How To Be A Concert Promoter

AA concert promoter can either work on behalf of a band or a venue. When working for bands, the promoter’s responsibility is to find locations for the band to play, in addition to promoting the event.

Concert promoters serve as a key component in the booking and preparation of many live performances. The information I am going to give you in this article is both useful for musicians that will be dealing with promoters, and for those that would like to begin promoting concerts.


How To Be A Concert Promoter

A hip hop concert

First thing’s first, you will need to establish a venue to hold your event, and you must also establish acts to perform. When determining your venue, it is important to first analyze your target demographic that will be coming to your event. For example, if this is going to be a hip-hop show, calling the local orchestra hall to suggest this concert may not be feasible. It is best to target reputable venues that typically host the kind of event that you plan to do. Once you have picked out a suitable venue, contact them and establish a date that you can hold for the event.

You will then need to form a bill, or a “lineup” of artists. When booking the talent, you will need to be sure that the acts you have make sense playing together in the same show. At the end of the day, what you want to do is create value for the consumer. If you have a smattering of genres on the bill for your show, you may run the risk of completely missing every demographic. Think about when a major tour comes to town, the bands or artists are always in a similar demographic. For example, the Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour featured two artists, Drake and Lil Wayne, that appeal to a very similar demographic. Someone may not be a big enough Drake fan to come out to see just him, but when the value of Lil Wayne is added, it is suddenly worth it to buy a ticket.

The Offer

There are different ways of striking monetary agreements. I will highlight the most common methods below:

  • Promoter Profit Deal: This type of deal is very typical. You, the promoter, will budget out your event expenses and then you will add your expense on top of the overhead expenses as the promoter profit expense. When your event clears your breakeven point (expenses including promoter profit), you then split the net 85%/15% (tour/promoter). So for example, if the expenses of an event accumulate to $60,000 and the promoter is going to build in an extra $10,000 into the overhead for his/her profit, the breakeven point will be $70,000. If the event returns $100,000 in gross profit, the net profit of the event will be $30,000. Therefore, with an 85/15 split, the band will walk away with $25,500 (30,000 x .85) and the promoter will walk away with 14,400 (30,000 x .15=$4,500) ($4,500 + $10,000=$14,500)
  • Gross Split Deal: In a gross split deal you split the money from ticket sales with no deductions. You can modify this by doing a gross split AFTER specific expenses, however this gets to be a hard sell if the split is a bit high.
  • Vs. Deal: Versus deals mean that you will offer one thing or another thing depending on specific variables. For instance, “$500 vs. 50% of gross” would mean that you are offering $500 or 50% of the gross ticket sales. For example, with a “$500 or 50% of gross” deal, if the talent brings in $2000 of gross profit, the talent would receive $1000 ($2000 x .5=$1000) ($1000>$500). If the gross profit is $800, the talent would receive the $500. ($800 x .5=$400) ($400<$500). You can specify whichever is higher or lower, you can determine a gross to be after specific expenses, etc. etc. These deals can get quite complex very quickly.
  • Net Split Deal: Net splits are exactly what they sound like. The artist gets paid out a specific percentage of net. The net is determined upfront and there is rarely ever room for the expenses to get larger, only smaller.

Once your offer is written, it will be negotiated with the agents or managers of the talent.

Tying Up Loose Ends

Some of the tasks that will need to be done will be securing sound, sound engineer, crew, marketing, tickets, scheduling, finding sponsors, and dealing with different unique issues as they come.

It will be crucial to monitor certain things the day of the show such as security, box office, stage-managing, load-in, load-out, and the settlement at the end of the show.

Being diligent and ensuring that your event goes well, smoothly and monetarily, will distinguish you from other professionals in the same field. Success in the music industry relies heavily on reputation. The better the events that you do, the more events you will be able to do.

For more information, head to to get in touch with Ed.


  • Casper Ghost

    There is actually a third entity and that is the promoters themselves. I’ve never worked for anyone besides myself. Hire the bands at a flat fee, rent the venue, pay the marketing and collect 100% of the back end after the investment is returned to my company. I get what you’re saying and you’re clearly talking about local/regional acts but artists should understand how it all works prior to playing their first paid gig.