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Martin Cloonan (University of Glasgow)


Martin Cloonan (University of Glasgow) Creating Live Music: An Industrial Perspective The Project The Promotion of Live ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Martin Cloonan (University of Glasgow)

Martin Cloonan (University of Glasgow)
  • Creating Live Music
  • An Industrial Perspective

The Project
  • The Promotion of Live Music in the UK a
    Historical, Cultural and Institutional Analysis
  • Personnel
  • Progress

Live Music
  • Live Music and Popular Music Studies
  • Economic Importance
  • C.Is as economic driver, Music as part of C.Is,
    Live Music more valuable than recorded, Live
    needs organising gt
  • The Promoter
  • Live Music as part of the C.Is

The Promoter
  • What is a promoter?
  • History
  • Risk takers?
  • Different types

Defining Promoters
  • the term promoter is widely used in the music
    industry to describe the person or company
    responsible for the physical organisation and
    presentation of a concert or festival (Laing
    (2003 561)
  • Responsible for hiring venues, arranging stages,
    sorting out public address systems and lighting,
    employing caterers and security personnel,
    advertising the show and coordinating the sale of
    tickets (Negus 1992 130)
  • for ensuring the safety of both the public and
    the artist during the course of the gig and for
    conforming with licensing regulations (Music
    Managers Forum 2003 23)
  • financially responsible for an event (Kemp et
    al 2008 xiii)

  • 1955 Showbiz impresarios .. it was an old
    boys club and Harold Davison, Lou Grade, and Tito
    Burns were managers and agents and promoters all
    at the same time in the old-fashioned way (Boyd
  • 1960s New entrepreneurial class
  • Student Unions - The music business was built on
    social secs, and thats where they learned about
    profit and loss, and how to deal with agents, it
    was a fantastic training ground (Jenner 2008)
  • Newly aware musicians what youre really
    seeing the big picture was the capture of huge
    swaths of the towering heights of the music
    business by middle class performers (Boyd 2008)

More History
  • 1970s mid1990s Dominance of Recording
  • 1990s Napster and downloading
  • 2009 Era of the gig?
  • that live music experience that you cant
    replicate is what people are buying into. And
    thats whats built the industry, thats why its
    so big (Mackie 2008)
  • selling a unique experience (Kemp et al 2009

  • promoters moved from being a shady individual
    who knew the bands, going back to the 50s and
    60s . So theres a kind of process, and I think
    you can see how promotion has changed, become
    more structured, more organized, more
    professionalized, and much much more profit
    orientated, as you would expect from the
    companies becoming bigger, late capitalism,
    service industries (Williamson 2008)

  • Promoters take nearly all of the financial risk
    in organizing a tour or concert, usually
    guaranteeing artists a minimum income from
    events. Their role includes costing events and
    tours, and booking venues (Competition
    Commission 2007 13)
  • yes, it is a financial gamble, and sometimes
    its a white knuckle ride when theres a lot of
    money on the line, and youre looking at it, and
    youre looking at how many tickets youve sold,
    and you know what the fee is, and youre going,
    oh no! (Hobson 2008)
  • obviously theres going to be the financial
    element of, I really must break even, otherwise
    Im pretty fucked (McLean 2008)
  • I suppose its a bit like gambling, its a bit
    like addiction. You have one gig in 30 that
    actually does well enough for you to go out and .
    . . I think the best one, I went out and bought
    a bicycle for my son (Deadman 2008)

  • And then its a great buzz when the venues phone
    you up, or you go online, and they say, it sold
    out in 7 minutes, the first Tom Waits, you know,
    and its just, like, wow . . . So thats a high!
    Thats a really good thing, um. But your work
    doesnt stop there. Then youve got to do what
    youre paid for . . . What youre paid for is
    two things. One, youre taking the risk, right?
    Cos you are the only person who is underwriting
    the show, youre risking it all. But two, at the
    end you have to produce the show too you have to
    come through with your promise (Mackie 2008)

Minimising Risk
  • Its all about what well do next time you
    plan ahead its always like, OK, well play
    this this time, and then next time when we come
    back . . . So youre always thinking next time
    (Mackie 2008)
  • a lot of them wouldnt phone me for Def Leppard,
    because I wouldnt answer the call . . . I
    wouldnt want them, you know?.. People know Im
    not good at promoting heavy rock or hard rock..
    Its just something Im not good at They tend to
    come to me with more singer/songwriter stuff, and
    weve built up a reputation of that sort of thing
    over the years and Im good at placing it,
    finding the right sort of venues (ibid)
  • Pay to play, ticket deals etc

