Promoters are responsible for organising most aspects of live shows and getting people through the door.

Roles include:


  • Sourcing, booking and liaising with venue
  • Unearthing and booking artists
  • Liaising with artists and/or managers and agents (including performance agreements, 'advancing' the gig, organising riders and agreeing logistics for the gig)
  • Programming the event
  • Organising sound and light requirments
  • Marketing and promotion (including physical and online promotion)
  • Coordinating ticketing
  • Budgeting for the event and paying all parties (venue, artists, sound team, etc.)


A promoter is usually responsible for covering the venue costs, promotional costs and for paying all parties. Sometimes promoters can be paid by the venue but often the promoter would expect to recoup costs through ticket sales. In many ways, a promoter takes the biggest risk (especially in the world of small-medium sized gigs), and the success or failure of an event often falls on their shoulders. 

Fee payment differs depending on which venue and which promoter an artist plays for - but it's always best to agree payment terms with a promoter prior to accepting a gig.

Every deal is different and depends on the type of venue and the profile (or draw) of the artists performing. If you are making a deal with a promoter for profits from a gig, you are most likely to have a set amount you will be paid no matter how busy a gig is. Another common payment deal is the ‘door-split’ where the promoter splits profits from door or ticket sales (once costs are recouped) with the band. You should expect to get anything from 50-80% from such a split.

It is not uncommon when you are starting out to get paid nothing for a gig. Although we advise against playing for free, it can sometimes be in an artist’s best interests, helping to increase your fanbase or gain valuable live experience.  But beware of the many promoters out there to make a quick buck from naïve bands and avoid ‘pay-to-play’ gigs at all costs. A little research goes a long way to ensure you are approaching trustworthy and hardworking promoters. Talk to other bands and attend as many gigs as possible to give you an idea of which promoters to approach.

When contacting promoters, you should be aware that each promoter accesses music in different ways. Make sure you can send them a good press kit (demo, band picture, biog, etc.), whether physically or digitally, and keep your online pages up to date. Although promoters may book you on the strength of your music alone, use all these tools to demonstrate that you can get enough people to your gigs.


Useful Links:

The Unsigned Guide (which lists many UK promoters)

Audience / Live UK

For further advice and support:

Book a Music Clinic / Check out our latest related Events / Sign up to The Gen on our homepage.

Photo by Stephen Noble