CAREER DEVELOPMENT / MAY. 09, 2014
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How to Become a Music Promotions Manager

The exciting world of music promotion hosts many separate roles, however, one of the most prominent is that of the music promotions manager. Responsible for managing the publicity of artists and their activity, whether a record release or a live performance, the job requires a level of dedication that goes beyond mere fandom or interest.  

Marrying the disciplines of musical awareness and knowledge with a keen business sense, it takes a certain type of person to succeed in this industry, let alone this role. Valuable skills include:

  • Refined sales and negotiation skills
  • Excellent communication (both written and spoken)
  • Knowledge of music and the music market (trends etc.)
  • An ability to work under pressure
  • Good organisational skills
  • Computer literacy
  • Persistence, motivation and professional drive
  • The capability to work well with others

The Work Itself

When working for a record company, the typical day-to-day duties of a music promotions manager would include:

  • The drafting distribution of press releases intended to publicise a client’s activity 
  • Organising and attending publicity events
  • Securing artists airtime on radio and TV
  • Networking and building a contacts list within the industry
  • Organising tours
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Dealing with other marketing staff
  • Searching for and listening to new artists for representation

It is also common that a promotions manager will make the foray into festival or en-mass event promotions at some point during their career. If this instance arises, tasks include:

  • The selection and booking of suitable acts
  • Dealing with agents, caterers and suppliers
  • Arranging the schedule/programme
  • Identifying the most suited audience for the event
  • Organise marketing and publicity affairs
  • Arrange entertainment licenses

Hours and Income

Working hours typically asked of a music promotions manager active within the current industry are really anything but typical! Though office-based, a manager will spend a lot of their working time ‘in the field’, as it were –attending live shows and promotional events all over the country- and even internationally.

Income rates will vary on the area and level of the industry a promotions manager works within, as well as the status of employment. Given the nature of the role, many individuals operate on a freelance basis, drifting from project to project and client to client. The National Careers Service highlights the following pay expectations as a rough estimate:

Level

Salary

Junior

£12,000 - £16,000

Intermediate

£25,000+

Senior

£60,000+

Qualifications Needed

Mapping out a route to enter a role of this kind is rather difficult on the grounds that there is no set method, or for that matter qualification, that can guarantee you eligibility for an entry-level position. The best advice that can be issued is to develop a relevant list of contacts whilst working to gain some hands-on experience.

In terms of education, a degree in a pertinent subject will do wonders for your chances of gaining experience. Such subjects include:

  • Marketing
  • Business studies
  • Music business

Training and Progression

As with most immersive and industry-specific professional roles, much of the learning you will undertake as a music promotions manager will happen on-the-job. As your experience grows, your skills, perception, awareness and ability to carry out your duties to a higher standard will inevitably do the same.

Many professionals active in this role join bodies such as the BPI and the Association for Independent Music for the insight and access they provide to the many networking events, business seminars and training events they host. Furthermore, the British Institute of Innkeepers Awarding Body (BIIAB) offers a tailored qualification in the field, namely the Level 2 Award for Music Promoters (AMP). 

Prospects

The sheer amount of money within this industry at present makes this career path potentially very lucrative. As the music industry continues to gain momentum and becomes an even more significant part of the lives of more and more people, the number of roles of this nature is only set to grow too. Once in, it's harder to fall out of the industry than to progress within it- hard work and a continually proven grasp of things is often all it takes to do very well as a music promotions manager.

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