Andrew Magyar | Crain's Connecticut

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Andrew Magyar

Background:  

Based in Wallingford, Conn., Magyar Promotions provides management services and promotional support for more than 50 bands and singer/songwriters across New England.

The Mistake:

When I began this company in July 2015, I knew a lot of musical artists who were trying to find work. I decided to help them out, and I thought I would be the right man for the job.

Prior to this, I handled the promotions for a bar in Wallingford. I thought that it would be easy to transfer my skills in venue promotion to band promotion and management.

But it didn’t quite work that way.

It is getting harder and harder nowadays to get people to go to a venue.

The Lesson:

The problem, I have learned, is not a lack of venues, but instead it is a lack of people in the venues. It is getting harder and harder nowadays to get people to go to a venue. It seems that a lot of people do not want to go out anymore.

I’ve learned that if people go to a club or a bar, it is because they like the club or the bar and not because of whoever is performing. And just because the venue has live music does not mean that people will come to hear the songs. If they never heard of the performers, they probably will not be curious to check them out.

Sometimes, the venue will take it upon itself to promote whoever is on its stage. The venues that take that approach are the ones that are successful, but more often than not, it is incumbent upon the performers – and, by extension, managers like myself – to call attention to the shows.

It is very difficult for music performers who are not signed to a record label to get any airtime in Connecticut. Most of the radio stations play the Top 40 hits, although one FM station does devote some of its Sundays to local bands. The smaller college stations and locally based Internet channels are also supportive of home-grown music. But the major radio stations are not backing the local scene, and you can’t even get their on-air talent to come to shows unless you are a big-time sponsor of their shows.

Social media has been a big help, especially Facebook and Instagram. I always encourage performers to shoot videos and put them on YouTube. But Twitter, with its character limit, is often too limiting for getting the word out.

To get exposure for my artists, I have asked them to do some free shows. I don’t like to do that – after all, no one wants to work for free – and I try to limit that strategy mostly to benefits. But it does help to raise recognition and connect performers with new audiences.

And it also helps in this industry to know the right people. I recently arranged for six of my bands to perform at the XL Center in Hartford, which happened because I knew somebody who knew somebody who was able to set up the gig. A lot of show business is like that.

This aspect of the promotions business has been a learning curve, for sure. And it can be hard work. But I like doing it, and over time my goal is to grow and grow and grow.

Magyar Promotions is online at https://magyarpromotions.com.

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