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How to Be a Promoter in the Entertainment Industry

by Ellie Williams, studioD

A promoter organizes events such as concerts, sports events and tournaments. Some work for a single venue, where they seek out new musical or other entertainment acts to draw in more patrons. Many specialize in a single area, such as hip-hop music or comedians. To succeed in this field, you need an outgoing personality, strong organizational skills and a knack for cultivating relationships with clients, talent and other industry professionals.

Getting Started

You don’t necessarily need a degree to work as a promoter. However, many universities offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in entertainment business and related fields, which can prepare you for the job’s technical aspects, such as negotiating contracts. You typically won’t start out as a full-fledged promoter, instead working as an assistant and working your way up. You can also get your foot in the door as a receptionist, intern, volunteer or other support position. The Princeton Review notes that many concert promoters get their start in college, organizing campus events.


Who you know influences your success as a promoter. You’ll need strong connections within the industry to attract high-profile talent to the events and venues you represent and secure investors. Seek out opportunities to connect with other professionals in the entertainment industry, including talent agents, artist managers, publicists, venue owners and other promoters. You’ll also need excellent people and communication skills. The Princeton Review stresses charm as one of the crucial elements a promoter needs for success.

Organizing Events

As a promoter, you’ll handle every detail of setting up an event, from finding investors to finance the project to publicizing it and attracting paying customers. You must understand how to craft a marketing message that will entice the target audience, as well as how to negotiate contracts for the artists and performers who appear. In addition, you’ll oversee refreshments, seating, lighting, security, DJs and other factors designed to create a memorable experience for attendees. You’ll do all of this while staying within the established budget.


Like many other careers in entertainment, working as a promoter often requires long and irregular hours. To make it work, you must be prepared to work whenever you must to see an event through to completion. In addition, there’s high demand for promoter jobs but also low turnover. It can take several years to make a name for yourself, which is vital to securing in-demand artists for events. Many agents, for example, prefer to work with established promoters when lining up gigs for the talent they represent.

About the Author

Ellie Williams has been a journalist since 2001. Her work has been recognized by her state's press association and by her local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Williams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and humanities, with minors in French and theater.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images