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MUSIC BUSINESS ARTICLES
BUSINESS PLANS AND PROMOTING
PROMOTING GIGS AND EVENTS
by Billy Tweedie

Whether you are new to promotions or are well established, this guide
should make for useful reading and help minimise the chances of last
minute problems.

If you're a new promoter, you'll need to think carefully about your
overall plan of action. Ask yourself a few key questions:
What type of promotional work do I want to undertake? e.g. dance music,
venue based or over several venues?
Have I done my homework? Who are my competitors, are there any gaps in
the marketplace, what are people wanting to see promoted? Do I have any
start-up finance or am I going to develop my promotions from a small
start, just aiming to cover my costs? Or even aim to gamble with the
potentially massive profile of a big act with the costs covered in the
event of failure? If you're at all ambitious, you should develop a
Business Plan. 

The main areas which a business plan should cover are:
   - Description of the Business
   - Type of Business (sole trader, limited Company, Partnership or
		Co-Operative)
   - Analysis of the Marketplace and your competitors
   - Business Promotion and Marketing Strategy
   - Financial Plans, showing all costs and income, and cash flow
		projection showing whne you may need to borrow money.
   - Who's involved, what experience they bring, where the business will
		operate from, and what facilities it will use (equipment and services).

A Business Plan will be helpful in providing you with a clear focus. It
can also help in attracting finance from the private sector (e.g.
breweries) and other funders. However, its not essential if you are a
small promoter running a weekly club night or band event.

The main areas which you'll need to focus on as a promoter are:

DEALING WITH BANDS.
Developing Contacts.

Keeping up with the developments and trends in the local &   national
music scene. Watching what your competitors are doing, particularly in
the week before and after your event, including other demands on
peoples' "leisure time" such as sporting or other national events.
Booking gigs and negotiating money matters with artists or their
management / agents. Sorting out the logistics and production 
details of the gigs.

VENUE MANAGEMENT

This may be covered by other venue staff, but you'll need to know  who
is responsible for each and how much you'll be charged if the venue
provides the service:

    Venue Administration
   - staffing
   - licensing
   - health and safety checks
   - insurance liability
   - ticket sales
   - day to day office admin

    Finance
   - financing publicity
   - day to day venue running costs
   - future finding (a retailer, manufacturer or grant-giving
		organisation)
   - business sponsorship

    Building Maintenance and Decoration
   - repairs / maintenance
   - painting / decor
   - security
   - sound proofing

     EVENT PRODUCTION
    Technical Production
   - PA
   - lighting
   - staging
   - other facilities (toilets, access for equipment, dressing rooms,
		electricity supplies)

    Staffing
   - Front of House (Box Office, ushers)
   - Back stage (stage management, crew)
   - technical staff
   - catering, bar staff
   - security & door staff

    Catering
   - bar and hospitality
   - band rider

    Support acts

    Event scheduling
   - arrival times
   - sound check times
   - on stage times
   - transport & accommodation arrangements for
 		performers and crew
   - transport and parking for audiences


PUBLICITY & PROMOTION

 Press & Media Work
 Publicity materials (posters, flyers, etc.)
 Mailing lists
 Listings magazines (check their deadlines in good time)
 Distribution
 Advertising
 Word of mouth
 Ticket printing & distribution
 In smaller venues, pre-printed "raffle" type tickets or even
 photocopied tickets will suffice.
 
Larger venues will use more sophisticated (anti-copying) tickets and
computerised booking systems. Make sure that all the outlets that you
want are included in the ticketing system and that they give your
audience the correct information - especially if they run out of their
own supply of tickets. Monitoring of ticket sales (before and after the
gig) Remember that different publicity styles will be needed for certain
types of event. Always think carefully about your audience and how to
target them most effectively.

Once the venue or promotions set-up is established, its time to take
stock of how things are going. Review how you're getting on. Are you
meeting your targets? Do you need to adapt your plans? Do you need to
think about making improvements to your venue? Is your publicity 
effective? Perhaps the most difficult decision any promoter must 
consider is knowing when to cut their losses and abandon a gig, no matter 
how much money has already gone into it. The next stages
should then be:

Develop your profile.....

