meet other musicians. I ran that group for a couple months, then I lost the space I was using for my meetups. So I went looking for a new way to make friends with musicians and others in the music scene. That’s when I started promoting.
How did you become a music promoter? I started by filming artists at shows and posting reels and stories to instagram. When the Instagram collab feature came out, I just started tagging artists as collaborators instead of just tagging them. Most artists accept because they’re happy to take the free media. Some are a bit more picky about what they post but that’s ok, I’m never offended if they don’t want to share or collab.
What does a music promoter do? I’ll speak for myself. I create media for artists primarily. I also book my own shows and promote them.
What makes an artist (or band) easy to work with? This is a great question. Communicating who you are and what you do is the big one for me. The easier it is for me to understand you by looking at your online presence, the better. I want to know your genres, and where you’re from. An Instagram grid full of your live performances or original music helps me understand what kind of performer you are. High quality photos and a well written bio help for advertising your shows. I especially like long bios that give me lots of information but still have a good first 2-4 sentences that can stand alone as your bio on an online event listing. I want all the info I can get but I also want a short version. Other than that, prompt communication of course is very helpful as well as persistence. If you keep hitting me up to promote your thing, I feel a lot more confident you’re gonna show up to the gig I book you for than the people who take days to respond. Same goes for posting a lot on social media. If you’re active online, it increases my confidence that you are about your business and will follow through.
What kind of information provided by an artist (or band) is something that you would like to know? Where they’re from primarily because I operate exclusively in Austin. I imagine a lot of promoters operate in a local area as well. Then I want to know your genres and I want to
see and hear your performances so I can get an idea of what kind of act you put on. If you have a band and do a solo set as well, that is valuable information. I want to know if you are on streaming platforms. And I want to know what your aspirations are. Are you trying to “make it” or just gig and collect cash by playing around town. Is this your “main thing” or a hobby.
What can an artist (or band) do to boost their live following? Not sure what is meant by live following. But if you mean actual fans in the local area rather than random followers on the internet that will never come to your show, then my answer is teaming up with other groups to put on your own show is a great idea. It doesn’t happen often and if you pull it off and you sound good, people will talk about you. Secondly, if you do start generating some buzz, keep a list of your fans. Emails, phone numbers. Anything. And find a way to persistently keep up with them without being self serving. You can be annoying, just don’t be self serving. I know it’s a pickle but as far as I have gathered, that’s the game of marketing your music in a city drowning in talent.
What is a common misconception that artists (or bands) believe music promoters are responsible for? In my case, I don’t think there are many misunderstandings. But one thing that I believe artists have to own is their own image. No matter who it is, it’s hard for an outside consultant to help you with that without making you lose authenticity. The way you talk, dress, act, etc. That’s up to you and is very important. The promotor can help broadcast it but creating your image is up to you.
What is a recent standout gig, and what made it so spectacular? Recently I put on a backyard concert with food and sponsored drinks. Tickets were about $60. It was an extremely cute event. We had servers, charcuterie boards, string lights, 2 artists, a sunset, and a great turn out. And the artists came a way with a nice pay day. Which is always the goal.
For artists (and bands) that want to get more gigs, what is your top tip for them? Make it easy for someone to understand what kind of act you are so that they know right away if you are appropriate for the event they’re booking for. Genre, group size, videos of your performances, high quality photos, where you’re from, etc.
What type of artists (or bands) are you looking for, and where can they contact you shall they be a fit? I am looking for anyone who is based in Austin. I prefer to be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. My IG inbox gets jammed up and messy.