Beware Promoters, Beware Fashionable Women
Band promoting has always been an interest of mine. If your tunes fire me up, let me escape or make me shake, rattle & roll, then I want to share you with the world.
I’ve joined street teams to hand out flyers of up-coming shows, written radio scripts promoting fun weekend concerts and run the merch table a variety of different venues. You could call me a big fan, maybe even a groupie, but in the most professional sense, you could call me a promoter.
However, today I prefer to be called a fan. Especially after the smack in the face the indie band, Beware Fashionable Women just gave to promoters everywhere.
In a shocking interview with Sentimentalist Magazine published April 20, 2010, front-man Barak Shpiez was asked what he hates about being in a band.
Is it the long tours away from home? Is it the constant demand to impress fans and appease management? Or is it the problems with music pirating? None of the above.
Instead, Shpiez shot back an answer so good that I want to share it all from the barrel to the bullet.
“I hate to sound like a whiner, but where are the promoters these days? Now “promotions” companies are just middlemen between the artist and the venue that serves no more function than being the booking agent.”
I believe that a band promoter is vital to a band’s advancement in the music industry but only if they are dedicated to the cause and loyal to their promotees.
So, if you’re a promoter I challenge you to answer Shpiez’s question. In particular I challenge Vigilant Promotions to prove him wrong. Their website reads, “Vigilant Promotions applies everything from street teams to radio promotion, press to the web, in order to cater to a wide range of clients looking to make an impact in the music industry/market.” Well that sounds fantastic, but are you really following through?
The promotion company is currently showcasing the Beware Fashionable Women CD cover and includes a link to the official band site on their homepage. Right above the entry is a larger spot showcasing their partnership with The Source Magazine, otherwise known as “The Hip-Hop Bible”. Is this big name client, receiving all the attention and leaving the little guy out? If so, I’m beginning to understand Shpiez’s discontent with the promoting industry.
“Venues have become inundated with requests to play that they outsourced that job to these companies. When booked at a club, artists are expected to be the sole promoters for their shows, but they don’t have nearly the resources or access that a promoter might have to radio DJs, print ads in the local papers, email lists, interns, etc.”
Have promoters really become nothing more than outsourced middle men? And whose duty is it to promote a particular show? Bars and clubs surely want business every night and in my experience, venue concerts can bring in tons of business. However promoters must showcase the bands playing through radio contests, print advertisements, street teams and promotional items. Shpiez doesn’t see these efforts being executed.
“By not participating in the promotion of shows they book, promoters have allowed attendance at these shows to dwindle. In response, they simply have raised their cut of the door. So bands can’t make enough money to even fund their own endeavors (promotion of future shows, tours, recording, etc)”.
With no promotions, attendance decreases and promoters are forced to take higher cuts from cover charges, leading to less of a profit for the musicians themselves. With the costs of traveling, lodging and other expenses, playing out and going on tours becomes increasingly difficult for independent bands.
Between lower gig pay and the lack of enthusiasm and call to action of promoters, bands are left to market themselves. This is what Shpiez of Beware Fashion Women hates about being in a band.
“Promotions companies are a negative influence on any scene and only exist to make venue owners’ lives a bit easier.”
There response comes as no surprise as even in their MySpace bio the band is refer to as “… respectable musicians who possess the ability to be the worst celebrities.” They ask the world, “Why must a band only encompass one version of that vague idea that is pop music?” And continue saying, “BFW understands that labels, managers, bookers, and indeed the listening public would much prefer a band that stuck to one thing and repeated themselves into oblivion.” But they’re not going to give you any of that bull shit.
I’m pretty amped about Beware Fashionable Women, their tunes are infectious. And I’m excited to hear what promoters everywhere have to say in response to Shpeiz’s complaints. In the meantime, promote yourself with these Bandmix promoting tips.
Can band promoters help to brand indie bands? Or is the only marketable music that stuff spewing from the lips of teeny boppers like Justin Beiber and Ke$ha? Lord, I hope not.