CREATING A SPECTACLE
FOR LIVE PERFORMANCE
Veteran music promoter Pete Lally has had a varied career in Massachusetts, booking performances for Mill City Management while serving as General Manager for the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, all the while teaching courses in music business and raising a family. We talked with Pete about his company, Spectacle Management, which he named for Spectacle Island, one of the Boston Harbor Islands where Lally likes to sail.
What is your attraction to the music business and how did you first get into the industry?
My first exposure to the music business was as a musician. I majored in music in college, but knew that life as a professional trombone player would likely mean living in my parents’ basement for the rest of my life. So, I got involved in the booking and marketing end of the business and really enjoyed it. My favorite thing is the end result…having a room full of people enjoying a show.
Tell us about Spectacle Management and its core philosophy.
Spectacle Management was launched in 2013. I had a fantastic 14 years at Lowell Auditorium, but I wanted the chance to book shows in more than one venue, and launched Spectacle Management so that I could promote and produce live shows in a variety of venues. The core philosophy is to match the right artist with the right venue and the right date. You can never get it perfect, so there’s always a new challenge.
In the digital world of downloads and home entertainment, what do audiences expect when they go to a live concert these days?
I think that audiences are increasingly looking for convenience. They are willing to buy tickets for the whole experience… a conveniently located venue, good parking and restaurants, a quality venue. You really need to focus on a patron’s entire experience from the time they buy tickets until the time they are home from the show. It all counts in how they view their experience and how likely they are to return.
You teach Music Business at UMass/Lowell. What do you tell your students about the rigors and challenges of the music industry?
I tell them that the music business is a lifestyle choice. The majority of the jobs are not 9-5. They require weekends, nights, and holidays on top of “regular business hours.” I also tell them that it’s important to work with people you enjoy being with. I’ve got a great team at Spectacle Management and really enjoy spending time with them. My father joined the Spectacle Management team shortly after SM was launched. It’s been a lot of fun to work with him and I really value the chance to do that.