What is a Concert Promoter? SEG’s Insider Guide

October 11, 2020

Home » What is a Concert Promoter? SEG’s Insider Guide

Hell’s Belles

Casinos usually work with internal and 3rd party talent buyers to produce live entertainment. Sometimes those buyers are also independent promoters. This blog post mostly covers promoter information. So if you’re looking for more casino entertainment related content, please visit our talent buying blog or our home page.

In general, the life of a typical independent concert promoter is a lot more volatile than that of the average casino booking agent. For example, tribal casinos are often seen as cash cows whereas many independent promoters need to work with investors to raise the capital needed to book big headliners. Additionally, promoters aren’t paid a guaranteed commission like the common casino talent booker. 

Some promoters find it unusual that tribal casinos generally only pay a flat rate when booking national and regional headliners. Why do casinos only pay a flat rate? Maybe it’s because there are fewer seats than an arena or amphitheater? But what about similar-sized rooms and theatres? Does the asking price start at $145,000+ for the legendary Smokey Robinson if a comparable non-casino venue only has 1,050 seats? I’m guessing that venue would walk away. 

The truth is, I don’t really know what is next for casino entertainment or independent promoters post-pandemic. All I can think about is how the old standard continues within Indian Country. Even during a near-collapse of the entertainment industry, casinos are still being hard sold on overpriced legacy acts. Sometimes I lose sleep wondering how long our tribes and our casinos are willing to assume all the risk. Do talent agents and unethical casino entertainment buyers realize how truly unsustainable this is? Will it ever change? I am increasingly concerned and I have so many questions. 

Hopefully, this content helps answer some of yours.


What’s The Deal With Independent Promoters

These are some of the most common types of deals that independent promoters and venues might use. 

  1. Promoter profit deal – Artist receives a guarantee plus 85% of net after expenses 
  2. Percentage of net deal with no guarantee – Artist receives 85% of net after expenses 
  3. Percentage of net deal plus guarantee –  Artist receives a guarantee plus 85% of net after expenses 
  4. Guarantee with bonus – Artist receives guarantee plus performance-based bonuses – Example: bonus awarded at 500, 1000, 2000, and 3000 tickets sold
  5. Guarantee Vs Percentage Deal – Artist receives a guarantee versus 65% of net – could increase to 75% after XXX  tickets sold

Of course, there are other deals that exist. This list is not an all-encompassing list of promoter deals but it is enough for you to get the idea. 



Do All Promoters Have A Degree

Many concert promoters, agents, business managers of entertainers, celebrities, and athletes often have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Of course, you are not required to have a formal education to be successful.

Entertainment is mostly about marketing and being an entrepreneur. It’s also about being creative, getting your point across, and being heard.

Ultimately if you’re going to get a degree, you can’t go wrong with majoring in business and/or marketing. Try to remember that many of the skills needed to promote a concert are best learned on the go.

A sound recommendation overall would be to get a mentor or an internship that could accelerate your exposure to the industry.

What Is The Definition Of A Concert Promoter

A concert promoter is responsible for organizing and publicizing live concerts and special performances. The concert promoter makes an offer of employment to the artist’s agent or manager. Typically the artist’s agent and promoter negotiate the final performance details from there. Simply put, they put the show on.

How Many Concert Promoter Companies Are There

There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of independent promoters throughout the world. The top 100 concert promoters sold more than 47,900,000 tickets in 2018. Guess who the top two performing promoters were?

If you said Live Nation or AEG, you are correct. In the 2018 year between the two promoters, they account for over 37% or 18,000,00 of the total 47,000,000 tickets sold. In 2019, sales leaped.

According to Statista, Live Nation and AEG sold a staggering 60,000,000 tickets. That is more than a 233% increase from their overall total sales measured just a year before.


Are There Any Famous Promoters

For every famous promoter, there are two infamous ones. Any talent agent will tell you that a concert promoter is only as good as their last show. And to be truthful, that is showbiz. You can have a hundred flawless live concerts and after one series of unfortunate events, your career could end.

Top 3 Concert Promoters That Every Independent Artist needs to know

  1. Live Nation – Live Nation is the most popular live entertainment company 
  2. AEG – Is the second-largest presenter of live entertainment and events after Live Nation
  3. C3 Presents – C3 is officially owned by Live Nation and acquired for over $125 million

Okay, What Do Concert Promoters Actually Do

A concert promoter is a marketing professional who generates excitement to elevate awareness for brands and musicians. Most concert promoters are responsible for booking the right band at the right venue, selling tickets, executing travel logistics, mutually beneficial agreements, and sourcing all of the stage equipment. Music promoters leverage marketing tricks to advertise venues, fairgrounds, clubs, stadiums, theaters. Some promoters work directly with the individual performers and/or musical groups. This might include a rock band, Latin musician, Kpop artist, live disc jockey, or a massive orchestra.

