Promotion Manager

  • Promotion Manager

The primary purpose of the promotion department is to obtain airplay for the record label’s albums and singles on as many stations in as many markets as possible. The promotion manager answers to the vice president or director of promotion, and oversees the larger promotion staff. This staff may be broken into segments based on music genre or geographical area, with a manager for each segment


In order to secure a coveted slot in the rotation on radio, MTV, or VH1, the promotion associate does the difficult legwork of calling and visiting stations. The promotion manager is tasked with deciding where a new single will debut and must take into account the demographics of the particular region, the format of the station, and the demographics of that station’s audience. To boost a station’s interest in the song and artist, the promotion manager will collaborate with other departments within the label to devise a complete promotion strategy; this may include designing T-shirts and bumper stickers through the merchandising department, coordinating radio and television interviews or press conferences with the publicity manager, enlisting the advertising staff to deploy commercials, and working with marketing to craft the most effective campaign based on the market research data. It is the job of the promotion manager to schedule regular meetings with the staff to disseminate airplay data and sales figures, and to give feedback on the success or failure of a particular campaign. 

Skills & Education

At most major record labels a college degree is required, though majors vary widely. Smaller labels may accept significant music industry or entertainment business experience for a promotion manager position. In either case, in this role you’ll need to have a firm knowledge of business principles and understand statistical analysis as it relates to market research and demographics. This is also a highly creative role that requires someone who is capable of thinking outside the box and knows how to generate excitement around a product. To succeed in this role you should have excellent communication and leadership skills, be capable of delegating responsibility, and be tenacious in support of your brand. 

What to Expect

Long hours” is an understatement. You will be glued to your phone, working station managers who don’t want to budge. You cannot underestimate the importance of charisma, motivation, and strong people skills. To get your song on the air, the decision-makers have to like you before they will like the single you’re pushing. Try to avoid burning bridges; you will have a short career if half the FM stations on the east coast won’t take your phone call. On the other hand, a promotion manager who can build strong relationships and a positive reputation in the music industry will have the opportunity to move up at larger record labels and grow into a position as vice president of promotions. 


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