Don't rest on your laurels. Continue to build on your strengths and
rectify any weakness.

Develop your audience

Continue to find creative ways to target your audience...
Ensure you are financially secure and tap into any funding opportunities

Exploring new funding avenues if you are looking to expand. These could
include:

- The Lottery, your State's Arts Board
- your local authority (who will have a funding officer already
	knowledgeable about funds available in your particular location).
- Grant giving organisations, Foundations and Trusts.
- Business sponsors. Create a Sponsorship pack which you can easily
	adapt for a number of businesses who might be willing to assist you,
	usually in exchange for some marketing advantage to themselves - make a
	clear list of all the options and benefits you can offer them.
- Breweries, Clothing manufacturers / retailers, and other businesses
	trying to sell their product or service to your audience.
	If you're a small promoter you may simply decide to concentrate on
	further promotional and audience work.

Here's a quick review of points to remember:

1. Always be absolutely clear about what deal you are offering your
performers, the venue and what you are expecting from your staff and
your suppliers. Be clear about dates and times, about responsibilities
and logistics. Use a confirmation letter if possible, and don't delay in
confirming any arrangements or contracts that you are offered.

2. Constantly look at how you can develop the profile of your venue or
artist.

3. Invest time and energy in you promotional work, and don't leave it
until its getting too late. No publicity = no audience = no money.

4. Consider how you want audiences to talk about your venue, and ask
honest friends what they think of it. Think about what has to be done to
bring their opinions up to the standard you aim for. How would you
achieve remarks such as "Its the coolest place in Pittsburgh", 
"Thursday nights are unmissable" or "its a great meeting place".

The Early Stages.

Build up a list of bands/performers/DJs with contact names and telephone
numbers.....

Keep your eye on which acts are attracting attention and which have a
strong following in the area - think about your audience's interest, not
just your own.

Keep a list of national promoters and agents if you're hoping to attract
national touring acts or performers from out of the region.

Assess what facilities your venue can offer in-house, and what
additional services and staff need to be brought in on a temporary or
permanent basis (e.g. PA, lighting, technical staff). Ask yourself if
the in-house PA is adequate, could the acoustics be improved, does the
decor need improvement?

The Deal - Negotiating with bands / performers

Be clear about the finance of the deal.
Options include:
     100% door take to the performers
     Door split (split between promoter and performer)
     Fixed Fee
     Percentage of bar-take (e.g. 10% to performer)
     ticket deals
     venue hire:Fixed charge to the band, who then receive the door.

Run through the event or gig logistics in detail with the band.
     Be clear about:
     dates & times
     ticket prices
     PA facilities and crew
     backline equipment
     support acts
     facilities for merchandising, catering, games machines etc.
     plans for get-in, sound check, on-stage times, get-out
     any special arrangements for parking, overnight storage,
	   accommodation, hospitality etc.....

Aim to sign your contract with the performers well in advance to allow
time to agree all the details

The venue
     Important areas to check are:
     PA. In-house, hired-in or coming with performers
     Lighting. In-house, hired-in or coming with performers
     Production. In-house team: hired-in crew: or coming with performers

     Security. Staffing, exits, electricity, safety, fire precautions.
     General atmosphere and ambience of the venue
      Pricing policy. Tickets, bar prices, pass-outs.
     Licence. What entertainments licence does the venue hold and
	   between what hours does it operate? What liquor licence and between what
	   hours? What provision is there for under 18's?

Gig Production

If you are promoting a gig or event you should always check the
following: Bands should be aided in appearing on-stage on time, and
equally aided in coming off-stage on time. This is especially important
if you're promoting several performances in the one evening. Ensure that
there is some degree of stage management which will help the event run
on schedule and can anticipate the needs of the performers and technical
crew with whatever facilities they need and with good communications
between technicians, performers, front of house staff and, of course,
yourself. The stage manager is crucial in keeping performance times on
schedule, or at least keeping any lee-way under control.

Double check that the sound quality is good and that there are no
technical problems unresolved well before the gig starts. Listen to
feedback from your audience and performers and be prepared to listen to
criticisms.

