Going on the road with artists to do regional promotion tours used to be so much fun….occasionally you might get the less than inspiring rock n roller, but at least it made you aware that that was the last time you were taking them anywhere ! In their desperation for ‘promotion, any promotion’ some product managers would tell you anything……..by the way, product managers are the people at the record companies who, for better or worse ‘manage the product’ notably the artists and their releases….what to do with them and how to do it.They each have several acts and they look after the day to day marketing, press , promotion etc of those acts and liasing with all the different departments at HQ. They are subjected to the wrath of irate managers and as soon as they get any shit they get on the phone and bark at someone else……usually us, the promo people. It’s a kind of product manager therapy but it didn’t take long for us to become immunized!
If an artist manager thought they didn’t see enough activity from the record company, and it’s their job to make sure something does happen for the act they represent then they would bark and scream at varying levels to usually the product manager. At the highest level a very influential manager may call the President directly to complain and they in turn might just sack the culprit so they could get on with the rest of their day…..anything that required the least amount of sorting out usually involved sacking someone.
If a release was struggling at getting any national interest ie national radio play or network TV then it was assumed that regional activity would happen….never did quite work that one out. We would get ‘the call’ not asking, consulting or seeking advice ..we would just be told we needed to put a regional promo tour together. It didn’t matter if the record was badly received they just needed to show the manager something was happening. In turn I’d get on the phone call some radio stations tell them what was required and make it happen, irrespective of whether I thought it made any sense or would have any effect on the record………and we wonder how record companies pissed it all away.
I had made a lot of good friends in regional radio and TV so it was always good to see them anyway and after the work was done we’d go out and have some fun. Pleasurable yes, productive from a professional standpoint, not always. Naturally when you had a new artist like Massive Attack, Neneh Cherry, Natalie Imbruglia, U2 who had killer debut singles you were only too happy to take them out on a promo tour, but those decisions should always be left to those that know, who’s job it was to identify what was the best way to promote the act they had entrusted in you. Common sense really, why would you employ anyone if you didn’t think they had the ideas and could do the job?