It's funny: I must have lived through 25 Presidents of Columbia Records during my career, while dealing with the same promoters in the UK and US for pretty much the entire time.
From Peter Rudge's interview with MusicBusinessWeekly.com
The promoter or booker is now the most important person in a bands career (and for most bands has always been). They can give you the start that helps things happen.
They can give you a gig when you need one.
They can provide the advice and the nurturing.
They can give you the contacts to get more work.
Not everybody can book bands (in spite of people telling us that anybody can do the job).
The live music business has been until now a people business. On the world stage that is changing, but for most musicians the venue booker is the person who gives you employment. Sometimes for $50, sometimes for $5000.
You are the sum of the relationships you build. Sure times can be hard, but if you treat people right, then they support you through those times.
Last week I had a Skype conversation with a band, because I knew one of the boy's fathers. They are a cool band, who can possibly succeed. But they need to understand how the business works and the sacrifices that may need to be made.
I think they got something out of the talk, and I hope they succeed. They have people who are interested in helping, and if they get their side of it together the can succeed.
The truth is "Hear about a band from three people you trust in a week, you have to go and see them, or delve deep." Your friends are usually right.
Build your networks, be cool, you know that making an idiot of yourself can cause you trouble.