Google+ Q Dot: 5 types of Hip Hop Promoters.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

5 types of Hip Hop Promoters.

If you've ever performed...and you're a part of hip hop culture and you're trying to succeed in being part of this culture you need to know the types of people you will encounter. What i'm about to share comes from the experience of playing over 100 shows in the last few years and though it's not the definitive list it should help answer some questions because we all are tryna figure this thing out as we go along in it.

Show Promoters are crucial to every hip hopper's career. I don't care if you're just starting out or at the top of the charts, these people help you exponentially when it comes to fan building so who are they (and who should we be aware of? who should we run from? who should we embrace?)

1. Yourself. Let's face it. Chances are if you're starting out you're not going to get livenation to come sign you nor are you even going to grab the attention of the local hip hop talent buyers until you get out and do some hustling. But this can be tricky because promotion of shows is NEVER just about being that annoying guy on social networks who invites everyone to their show and changes their profile picture to the flyer. This is about really understanding your brand of music and what audience and setting is suitable for your music. Just because all your favorite blog buzz rappers are playing are certain club doesn't mean you should try to. Know who and where your following is and put together a great live experience. Know your brand and your music well enough to pitch it to those who'd be interested in seeing you.

2. The fly-by-night promoter. This is my least favorite promoter in the game. They're the guy or girl who knows nothing about live shows but somehow has a boat load of cash to spend and are willing to drop it all on one show with the biggest name they can afford. They're generally the least knowledgable about the show process and more times than not end up getting raped by everyone involved because they tend to flaunt how much money they're willing to spend. Sometimes they're the homeys from around the way sometimes they're other rappers. Either way, their shows all have a structure that looks like this:

a) They're booking the act simply based on personal preference and how popular they are at the moment. Not taking into consideration their local market's tastes or touring history.

b) Because they're so gung ho about spending $30,000 or more on MC Big name and letting everyone know about it they have no problem dropping another $1500 or more on the venue (which is small fries at that point but still insane) $XX amount on insurance, $5000 on travel and rider $XX amount on marketing - which generally ends up being $0 because they've rationalized at this point because they're dead broke that social media is free and it's useful and who pays attention to flyers and posters anyway? Everyone's on facebook.... (insert smug face)

c) Chances are - they're basing ALL projections on selling out the show. Big no no. They never seem to look at the possibility of the house only being half full, 3/4ths full or worse. LOL.

d) You're NOT getting paid but if you, Mr. Local Rapper, pay them $500 you can perform for 15 minutes.

Then you never hear from these promoters ever again. Ever. They're done because somewhere down the line, their lofty projections failed them. Stay away from these guys unless you really understand what you're getting into. Opening up for your favorite MC may be a great thing to tell the homeys and a resume builder but chances are people are not there to see you at all. You did NOT perform for 1500 people you were just noise before the show started. Your fanbase will not suddenly shoot through the roof either unless you come prepared with an amazing live show and army of promo tactics leading up to, during and after the show.

3. The starting out guy.  He's a little harder to find but he's a lot like you. He earnestly wants to make it as a promoter like you do as a musician and he likely has a day job just like you. Problem is he's super new to the game with no following but he's willing to work his ass off just like you. He may not have a brand or reputation of putting together shows but he loves the music and the culture.

This guy is a toss up because he's such a contradiction to his self but there is a time and place for a guy like this in your career because he may just become the next big promoter in your town. If you're starting out or trying to break into a new market he may be the guy you want to work with. He'll hit the block with you, promo online with you and will be more apt to strike a favorable deal with you on the money. Do your homework on this guy and if it's right, give him a shot.

4. The club promoter. This is my next least favorite type of situation. A nightclub promoter getting into promoting live music. While in essence they appear the same they couldn't be further from it. Sure they can bring out 400 people every weekend to get drunk at a bar but getting people to plop down $10 to watch you perform and still enjoy a drink or two is a whole different ball game. It sounds like a good idea because they have the following and you need to grow yours but the problem comes in the TYPE of following they have. Chances are the club promoter is all about image and "doin it big". His club is the swankiest in the neighborhood, his DJ plays all the hot songs on the radio and it's really all about the urban flashy aesthetic that's been popular for a while so he attracts the type of following that only wants to see be a part of that. This guy only really works when you've risen through the ranks and are selling out 1000+ capacity venues and you can then do an after party appearance.

5. The "real" promoter. Every major city has one or two of these. They're the ones that the "real" rappers work with. But the "real" rappers have handled their business and are approaching or being approached by said promoters with real business data. These promoters aren't nearly as concerned with how "popular" an act is via MTV and the radio and is more concerned with touring history, live show experience and how this act will work in the market. When you hear about "gaurantees" being paid out it's these promoters who are doing it. They generally are bringing in acts in the $1500-$10,000 range and they have no problem with paying the gaurantees because they understand how the business works and how they can cultivate that show for future gain. Until you rise up through the ranks of the first three or four (which depends on you entirely), you probably shouldn't approach this promoter with show pitches - unless you have a really close personal relationship.

Happy promoting yall!

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