When I Was Involved Directly in Music Promotion

A DATE THAT DREW only 200 attendees — that sold only 200 tickets — for an artist of the stature of Stevie Wonder would have been cancelled.

Of course, when it’s a fund-raiser or a get-out-the-vote rally for the President, you don’t have that luxury.

I once sat in on the settlement for a show headlining Gil Scott Heron that was put on by MUSE, the anti-nuke crowd, which sold, if memory serves, under 100 tickets in a 3,500 seat theater. There, the promoters, a group of amateurs of the “Hey, kids! Let’s put a show on in my uncle’s barn!” stripe if there ever was one, had spent something like $140 (in late ’70s dollars) on advertising. The owner of the theater, a kindly old gent with a national reputation as a top-line promoter, gently explained that, for that amount of money, their ticket sales weren’t bad at all. Blood bath or not.

One likes to think they drew some comfort from that, though I remember one of them was in tears.

I wonder what the Obama campaign is telling themselves about their manifest failure as event promoters.

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