What Does a Tour Promoter do?

What is a Tour Promoter?

Tour promoters are the behind-the-scenes players of live music. They are responsible for deals between the artists and the venues, contracts, and negotiations; they advertise the shows and get the tickets sold. They are a part of the artist’s team, and they push the artist to the next level with their resources, and cohesively work with others in the artist’s team. To promote the shows, they figure out different strategies to fill the venues and by doing so they raise the artist’s profile. 

Skills Required to Be a Tour Promoter

Tour promotion is an incredibly social job, it requires talking to a lot of people in the music industry. It is important to be up to date and to be able to stay current in the industry. The tour promoter has to deal with numbers, therefore has to have math, negotiation, budgeting, and problem-solving skills. Marketing and publicity are extremely significant for this job, it is important to have a deep knowledge of the music market and use that knowledge to make profitable choices. 

The Booking Process 


Routing is normally created by the booking agent that is hired by the artist, and it’s based on the artist’s calendar.  Some artists are very involved in where they want to play and where they don’t want to play. Depending on their demands, the booking agent lays out the dates.
If the tour promoter is on a mission to work with a certain artist, then they contact their booking agent to be their touring partner. This way, the tour promoter can offer their resources to further the artist. 

Holding Dates

Once the routing is figured out, the tour promoter contacts the venues to see their availability. If the tour promoter places the first hold at a venue, that means they own the date and will be notified if there is anyone else that tries to take it. If the tour promoter is the second hold, that means the first hold could take the date. It is, therefore, a first come first serve business considering the structure of the holding dates procedure.  

What happens if the promoter loses the date or there is no availability? 

If there is no fit possible, then they have to reroute the tour and make the dates work. 

Contracts & Negotiations 

The booking agent and the tour promoter negotiate all the expenses that make up the contracts: 

  • ticket prices 
  • artist guarantees
  • transportation expenses
  • support expenses
  • catering expenses
  • marketing expenses
  • Misc expenses

Using this information they can create the budget.
The common deal types for artists guarantee a certain amount of money even if there are no ticket sales with the possibility of more money if the show performs well. All the ticketing money goes into the show gross and after the show expenses come out, the money that is left is added to the artist guarantee. 

Tour Promoter Tips 

  •  When you are a tour promoter, other people’s well-being and lives rely on you because ultimately you are the decision-maker. Therefore, it is important to know what you are working with when you are making the decisions. 
  •  Essentially, a tour promoter is working alongside booking agents, booking coordinators, local promoters, marketing managers, ticketing managers, production managers; it is all teamwork. You have to be a team player. 
  • This job is all based on numbers, so you always have math to fall back on.
  •  As a tour promoter, you will go to some shows like the first night of the tour or the artist’s hometown show. If you have done your job correctly, you will have nothing to do at the show. If you have failed at any point, then there might be an issue you need to resolve at the show. 


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