Thursday, July 29, 2010

NYC Promotion Basics 101

This is a long-overdue blog about the business of Promotion, ABSOLUTION's Policies, and how it affects people who use the ABSOLUTION party to get their DJ or band names out to the public.


The first thing you must understand about the business of Promotion is that it is very esoteric. Is there anyone who has written down the rules of Promotion in the past? Not that I know of. A good Promoter does not reveal their secrets any more than any company would reveal the formulas that enable them to create their unique products.

Yet, in this case, I MUST write down some facts about this elusive, difficult business, to relieve the confusion that is being experienced by the sudden glut of new promoters and parties, to enable them to work well with ABSOLUTION and not be surprised by any decisions we are making, which viewed by an outsider or newcomer to the business, may not be understood.

The first thing you must understand is that the rules for a Weekly party are different from the rules for a Bi-Weekly or Monthly party. It is much easier to do a Bi-Weekly or Monthly party than a Weekly. Doing a Weekly party requires a greater skill level and greater adherence to the rules of Promotion, and not only that, a far greater time and energy commitment on the part of the promoter. It's for this reason that promoters who choose to do Weekly parties are more valued and respected by the community they are serving. The party quite literally becomes their life.

The second thing you must understand is that for the reasons stated above, security is paramount to keeping a Weekly party up and running. Think of the great parties of the past. All were Weeklies (there have been no great Monthlies) and at no time has a Weekly promoter who is experienced and serious about their career allowed flyers or advertisements to be passed out at their event for an event on the same day. At QXTs, they are even more strict- they employ two large bouncers with flashlights who constantly monitor the crowd for anyone passing out flyers to ANY other event(not even on the same day), and if you are found to be promoting there, you will be escorted to the door. I remember being frisked by the bouncer at the door of Albion @ the Bank for flyers and if any were found, they were kept at the door and only given back when I was leaving the club(and they would stand there and watch to see if I was really leaving). This was a courtesy to me- in most cases, the flyers were thrown in the trash. It goes without saying that these events are the largest there are in the Goth/Industrial history of NYC and it's surrounding areas. They didn't get that way by allowing other promoters access to their crowds.

We are actually looser in our security than these great old and present parties- we allow promoters to give out passes to any other night than the one we occupy, Friday. We even have a flyer table where we prominently display passes to other nights as long as they are not on Friday night. Therefore, we see ourselves as being quite progressive when it comes to other promoters and parties, unlike our mentors from the past who would never have allowed such a thing, or do not allow it even now.

From a moral perspective, when we decided to do Friday nights, there was not a single Friday event in NYC. We re-established our party on Friday nights(I say re-established because both Jason and I had previously done parties on Fridays for years). Suddenly there was a glut of parties on Friday nights. Some were what I like to call "resentment parties", which is a party developed not for profit or benefit to the scene, but to try to hurt or put another party out of out of business. Any good party has a mirror "resentment party", unfortunately, this is not the first time I've seen this happen and probably will not be the last. And some other parties were by newer promoters who didn't know the rules of Promotion and didn't understand that you're not supposed to do this.

*A word about Resentment Parties: They hardly ever work, and do you really want to be known as someone who would go to all that trouble just to be a jerk to someone else?*

Security doesn't just extend to not allowing other promoters to pass out flyers for events on the same night. It also extends to the people working and performing at your event. Each person who is allowed access to your crowd becomes a "draw" for your crowd- if they know you, they like you and want to come see you. It's for this reason that if you are regularly participating in a party on one night, you should not participate in a party on the same night at another venue. That is, if you care about the event and want it to survive. When you participate in an opposing event on the same night, you must understand that you are doing a great disservice to the party you regularly participate in. Now, some people might say "I have the right to do what I want!" Well of course you do. Anyone can do whatever they want. However, if you are not following the rules of Promotion, how can you expect Promoters to want to work with you? To have the same feelings toward you that they did when you were helping as opposed to hurting their events? These are the things to take into consideration when booking yourself as a performer in the nightlife of NYC.

By giving a performer time on our decks or stages, and billing on our weekly flyers, elists and websites, we are giving them a valuable chance to develop an audience. Drawing the crowd away from our event that helped establish them is considered "biting the hand that feeds". We would hope that our friends and people who care for ABSOLUTION and the scene in general would have the courtesy not to turn around and hurt the event which helped give them their names in NYC. ABSOLUTION is a unique party which allows a far greater amount of performers to participate than is usual. It is for this reason that Jason decided to make ABSOLUTION into a weekly party, because the Goth/Industrial scene was dying out, fragmenting into infrequent, poorly attended parties. The only thing we ask is for people who take advantage of this deal to make a name for themselves to respect ABSOLUTION and not draw people away on Friday nights.

You may find some inexperienced or infrequent promoters, or promoters who are not interested in making their events more successful, who allow such cross-promotion. But you cannot expect a serious promoter who is making these events a large part of their life to smile and say that it's ok, when it's really not. I did my first party in 1998, that's 12 years ago. So if someone who has not been in the party promotion business for very long, or someone who is not in it now, tries to give me advice or push me into doing something that I know is not good for my business, honestly, I don't think that person has my best interests at heart and I don't choose to spend time with them.

What I have written here is only a small part of the business of Promotion. It is just the BASICS of courtesy, and it follows the rules of common sense- if someone helps you, don't turn around and hurt them. There are 6 other nights of the week, some better than Friday, to book yourselves on. Friday night is not a free-for-all, it has an established party on it which has helped almost every name active in the scene right now. Please respect that.

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