What Tools Do Promoters Use

Ultimately, a promoter’s job is to target a specific audience to ensure that the right people hear about concerts and buy tickets for those performances. A lot of music promoters leverage promotional materials, via social media platforms, online SEO, physical posters/flyers, and other relative mediums. It is essential that the concert promoter provide pertinent information to potential fans and the masses so they are aware of specific venues or musicians. Promoters are also likely to work within their social networks or with media and advertising companies to diversify. Some promoters even create press packages, form marketing plans, and manage advertising budgets.

A strong veteran promoter will also have access to complex settlement and offer sheets, scheduling tools, and production equipment that may be out of reach for the average person. Working with a skilled promoter will ultimately steer your program towards success. But I would not recommend working with a promoter who is only skilled in production or anyone who specializes in one single facet within the industry. Most industry veterans are capable of wearing many hats and do so with minimal error. 

Top 3 traits of a successful concert promoter:

  1. Resourcefulness – concept promoters keep up on industry trends, understand marketing concepts, and are comfortable creating strategies/offers
  2. Critical Thinking – Promoters understand product including the artist’s worth, demand, distribution capacity, and direct marketing valuation 
  3. Flexibility – Concert promoters might be required to travel extensively, like the band or performer which tours from venue to venue


What Deal Is A Promoters Most Likely To Make

A promoter profit deal is probably the most common form of financial agreement for an independent promoter. It is also arguably the most complex. Complex does not mean difficult. It does mean settling may be time-consuming. In general, a promoter profit deal consists of about 10 steps.

Festivals RFPs – Projects Promoters Love The Most

Personally, I enjoy seeing a project through from start to finish. And just recently landed the opportunity to bid on a project with the City of Detroit. The project involves a city-wide revival that had MAJOR financial backers. The idea was to stimulate tourism, local business, and overall economic sustainability. I was included in the RFP process and created a thorough proposal that outlined and met all of the objectives mentioned in the City’s RFP. Below are some of the pictures included in that RFP (which the city has yet to announce the winner of).

Below is a sneak peek of my proposal to be the promoter for the multi-site festival assessment in Detroit:


To clearly define entertainment and event capabilities in all venue sites and establish a new entertainment program that accomplishes the goals of the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC).


Assist in the redevelopment of space for the public to display their culture through festivals, events, and musical performances that stimulate tourism, local engagement, and small business development through city-wide promotion, national exposure, and designated event site activation. 

The public spaces of a city and the people in it, in general, are an essential part of the city’s identity. The distinctive character and the quality of these 4 sites affect the city’s image and its overall resident’s satisfaction. 

Phase 1 Asset Condition Assessment –  Seattle Entertainment Group will assess the aforementioned sites and outline the following:

Asset Conditions – Assess current publicly owned assets and identify all deficiencies related to hosting and producing live events, festivals, and concerts outdoors.

Seattle Entertainment Group will provide a summary of the physical condition of existing entertainment assets.

Asset Condition Summary Outline: – Seattle Entertainment Group will also produce a summary of entertainment-related capital improvement recommendations based on research and analysis.

Phase 2Strategy and Asset Redevelopment:

Seattle Entertainment Group will create an outline for the strategic vision needed to stimulate community interest, create revenue streams, and market the network of newly promoted open spaces within the community. 

Seattle Entertainment Group will outline recommendations for asset redevelopment and improvements to existing structures as related to performance production including:

  1. New and existing staging asset(s) type, size, location, rent, buy, etc. 
  2. Permanent and temporary power distribution, legs and load requirements

Like I said, this was only a sneak peek. If you are looking for information regarding how to build a festival, contact us.

This gallery has aerial visuals for the potential Detroit festival sites including the Civic Center, The Aretha Franklin Amphitheater, Gold Coast Parks, and The Marina District. It also shows a few visuals of another special casino project. We can create and conceptualize a venue in just about any space. We work with our partners at Edgewater Resources to develop site plans for live entertainment in marinas, casino resorts, public parks, potential festival sites, and more. 


How much do concert promoters get paid?

Concert Promoters in the USA ear $28,000 to $187,200, The median salary is $62,000. The middle 60% of Promoters make $62,000, with the top 80% making $187,000

How many different types of promoters are there?

There are hundreds of different types including, night club, theatre, and more.

What is a concert promoter, and how do I become one?

 Most promoters learn from other promoters because you cannot beat hands-on experience.

How do you become an artist promoter?

You can become a promoter by networking, or as an intern for an established agency.

Who is the largest concert promoter?

Live Nation and AEG are the two largest promoters.

How Do Concert Promoters Work?

Concert promoters are paid to promote/publicize a concert or artist’s performance.

What is the role of a music promoter?

The music promoter is responsible for putting on the show. They work with talent agents and bands.

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