OUTGOINGS

Venue Costs
   Venue hire     $
   Staff costs    $
   Sound & lighting costs       $
   Production staff        $
   Security, door staff, box office   $
   other venue costs  $
   TOTAL .........................................$ __________

Promotional costs
   Administration & office costs  $
   Printing Posters & flyers  $
   Advertising             $
   Distribution of publicity & tickets  $
   Press kits & mail-outs  $
   Transport             $
   Performers' Fees    $
   Accommodation / catering / hospitality  $
   Merchandise costs  $
   Other               $
   TOTAL .........................................$ __________

INCOME
 Estimates:
   Ticket sales: (quantity)_____ @ $______ each = $______
   Other income:
     (bar split)             $
     (merchandise sold) $
     (raffle tickets etc) $
 TOTAL .........................................$ __________
 Estimated PROFIT/LOSS ...............$___________
 Actual income:
   ticket sales (quantity)_____ @ $______ each = $______
   Other income:
     (bar split)             $
     (merchandise sold) $
     (raffle tickets etc) $
 TOTAL .........................................$ __________
 Actual PROFIT/LOSS .................... $___________

Here is a typical venue hire contract:
 
CONTRACT HIRE

1. The period shall be from 4pm (get in) until 12 midnight Mon - Sat,
4pm - 11:30 pm Sun. Earlier access, curfew extension and late bar may be
available, however extra charges may be made to cover staff overtime.
Door - 7:30pm (earlier opening by arrangement)
 9:00 pm for clubs / private parties
 7:00pm on a Sunday
 Bar hours are as follows:
 Mon - Sat 7:30 - 2am
 Sunday 7:00 - 10:30pm

2. ********* is an over 18's only club, and we reserve the right of
admission as adjudged by our management. However, we will make entry as
smooth as possible and help the booker with any problems in this area.

3. The venue hire fee shall be: ___________

4. Deposit of $ _______ must be made to secure confirmation of the
booking.

5. Promoter's guest list for any booking is limited to 20 places unless
by prior arrangement.

6. Cancellation charges are as follows:
   6 weeks or more prior to the event $80
   3 weeks to 6 weeks $100
   3 weeks or less ******** reserve the right to charge the full
		commercial hire fee up to $1000

7. ********accepts no responsibility regarding illegal flyposting and
will be obliged to give promoter's contact number if directly asked by
local authorities if this occurs. No posters to be posted on the
external doors and walls.

8. (a) Cash from advance ticket sales from the box office and door take
will be paid to the hirer at the end of the hire period, minus the hire
fee. In the event of advanced/door sales not covering the hire fee, the
balance will be paid by the hirer in cash or check with bankers card on
the night.

(b) The hire shall receive all advanced complimentary (if
applicable), and door/ticket stubs and a reconciliation of the
cash/tickets at the end of the hire period.

9. Posters/flyers to be paid for on collection, mailout costs etc.
payable in advance, both direct to the marketing department.

10. Any other costs, eg crew, will be charged on the night.

11. The hirer shall keep ******** informed of advance ticket sales -
this is essential as it will affect staffing levels for the event.

12. The capacity of ********* main venue is 800 and ********upstairs
venue is 330, both including guest list and complimentary tickets, and
will be enforced to comply with legal
requirements.

13. The hirer will agree to admit ******** "Gold Card" holders, these
cards are issued to our Management Committee members, to our permanent
staff and to ticket outlets.

14. Any extra PA/lighting requirements over and above the attached
PA/lighting specifications will be the liability and responsibility of
the hirer.

15. In line with legal requirements, 3% of the nett door receipts will
be deducted from the total income for PRS.

16. In the event of ********* being closed in consequence of any public
calamity, epidemic, public disorder, fire, act of God, or any
circumstances arising beyond the control of the venue no claim will be
made against the venue in respect of the terms of this contract.

I have read and understood the above conditions of hire and agree to
abide by them

On behalf of _______________________ Signed ____________________ Date_________
On behalf of *******************: Signed ____________________ Date _________



written by Billy Tweedie 2001 
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