12 July 2012

Promoters use their skills, contacts and extensive knowledge of the music industry to publicise acts, concerts and gigs.

Without successful promotion, musical acts are unlikely to succeed.
Without successful promotion, musical acts are unlikely to succeed.

What is the job like?

Without successful promotion, musical acts are unlikely to succeed. This is where promoters working in live events come in: using their skills, contacts and extensive knowledge of the music industry to publicise acts and concerts/gigs. You could be working in the popular or classical music sectors.

The work varies according to the level at which you are working but can include:

  • Preparing promotional campaigns, using a variety of means which could include websites, DVDs and podcasts
  • Writing press releases and other promotional material, and dealing with graphic designers and printers
  • Using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube for publicity purposes
  • Organising publicity for events, which could include artist interviews for radio/TV and personal appearances
  • Planning and managing budgets for live events, booking venues and managing the sales of tickets
  • Overseeing the production and sales of other publicity materials including t-shirts, posters and programmes
  • Working as part of a team with a wide range of other people.

You would normally be based in an office, but the work can involve extensive travel. The working hours are sometimes irregular, with evening and weekend work commonplace.

How do I become a promoter?

People come into promotions work via a variety of different routes, and many have extensive experience in the music business. Competition for jobs is fierce, and so it is important to get as much experience as possible that you can add to your CV.

Without successful promotion, musical acts are unlikely to succeed.

You can start by helping with the promotion and publicity of school or community music events – perhaps by designing a poster or helping to sell tickets. This could be for friends’ bands, or for choirs, orchestras and musical groups of all kinds.

Personal qualities are really important in this work. You will need excellent written and verbal communication skills, and be logical and creative. Promoters need to be good at problem-solving, and be very enthusiastic and self-motivated.

Many people start as a volunteer or intern, developing and expanding their knowledge of the music world and making contacts. This can sometimes lead to a permanent job.

What training and qualifications do I need?

Entry to any job in the music business is highly competitive, but don’t let this put you off. Dazzle employers with an eye-catching CV detailing all your relevant experience, skills and qualifications.

Academic entry qualifications for apprenticeships can vary, although most employers will look for a good standard of English and Maths as a minimum.

Qualifications or skills in IT are also useful. Your covering letter is also important; this could be hand-written or sent as an email. Either way, make sure that you stand out from the crowd.

Although academic qualifications for this career may not be essential, a background in business studies or marketing is an advantage. Courses that include music business management or live events promotion can also provide a useful background.

Courses include:

  • BTEC Level 2 Business Studies
    Entry with 2 GCSE (A-D) passes
  • BTEC Level 3 Business Studies
    Entry with 4 GCSE (A-C) passes
  • BTEC Level 3 optional unit
    Marketing and Promotion in the Music Industry, can be taken as part of Music or Music Technology Level 3 courses
  • HNC/D Music Business
    Entry with a minimum of 1/2 A levels or equivalent

There are many BA Hons and BMus degrees available. Those working in the classical music sector may hold the more traditional BMus degree, or may have degrees in marketing or a business-related subject. Other courses include BA Music and Live Events Management, Music Management, Live Music and Popular Music. Business Studies and Marketing courses are also relevant for this career.

The entry requirements for a degree course are a minimum of 2 A levels or equivalent, plus GCSE (A-C) passes to include English and often maths. Universities also look for people with a proven interest in the subject.

Apprenticeships can be a possible way into promotions work. Visit the creative apprenticeship website for opportunities.

What can I earn?

A typical starting weekly wage for an intermediate apprentice outside London could be £104 per week. This could increase to around £170 per week or more with experience during the apprenticeship.

Someone starting out in this industry as an assistant might earn between £12,000 and £16,000 and possibly more in London. If employed on a temporary basis they might earn around £200 a week as a starting wage.

With more experience salaries can rise to £25,000 and at the very top successful promoters can earn £60,000 plus, with bonus incentives on top.

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