The promotion industry will change

Posters on wall

Promotion businesses (including professional freelancers) help artists to reach and communicate with their audience. These businesses include managers, publicists, booking agents, poster companies and anyone else who helps artists get their word out.

Under the major record label model, the record labels themselves did most promotion work in-house. The freelancers and independent businesses were relatively inaccessible to independent artists due to both price and discoverability.

As more and more independent artists develop financial sustainability and their own unbridled ambition, promotion businesses will grow to meet the demand. This process has already begun. As with production, artists will begin to form into two types and production businesses will specialise to serve one or the other.

Some artists will require broad assistance across many areas of promotion and communication with their audience. They will want to partner with a business that can provide a holistic service, likely with a comprehensive strategy. These businesses will operate much like independent record labels in the breadth of support they provide to their artists. The difference will be that they will charge for their services, rather than share in their artists’ revenue. Artists will choose to partner with these businesses when they want broad support but wish to retain full creative control and/or full control of the way they run their affairs.

Other artists will prefer to take care of most of their promotion and communications, choosing to outsource only a few components (e.g. publicity to newspapers or booking support shows with larger artists). They may also choose to use different specialist promotion businesses for each component, requiring them to coordinate the overall strategy themselves. Promotion businesses that service these artists will tend to specialise in a narrow range of services, but will become among the best in their field for delivering those services. Artists will choose to use these businesses when they confidently and satisfactorily handle most of their own promotion and communication strategies.