Ten years ago, all promoters could ask of an artist was to show up on the night of a concert and give a great performance. But now, if that’s all you’re asking of your artists, you’re missing out on countless ticket sales.
Promoters and venues are deepening their partnerships with artists. Now more than ever, artists and agencies are getting involved in the marketing of shows, whether at small clubs or arenas.
“Artist participation in the marketing of a show has really grown over the past few years,” says Eric Barleen of Another Planet Entertainment. “We’re moving away from traditional forms of advertising like print and radio and instead relying on a digital approach. This really hinges on support from the artist and their channels.”
If you’re not working directly with artists and agencies, you could be missing out on one of the most powerful marketing channels. Here’s how you can make the most of artist promotion partnerships.
1. Work with the agency marketing team
Partnering with an artist’s team on logistics and basic marketing isn’t new. “You always want to work as closely as possible coordinating with the artist’s label or national press company,” says Noise Pop founder Kevin Arnold.
But now, most tour agencies also have dedicated marketing staff. According to Barleen, these agency marketers will take over promotion as soon as a show is confirmed. “Before, agencies may have been this involved at the arena level, but now we are seeing it for club and theater shows as well.”
What you can do: The single largest asset you have is your history with agents, and the relationships you have built across the industry. Use the opportunity to partner with agency marketers as a way to build trust, rapport, and enthusiasm for working with you again. In today’s competitive landscape, this camaraderie will give you a leg up when it comes to booking talent.
For more about relationships and reputation, see How to Protect Your Venue’s Reputation in the Booking Process.
2. Target the artist’s social media audience
“The most valuable concert marketing tool is often an artist’s website and social media,” Barleen says. “The artist teams have been quick to embrace this and work with us to optimize that.”
Agency marketers often allow promoters access to their social media platforms. This way, you can run boosted posts and paid promotions directly from an artist’s page. “They want to make sure we’re reaching their direct audience right at announce, and tapping into their social media is undeniably the best way to do that,” Barleen says.
What you can do: For each show, partner with agencies to drive a hyper-targeted marketing campaign to reach true fans. If the agency doesn’t offer this support, you can still target their audience on social media. Ask the artist team for “Advertiser” access or ask them to share access to their followers.
To learn how to target the most relevant fans, have a team member read How to Advertise Your Event to the Right Audience on Facebook.
3. Book acts that take artist promotion seriously
When booking artists, Will Sartain of Salt Lake City promoters Sartain & Saunders pays close attention to the band’s marketing potential and how they interact with their fan base.
“Artists have to be smarter about how they’re presenting themselves to a broader market, and we look for that in artists,” Sartain says. “There are some bands who may have fans that love the music, but the fans don’t spread the word. Artists with extroverted fans tend to be more successful long term.”
What you can do: When considering whether to take a risk on a new artist, check out their social media accounts in addition to considering their music and potential draw. Facebook and Instagram can be a window on how artists keep up their relationship with fans — and how good they’ll be as marketing partners.
For more on the latest trends in the live music industry, get our report on 2018 Music Trends: The Top Predictions.