Powered by Robbi: The Promotions Game Demystified

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Robbi The Promoter -- ANGIE SKI PHOTO

For some time now, we have been thinking about putting together some sort of “promoters’ roundtable” to get a little insight into the magic of events promotion.  It really is a science, with a lot of money and reputations on the table.  It’s a carnivorous business, as you are only as good as your last event.  But in every discipline, there are success stories.  And at Dance Music Authority, we really love success stories.

Timing is everything, and we recently had the good fortune to pick the brain of one of underground dance music’s most prolific and well-respected promoters in the business—Robbi the Promoter.

His story is the classic example of turning tragedy into triumph—and he has the accolades to prove it.  As a 5-time “promoter of the year” winner, Robbi has gained international recognition as a genuine “New York legend.”  His reputation speaks for itself, and he is successfully flexing his skills to promote records. clothes, websites, documentaries…and, of course, parties!

In our efforts to reincarnate Dance Music Authority Magazine online, we are flat-out amazed by how much the game has changed.  To us, event promotions has always been a science, but it is now far more apparent due to the myriad techniques they use to get the word out on their events.  There is a specific methodology to what they do to ensure that the club is always packed for their events.  And with so much on the line each time they promote an event, there is little room for error.

So, before we get the roundtable together, we’ll take this opportunity to ask a few questions and celebrate the birthday of one of the classiest individuals in the promotions arena—Robbi the Promoter.

DMAclub:  First off, Robbi, thanks for being supportive of us in our efforts to “come back from the dead” online! You really lead by example, as your work really speaks for itself!  How did you manage to turn a tragic situation into a stellar career?  What made you stand out when given that critical opportunity?

Robbi Promoter: I actually never counted on it reaching to that level all I wanted to do was live….I stood out simply because from the getgo, I created literally completely different ways (of getting the word out, ed.) than the average promoter.

DMAclub:  What do you consider to be the keys to your success in the ultra-competitive New York party scene.  As the song goes, “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere…”

Robbi Promoter: I m an extremely creative person….I can come up with 5 different ideas at the snap of a finger……I also have ways of marketing myself in conjunction with parties, music, djs–or anything else I promote.

DMAclub:  How many events do you promote each year?

Robbi Promoter: About a little over 100, or so, events I guess.

Louie Vega, Kenny Dope, Robbi, Terry Hunter
You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep! (L-R): Louie Vega, Kenny Dope, Robbi, Terry Hunter

DMAclub:  You have been named “Promoter of The Year” a remarkable FIVE times.  What do you think sets you apart from your peers?

Robbi Promoter: Well the awards thing thing was judged by people casting their votes to a website which is no longer in service, called undergroundarchives.

The thing that sets me apart from other promoters is I don’t only promote events, I push websites, clothing and  records–in which a lot of them have became dancefloor hits.

Now, I utilize the Internet to put all this stuff out there on  global level …..people see this and vote for me plain and simple.

DMAclub:  We absolutely love the beautiful pluggers that we receive for your events, how have the Internet and email changed the promotions game?  In Chicago, you used to be able to pick up flyers at record stores, now with the lack of physical stores, where do you post flyers—aside from clubs and chic bookstores and coffee shops?  Also, how many actual flyers do you pass out these days?

Robbi Promoter: I usually print a box of 5000 flyers.  I have someone give them out…outside of parties.  And I, myself, put the flyers in about 20 stores throughout New York City.

DMAclub:  When I was shopping for new tracks recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see that you were also promoting tracks!?  Many feel that digital downloads are a brand new opportunity for dance music artists to actually make some decent money off of their projects.  Do you agree with this assessment?

Robbi Promoter: I would say yes, simply because that’s basically the best way to go………..I might be wrong but its up to the label to put their music on as many sites as possible to make this all work in every one’s favor.

DMAclub:  You deal with some of the real heavies in the business—Louie Vega and other elite artists. How many blogs and web sites do you send party info to?

Robbi Promoter: I post parties on about 40 message boards and websites.

DMAclub:  What are your goals for 2010?

Robbi Promoter: Just to keep pushing on.

DMAclub:  What do you consider to be the biggest changes in the in the dance scene over this decade—the rave ordinance?

Robbi Promoter: The audience has almost completely changed

DMAclub:  At Dance Music Authority, we love it when our icons stay healthy, prolific and at the top of their game.  You’re celebrating your Birthday this Friday, how long do you want to stay in the music business?

Robbi Promoter:  Yes I am celebrating My birthday at My TWO NATIONS party with resident DJ Wayne Williams+guest Jellybean Benitez+Tony Humphries  with DJN project performance…….I’M willing to stay in the music business forever

DMAclub:  Do you consider yourself to be a “house-4-lifer?

Robbi Promoter: Yea.

DMAclub:  Are you optimistic about the future of the underground house music scene?

Robbi Promoter: Yes, there is a lot of great  fresh, young talent out there.

