Want to work in The Music Industry as a Promoter, Producer, Publicist, Executive, DJ, or Tour Manager? Industry Insider gives Music Vice readers an exclusive insight from inside the industry as we talk to music professionals. We find out the specifics of their position and how you can grab their attention. In the first installment of Industry Insider, we speak to Tony Moore.
He was an original member of Iron Maiden and Cutting Crew; has won awards and accolation for his work in promoting emerging British Talent, and his live music venue was described by The Evening Standard as “The Best Acoustic Venue in London”!
Music Vice’s Ngawara Madison recently sat down with Tony Moore to talk about the music game, and what it takes to stand out from the crowd…
As the Musical Director of The Bedford in London, England you have played a key role in the promotion of some phenomenal artists over the years. The venue has become somewhat of an institution over the past few years, and you in your role as Director have helped as a springboard of promotion for some of the UK’s top emerging talent. Artists such as Ed Sheeran, Paulo Nutini, Lucie Silvas, Daniel Bedingfield, and many more, have passed through the venues doors. How do you find these artists and what does a musician or band need to do in order to get your attention and support?
There are generally 4 routes to getting a gig with us.
1. Past artists that have already played with us, that we know suit the spirit of our events and who we love to welcome back.
2. Acts who come recommended by industry professionals whose judgement we value.
3. Performers that me and my team see at other events who impress us and inspire us to want to book them.
4. “Cold Calling” acts who send us an email to introduce themselves with links to music and video etc. We get between 100 and 150 EVERY week, so you can imagine how inundated we are with enquiries.
A few years ago, The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors [BASCA] presented you with a Gold Badge Award for your work in promoting talent. You started off in the industry as a performer, playing in bands like Iron Maiden and The Cutting Crew before moving into Talent Promotion and Event Production. How did you come to make that transition and when did you realise that your career mainstay was going to be as a producer and promoter?
I have always had an eclectic background in entertainment that stretched further than just music. When I was a teenager my income came from being a “close up” magician and working everywhere from Blackpool to Toronto! I understood early on in my career about the importance of winning an audience over and I developed the fundamental skills for understanding event production and management.
However, it was in the 90’s when I felt there were no venues for singer/songwriters to play very acoustic sets that I launched a weekly show called The Kashmir Klub. It eventually ended up operating 6 nights a week and ran for 6 years. I employed all the things I had learnt through my career to create a hosted event, that was both loved by artists and audiences alike, a true win win situation.
Through that experience I developed a vision for how I wished to see shows put together, run and developed… I wanted to be able to help artists to be seen and heard at their best whilst encouraging and motivating them to deliver at the top of their game and grow artistically… This is something I then brought to The Bedford in Balham and The Regal Room in Hammersmith where I have been lucky enough to build an even bigger foundation for artists to have opportunities to be discovered.
What advice would you give to young people out there looking to get involved in event promotion and booking? What is the best way to get involved and get a ‘foot in the door’ at a venue like The Bedford, working behind the scenes?
There are some very basic things you need to understand, my promoters mantra is “book a draw or be a draw but never lose money”.
This means that the only things that sell tickets are acts that people wish to see (the draw) or you create an event (like Cirque du Soleil) where the event itself is the draw and people come because of the reputation you have created.
Don’t worry if you don’t make a profit, but NEVER lose money if you can help it.
PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE! That’s the name of the game after all…
All big promoters commit a large percentage of tickets sales to marketing – if no one knows that Robbie Williams is doing a gig you won’t sell any tickets, even if he is world famous and has millions of fans. You have to tell the WORLD what you are doing and excite them to buy a ticket and come to see it!
Contacts, Relationships and Reputation are your threee secret weapons and you can only get that with experience so do all you can – work experience, internships, volunteering – work long hours, be dependable, loyal and enthusiastic. Be pro-active and learn to take the initiative and who ever you work for will spot your qualities and may well offer you a full time job… that’s how I find most of my staff.
The Music Industry is changing at the moment; Due to the rise of The internet Generation it seems to be ever increasingly important for bands and artists to have a social media presence. How important is it for a band to have a good website, twitter, facebook, etc? At what point should bands move from practicing, to performing?
Social media and public profile is essential, but it has to be done with imagination, taste, honesty and passion. The public can tell when acts are being genuine or something is being over hyped.
I say the most important thing is to practice ALL the time! NON STOP! I still play at least an hour of guitar every day. Also – get as many gigs as you can – play anywhere and everywhere at the start to build your experience and to win an audience. Be the best you can be and make sure EVERY gig is treated with the same enthusiasm as you would have if you played Wembley, because you never know WHO may be watching!
© Ngawara Madison, Music Vice
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