  • I never wanted to be (a promoter) unless it was
    something I wanted to put on But by and large,
    most of the gigs Ive put on over the years have
    made a profit. Ive always paid people fairly,
    and thats another reason Id never make it as a
    promoter. If you pay everyone reasonable money
    for what theyre doing, the chances of making a
    big profit decrease (Williamson 2008)
  • The great character was that they were free, and
    they were a social thing, you know, the
    performers played for free, we got the equipment
    for free, we did what we did for free those are
    the only gigs I ever really enjoyed doing, were
    the free ones, because you didnt have to worry
    about the budget, you didnt have to worry about
    whether people had bought the tickets. You didnt
    have to worry about anything except turning up on
    the day Ive always found when you do things for
    free theyre some of the nicest events because it
    takes a lot of pressure off. Altruism is a much
    underrated and undervalued, ironically
    undervalued, motivation. And I think altruistic
    motivations are often the best (Jenner 2008)

  • People, whore, Harvey Goldsmith or whoever, who
    are booking the Stones into Don Valley Stadium
    he doesnt do it because he likes to hear the
    Stones play he does it because he can earn
    loads of dosh out of it. Surprise, surprise!
    (Deadman 2008)
  • Live Nation
  • 360 Degrees

Creative Promoters?
  • Shaping the Live Experience
  • Motivations, audiences, artists

  • I was going out and not hearing the music I
    wanted to hear, and I thought, well, the way to
    do that is to go out and play the music the music
    I wanted to hear, because theres probably some
    other people who want to hear this. And oddly
    enough, I was right! (Hobson 2008)
  • the ethos of it was, um, very much to do
    something that wasnt like a normal gig. So we
    didnt want to do it in a licensed premises that
    puts gigs on. So it was great because we were
    able to create a space where people could do
    what they wanted, and it worked so well, it was a
    really brilliant thing. It was the kind of thing
    you couldnt plan if you set out (Electric
    Blanket 2008)
  • As a promoter, I put on shows that have
    interesting bands that I like. I dont seek to
    make any money out of it I put on gigs, you
    know, that I would want to go to and that I think
    other people go to.. . Ill put on a show that I
    think people are going to enjoy that I actually
    care about, otherwise I wouldnt spend five hours
    walking around the streets in the pissing rain
    sticking up pieces of paper on walls (ibid)

  • Like a dinner party?
  • people come to the gig, leave with a good
    feeling, as if they've been entertained, and that
    people cared about what they've heard and the
    place they've heard it in (Morton 2008)
  • we were doing things in terms of atmosphere, in
    terms of the kind of audience we drew, the kind
    of groups that we booked, that no one else was
    doing (Boyd 2008)
  • .. as a promoter I just like a venue, you know,
    where they leave you alone, and have decent
    facilities, i.e. a PA that works, and that sort
    of thing, and reasonably priced drinks (Razor
  • Well, its like, its like a good firework
    display, I always think of, you know. First of
    all, dont get lots of shitty little cheap
    fireworks, get a few really spectacular ones.
    Its like anything, you kind of, you get the
    order, you build it up, youve got to think of
    the climax and the dramatic, sort of thing
    (Deadman 2008)

If your names not down
  • its tactical. So its either rewards or its
    people in the business or its kind of
    compardres. Obviously youve got to try and keep
    it small - sometimes you succeed. But on the
    other hand, you know almost in advance that if
    you have a very small guestlist its going to be
    a poorly attended gig, you know, if nobody wants
    to scrounge in on the guestlist (Deadman 2008)
  • And I suppose also theres certain people,
    thinking tactically, that you want in your club,
    say like Phil Oakey from Human League is someone
    who sometimes pops down, so hes someone who
    always goes on the guestlist. So if youve got
    someone whos basically, youre playing their
    records. I mean, thats one of the criteria, if
    Im playing someones records, they get in for
    free (Razor 2008)

Getting it wrong/right
  • Because youve let everybody down. Youve let
    the people that bought tickets down because the
    atmosphere wont be that good because its only a
    quarter full. Youve really let the band down
    because you could have worked a bit harder so
    that they could have had a better gig, because
    their careers are depending on it (Mackie 2008)
  • if youre purely live music, you are just
    selling something totally on the artist, sort of
    thing, so its right, theres this band whove
    got a profile, youre advertising that.. so
    people whove heard of that band will come,
    whereas as a club/live music promoter, Im
    selling my night as an experience (Razor 2008)