DMAclub:  We are very thankful to have connected with you over the past several months.  It has been a real education and uplifting to experience New York vicariously through your beautiful flyers.

Until our next interview, Peace, Happiness and Continued Success!  Happy Birthday, Robbi!!!

Robbi Promoter:  Thank you.

To connect with Robbi and inquire more about the services he provides, go to:  info:robbipromoter@gmail.com. We look forward to a lot more beautiful pluggers and exciting news from this inspirational and prolific dance music icon.  – J. Medley

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  1. Hey Mr. Journalist!

    This article could benefit from even more exclamation points!!!

    And thanks for twice promising us a story of tragedy turned to triumph! Then never actually delivering it!!

    All good interviews start with the journalist telling the interview subject that they think they are like totally awesome! Way to go!

    I love how you dug deep and got really insightful answers out of him!

    Now we know why DMA went out of business! They give their advertising away for free and call it a story!

    • Rub,

      It's really not that serious. Sometimes, it's fun to relax and have a casual exchange.

      As a WordPress blog, we can always dig deeper at ANY time. That is one of the key benefits of blogs versus physical print–the "freedom to never be finished." You make a major false assumption relative to advertising–We DO NOT CHARGE TO POST PARTIES. ONE of our major goals is simply to provide a forum where folks can post what they have going on. Charging to post parties blows the entire concept.

      Another major assumption concerns the word "journalist." We look at things from a consumer's vantage point. As a result, we take a lot of creative liberties–all caps, exclamation points, butchered language. We do, however, have integrity, along with critical eyes and ears.

      We consider DMAclub.com to be an open, evolving community that is really just getting off the ground.

      DMA went out of business because its founder had the good sense to a make a pragmatic business decision, as opposed to plodding ahead in a bull-headed fashion, oblivious to what was in his best financial interests.

      Dance Music Authority lives on at DMAclub.com, and we're having a blast using the new tools at our disposal. There are too many exciting things going on–new products, new music, new venues–to stew in the past.

      If there is something you would like covered, let us know and you just way be pleasantly surprised. I'm sure if you have more questions for Robbi, we can get some answers.

      If you have an event you would like to promote, post away. If you have a new track, post away!

      Hit us back any time!

      Peace to you & yours! We're off to have a little fun in the lab! –J. Medley

  2. I should demand a consulting fee.

    Seriously, this is weak content.

    I wasn't accusing you of charging for party promotions. I was suggesting that you ought to charge your interview subjects a fee when you present a promotional q&a like this, as it reads like an advertisement.

    Puff-pieces are neither entertaining nor informative. And with a dance music press that has long been notorious for giving kiss-ass interviews and inflated reviews and recommendations, I would hope that a blog named Dance Music Authority would avoid such pitfalls.

    I understand that it's difficult to be critical of your own writing and that it's easier to make excuses like "this isn't that serious" or "we can dig deeper later," but if you want to provide readers with the type of bespoke content that makes this a go-to outlet for dance music news, then you have to try harder.

    I mean, do you really think this interview demystified anything? Do you think there were any inventive, innovative techniques for promoting that were revealed through this interview? You claim to have critical eyes and ears, but where is that evidenced? The intro is written in the type of sickly gushing language I'd expect to read in a fan magazine. How about providing your readers with some hard financial figures about his success to substantiate the claim? My idea of success in the promotions game in NYC runs well into the six figures. Is that what we are talking about?

    How about asking some questions that actually elicit interesting answers, like about the "tragedy" you allude to? How about questions about his interactions with his competition, the fees he charges, some of the run-ins he's had with people in the industry? There isn't a single question that wasn't asked with the sole intention of providing the interviewee the chance to promote himself. There isn't a single question that would make us think that you did some research before typing out your questions. And there is a total lack of follow-up questions to any of his answers.

    If Robbi is your close friend, then you should have had somebody else write this in the name of the integrity you claim. If not, then you need to wipe the stars out of your eyes before you conduct future interviews.

    There are lots of things in the dance music world I would love to have covered, but judging from this interview, I don't think you are the guys to do it. I'll come back in hopes that you prove me wrong in the future with articles that are enlightening, entertaining, objective, critical and sometimes even controversial. On a medium that offers a near infinite selection of choices, most first-time readers won't give such second chances.

    • Hey, Rub–

      We might need your consulting services; how much? Do you have a web site or rate card?

      Dance Music Authority is a work-in-progress. Again, The Rub, do you have any gigs or projects that you would like to showcase? Do you have any more substantive questions for Robbi?

      We have become big fans of Robbi…and a number of other promoters from around the globe in our efforts to get back in the mix. We are happy to spread the word about the great work that Robbi does. As a blog, we are never finished.

      It seems as if you are a little bitter and just want to trash DMA, as you offer no tangible, positive suggestions for further coverage.

      If you just want to say “DMA, you suck,” I’ll say it for you! We do, however, love specific suggestions.

      Thanks for hitting us back. Have a fun day doing what you do. –J. Medley

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