There’s a lot of great advice out there about how to book a tour but I haven’t found many things about how to survive on tour. Going out on the road can sometimes be a dangerous affair: long hours on the road with little sleep, many late nights, financial risks, etc. Here are 5 easy tips to remember that can save your band’s tour:
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Entries in touring (15)
Entering concert dates is one of the most annoying parts of playing live. It’s both time-consuming and annoying to keep up with. Thankfully, it gets easier and easier each year to do this menial task. Entering dates into the services we have outlined below increases the chance of getting both fans and potential fans to your shows. Some of them can put them in the places where your fans go to hear and discover your music, where as others alert your fans who have liked you on Facebook that you will be in their town. Entering your dates into these services also increases your chance of being added to local concert calendars in local papers and radio stations. Making sure your dates are always up to date in these four services will increase the likelihood of getting fans out to shows and we will explain why.
A recent article by Last Stop Booking highlighted the fact that touring is now more important than ever. If you have the time, I highly suggest reading through the article to get a basic feeling for how you should be planning your tours as a band.
I’d like to add some tips/ideas to that post by going farther than just giving ballpark numbers and touring radiuses to go off of and instead dive into a profitable tour itinerary that just about any new indie band can use as a template.
When it comes to touring, I find more musicians focused with the “How,” “When,” and “Where” aspects but not enough of the “Why.” Of course, touring can be an incredibly important step in most artists’ careers but you should definitely take some time out to create solid goals and a definitive strategy before you decide when/where you want to hit the road. Why do we pick the target areas for touring that we do? Is it because we want to travel there? Because they are big cities? Because that’s what everyone else is doing?
I’ve written many things about booking, such as a step-by-step guide on booking a tour and a few things on getting into SXSW, but what happens if you don’t have a massive history of touring the country? What if this is a new band and this is your first gig? How do you get started?
Here are some tips on booking your band’s first show:
A while ago, I wrote a piece about The Unspoken Rules of How to Treat a Touring Band. Basically, it was some rules on courtesy between bands show share a gig. After going on a few more tours myself, I wanted to share some additional advice on how to make shows run a little more smoothly and how you can be a little more professional in your gigging.
Here are some assorted tips on the pro’s do it:
Whether you’re a part of the band, a helpful roadie or just a follow-you-anywhere fan, traveling with a musical group can be equal parts invigorating and exhausting. If you’re preparing to hit the road with a band, keep some basic travel principles in mind to ensure your musical adventure is as stress-free as you can make it, despite the hectic schedule and nights of activity you’ll surely face on the road.
The “Four P’s” is a term used to describe the traditional Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. I’m borrowing from that expression to talk about the Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation, Promotion, Performance, and Post-Show. This series of blog posts will cover the things that you can be doing as a live performer to maximize each show. In the final part of this series, we’ll go over what to do after your show is finished:
There’s plenty of advice out there for booking a tour. In fact, I’ve written on it a few times (including this step-by-step guide). People generally talk about the same kind of stuff: how to approach a venue, where to book, promoting, etc. However, I want to cover some of the territory that people don’t talk about, the pitfalls that you’ll come across along the way.
I believe that good information should be spread and even though I do booking for bands, I’m not afraid to share, step-by-step, how I go about this process. That’s what this music blog is all about, partnering up with artists to take the next step. I hope this helps your music career.
This is a more concise version of an earlier post which you can read here. I recommend you read that one too.
Once you’ve decided that you want to and are able to tour (and you’ve figured out the why’s), it’s time to plan the how, when, and where’s. This is what I do.
The recent release of the Beatles catalog on iTunes made me think - what did a ticket to see them at their live peak cost?
Answer: a prime seat to see the Beatles in Chicago 1966 cost $5.75 - in today’s dollars this is $37.60 - almost ten times less than what you would pay for a huge act today.
Things were different then of course - touring was done mainly to promote record sales and tickets were priced below market purposely to make sure shows were safely sold out and to reward fans for their record-buying loyalty. This produced what economists call a consumer surplus. Some of that surplus was soaked up by the secondary ticketing market.
As album sales are becoming a less meaningful component in the overall success of an artist or band, the live performance sector, including ticket sales and merchandise sales, is becoming increasingly important. While the live show itself must be unique in order to encourage repeat customers and ultimately drive ticket sales, the merchandise table has the opportunity to drive significant revenue and first hand, artist-fan engagement. But just having a merch table is not enough, as there are essential elements that must be accounted for in order to make the effort worth while.
Assuming that you have accounted for the typical ‘guts’, such as T-Shirts, CDs, Hats, Stickers, etc. there are essentials to any effective merch table that will do three very important thing:
- Increase your sales
- Increase your long-term engagement with new and existing fans
- Decrease wasteful overhead when investing in the merch for your next tour
If every artist, band or group represents it’s own brand, and must be sold as such to the public and to the music industry, then every brand needs to be packaged in a way that will effectively showcase it’s strengths and marketability. By now, most musicians understand the importance of a press kit- it is your brand, your image, it is you in a package and is the key to selling venues and a&r reps from both major and indie labels on the fact that you WILL make them money. But just making a press kit isn’t enough. In an industry with such a low barrier of entry, anyone can make and submit a press kit, decreasing your chance of actually getting recognized by those who matter. So what will you do to make your press kit more remarkable than the rest?
As of today, you will find a new menu item in the Music Think Tank menu that is simply labeled 100.
The Indie Maximum Exposure 100 blog was created by a team of industry experts and by artists that are making a full-time living from their music.
The 100 is an essential read for all artists; it’s a clear and concise guide to 100 important things every artist should consider. Check out the Indie Maximum Exposure 100 on Music Think Tank. Here’s a category list:
The Entire List (100)
Fostering Relationships (13)
Making Money (12)
Mindset/ Who You Are Being (16)
Online Resources (Where to Submit) (20)
Recording and Releasing Material (8)
Social Media/ Internet Strategy (16)
Touring/ Live Performance (15)
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(Updated November 2, 2013)