Promotional Tours

  • Even though the music may be weak, due to the manager's stature the label is forced to do something to promote the album. Enter the promo tour!

  • The artist is important.
    One of the first promo tours I organized at Columbia was for an esoteric side project from one of music's most accomplished contemporary solo jazz artists. The album crossed many different genres of music and had no obvious singles. In short, the record had no real shot at radio. Regardless, due to the artist's stature, the label was obligated to extend an effort, or risk offending this artist, who had delivered many critically acclaimed jazz records to Columbia.

  • The label wants to create an impression of priority for radio.
    Radio stations receive almost 100 songs each week. Since song familiarity is so important to ratings success, there simply isn't enough time in a broadcast week for radio to spin more than 30-35 new songs at a time. Since everyone in the business knows that stations receive infinitely more music than they could ever play, radio programmers get called all day long by dozens of people who want them to do things for them. Promotion reps, managers, agents, retailers, listeners and sometimes even artists themselves call radio stations to lobby for their songs. In any given phone call, a different promo guy will tell a programmer, "This song is a real priority for my label, so I really think you should give it a shot." Well, guess what? During any given week, a radio station only has about one to two slots to put on new music, so they rarely believe record reps when they work this tired angle. Many songs sound the same, many bands look the same, and more often than not, the majority of songs delivered to radio are stiffs anyway. Therefore, if a rep is to actually bring their artist in to a radio station as part of what looks like an expensive national promo tour, the station is way more inclined to put a face to the band and separate it from the huge piles of music they receive each week. This brings us to our next point.

  • Radio personnel are more likely to play records they believe have money behind them.
    I wish it were the case that the best songs made it on the radio. Unfortunately, any industry professional knows this is just not the case. When radio stations give a song a shot, they want to know that the label will instantly start pumping money into the marketplace.

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