Tour Publicist

  • Tour Publicist

Not all concerts or theatrical touring productions will enlist the services of a tour publicist, but when this individual is hired, he or she is responsible for all media relations and publicity activities related to the show while on the road. This person travels with the cast and crew, and may work for a publicity firm, record label, live entertainment production company, or as an independent freelancer.


Duties

When the show hits the road, the tour publicist works closely with the tour manager and advance person to promote each performance throughout the area; this includes contacting radio stations and television affiliates to coordinate interviews, setting up press conferences, and scheduling special appearances with the band or cast. The tour publicist may also contact local fan clubs to arrange exclusive parties and autograph sessions, or schedule photo opportunities or in-store performances at record stores. This person will also take on the task of distributing press passes and backstage credentials. He or she will be present at all personal appearances and will communicate with media producers in advance to discuss the format of interviews or any requirements of the artists.

When a record label, publicity firm, or production company employs a tour publicist, he or she will be required to check in regularly with supervisors at the home office to report on efforts in the field. Freelancers work independently and answer directly to artists and their management. In either case, the publicist is expected to conceive of creative promotion strategies and execute media plans to the satisfaction of the client, the ultimate goal being to drive ticket sales and encourage positive media coverage of the event. This is a 24-hour-a-day gig that demands the tour publicist be focused on immediate promotion efforts while also looking ahead to the next city.

Skills & Education

A college degree in entertainment business, communications, public relations, or a related field is recommended for this position. Courses in music business are especially helpful for the individual who aspires to work in concert touring. Additional classes in marketing, journalism, and advertising are also beneficial. A tour publicist must present a likable and confident demeanor, and be capable of establishing strong professional relationships with clients and members of the press. It is understood that organizational skills are imperative, as is a healthy respect for schedules and deadlines; publicists who are tardy for a press appearance won’t last long in the job.

What to Expect

You will have all of the stress of a publicist with the added hardship of living on the road. Every night your office is in a different closet at a different venue, and business is conducted in any corner of a noisy club or overcrowded bus where you can balance a cell phone and binder. It isn’t an easy gig, and it takes a particular type of person to do it well. Of course, the perks can be substantial. You will have the opportunity to network with media representatives from across the country and around the world, in addition to creating close relationships with recording artists, cast members, and crew. Just one successfully publicized tour can establish a lasting reputation for future employment.

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