  • I like to give people something they havent
    seen before, sort of thing when I book touring
    bands I try to book ones that have never played
    in Sheffield before, or the type of bands who
    wouldnt normally fit in at The Leadmill, or the
    Academy or Plug, or wherever.. we try to give
    the audience something different, something
    thats going to entertain them, and something
    theyre going to go away and talk about (Razor
  • I suppose its a bit like the, without sounding
    too pompous about it, its a bit like the
    Reith-ian principles of the BBC you know,
    education, enlightenment, and . . .entertainment,
    thats it. You want to entertain people, you
    want them, you want them to say, oh wow, Ive
    never seen that band before, they were great,
    check them out (ibid)
  • I mean, my tactic often is to try and get people
    to listen to people they wouldnt normally listen
    to, or havent even heard.. Its a kind of
    educational that sounds a bit patronising. But
    you know, you try to introduce people to good
    roots music (Deadman 2008)
  • I mean Im not some kind of elitist, I didnt
    want necessarily a niche audience, but I did want
    people there who knew and would really appreciate
    the music, and thats what I got. I was really
    happy about, and that actually mattered more to
    me than breaking even (McLean 2008)

How to treat musicians
  • I think its important to make them feel welcome
    and wanted and part of everything.. well always
    cook for them (Hobson 2008)
  • Theyll remember that they were well looked
    after I think if they're relaxed and there's
    minimum hassle, they're calmer. Whether they
    play better or not, I don't know, maybe some
    bands would be better totally hyped up and
    annoyed (Morton 2008)
  • I always make sure that everybody leaves them
    alone for at least 30 minutes before they go on.
    Seal the room off, let them chill out and get
    ready for the performance. Theres plenty of
    time to talk to them afterwards, and afterwards
    theyll quite enjoy talking to you, so you can
    have a chat with them at soundcheck or teatime
    and then just leave them and then thats when
    they do their work, they put their minds to what
    songs theyre going to sing (Mackie 2008)

More hospitality
  • its really important that these bands feel like
    theyve been looked after, and that theyve
    enjoyed their experience, so that theyll come
    back. Cos if they have a bad experience,
    theyll say, were not going back there again
    (Pearce 2008)
  • Weve been requested all sorts of things, like,
    you know a mask. The name of band wanted a
    mask, cos they were collecting them on their way
    round, which we did, and they thought it was
    amazing. Weve been asked for a crossbow, arrows
    with flights, and five times drugs! laughs We
    didnt supply that, but, you know, its those
    little tiny details, and actually giving it to
    them. Like giving them their local paper, and
    their national paper, and a packet of fags, or,
    you know. At the end of the show, taking them a
    bottle of champagne, and saying, Oh, that was
    brilliant. Oh, we loved it (Pearce 2008)

Business Sense
  • at the end of the day bands talk to other bands
    on the circuit, cos I quite often gets bands
    emailing me or calling me up and saying my
    friend in such and such a band did a gig for you
    last month can we come and play?, which is
    really nice. I think at the end of the day, its
    like any scene, its you know, its a bit
    cliquey, a bit incestuous and I think if you mess
    people around and youre not straight with them
    and you treat them badly, it gets out and I think
    it kind of comes back on you, so I think its
    important to look after bands (Razor 2008)
  • giving them a better gig than they could do if
    they kind of arranged it themselves, you know, in
    terms of playing to a good audience and the gig
    being promoted properly and, you know, them
    getting looked after, and getting paid, at least
    to cover their costs, at the very least. Its
    about looking after the artist, cos I think at
    the end of the day, even if youve got no money,
    you can still provide hospitality, sort of thing.
    So, I think its important, because Ive played
    in bands myself and we used to do gigs youd
    spend 5 hours driving to Norwich and get there,
    and all there would be would be a few curly
    sandwiches and a family pack of supermarket own
    brand crisps and some warm lager to greet you
  • Artists royalties are drying up, and the
    managers incomes are drying up, so they phone
    them at that mansion in, whatever, in Essex, and
    say Get fucking out on the road, we need to
    make money! (Mackie 2008)

Creative Accounting?
  • what the promoters have told bands isnt
    necessarily the truth. Because if you have a deal
    against costs, for example, youre getting paid
    80 of gross income less costs. If the promoter
    says theyve spent 2500 on flyposting, maybe
    they have maybe they havent, its always in
    their interests to up the costs, and theres just
    not enough time in the world for a tour manager
    to demand to sit and see receipts for everything.
    So Im sure again, what they tell the bands might
    be different from what their actual bottom line
    is (Williamson 2008)
  • the tour manager needs to have a counter and be
    counting people on the door and be walking
    around. Then you can contest . . . Like, posters
    cost 30 quid, and they actually only cost three
    quid, and . . . security cost this, etc. And you
    know, you have to be on that kind of level (West

Dirtiness and creativity
  • It is a nasty back-stabbing business. . . oh,
    its a horrible business (Wilson 2008, emphasis
  • Key issue how firms, industries and society at
    large organise for creativity (Lorenzen 2009
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