On Friday, the 3rd of June 2022, Burna Boy performed at Belgravia Sports Club. It was not his first performance in Zimbabwe though. His first performance in the country was at Pabloz Club in 2015. There have been many discussions pre and post-his show. One of the major debates was on some people arguing Zimbabweans do not support local content as they do foreign content. I am not going to delve into that because it is a rabbit hole. Today I figured let me talk about music promoters, a discussion you will find useful.

Who Is A Music Promoter?

A music promoter is someone or a group of people who arrange for a music event to happen. They oversee everything from all the liaisons, preparations, the rollout, and any necessary aspects after the events. This suggests that the extent of involvement of a music promoter will vary from event to event. You will better understand when I get into the roles and responsibilities of a music promoter.

Roles And Responsibilities Of A Music Promoter

Bear in mind that what will cover here is nowhere near exhaustive. I am just laying out broad or basic things that give you an idea. A music promoter is responsible for initial contact with an artist and his management. They will have to deliberate on things like dates, terms and conditions, and so on. This seemingly simple exercise can take months to happen. It is not surprising that just making initial contact can take a stretch. Provided, a working agreement has been reached, the next step is to engage and collaborate with the relevant service providers.

What happens from this point forward will be informed by the working agreement. The music promoter will have to engage venue providers, hotels, airlines, caterers, security, and so many more. Then they will also have to do promotional campaigns via press, television, radio, social media, the internet, posters, banners, and the like. A music promoter will also have to see to it that all key parties are well-catered for.

For example, the artiste and band, must ensure everything is in place from the backline, riders to all they need for their performance. Like I said it is not possible to exhaust everything here. I just had to give you the picture and I am sure you can tell it can be hectic being a music promoter. Almost everything you do will require negotiation so you must master that art.

Who Can Be A Music Promoter?

There is no select few who can become music promoters. In earnest, anyone can become a music promoter. If you check most music promoters who are now established, they started small. If you can successfully organize a work or family event then you can become a music promoter. It can be hard when starting out but once you grow; you will end up having a full team i.e. a company. In Zimbabwe, I have often heard complaints about most music promoters. I put it to you that you can take advantage of that to provide better services.

Take a bold step: just approach some artiste or artists, and offer to put together a music event for them. If you prove yourself you can become a reputable music promoter in no time. Take advantage of already operating music promoters as well. Figure out ways to learn from them. For example, you can offer to understudy or be their intern whilst you are familiarizing yourself with the trade. Bottom line is you, I mean YOU, can become a music promoter.

How A Music Promoter Makes Money

Several deals can be struck by facilitating a music event. One of the common arrangements is that the music promoter pays the artiste (and or band) a fixed fee. This is a figure they would have agreed on at the onset. Usually from such an arrangement, the artiste will not be concerned about how much the music promoter makes from ticket sales and so on. All they will be expecting is the money they would have agreed on.

The other popular arrangement is splitting the ticket sales using an agreed-upon ratio. I know either of these two might seem like the best arrangement but that is not the case. Either of them can flop so careful considerations have to be made before settling for an arrangement.

The artiste and or band tends to get more and the music promoter bears most of the costs. Thus a music promoter needs to appreciate that they have to be creative in how they make money. They should not just focus on ticket sales alone. They should consider other revenue streams e.g. ad placements, charging service providers that might want to sell their stuff at the event. These are just a few examples but there are plenty more.

This is a perfect time to highlight the importance of having a contract. No matter the nature of the event and the calibre of artiste you are dealing with, always have signed contracts. As a music promoter, you need to have legal representation, it is a must!

This is an interesting business venture to try out – becoming a music promoter. The fact that you can juggle costs and several other variables makes it interesting. Several music events have been held in Zimbabwe over the past years. They are perfect case studies to learn from. Come to think of it, becoming a music promoter can even be a professional academic program offered by learning institutions. There are just so many possibilities in the field of music promotion in Zimbabwe.