Get the Show on the Road: 3 Ways to Finance a Tour
April 24, 2014
Mackenzie Carlin in booking a tour, tour

Dizzyjam, an online merchandising firm that caters to musicians, asked 207 bands (mostly from the U.S. and U.K.), about their financial situations. Seventy-two percent of them said they earned some money, but not near enough to live on; 23 percent lost money making music, and only 4.3 percent earned enough to live solely off their music. You already knew that making a career out of music would be difficult, but it's doable, especially for persistent bands with a decent following. Even if you don't make it big, touring the country is a priceless experience. Here are three ways to raise the necessary funds to get your tour started:

Crowdfunding

The crowdfunding industry raised $2.7 billion in 2012 and $1.5 billion in 2011, and the financial consulting firm Deloitte estimated that 2013's crowdfunding efforts would raise $3 billion total (we have yet to see exact numbers for last year). The money is there, if you put forth the effort—5,067 music-related projects were successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2012, the most across all industries. In 2012, Amanda Palmer (of the alternative rock duo Dresden Dolls) raised more than $1 million via Kickstarter for her tour and record. It can be done.

Make certain to set a realistic goal. Kickstarter returns all money to the original donors if the goal is not met in a specified period of time. Indiegogo has an option in which you keep the money donated whether you reach your goal or not, after the company takes its nine percent fee (it's five percent if you reach your goal). Sell A Band and PledgeMusic are two more crowdfunding platforms you may want to consider.

Produce an original song and video specifically for your crowdfunding campaign. Remember, you are asking people to give you money for a tour that you haven't even started yet. Give them a reason to donate their hard-earned dollars. Offer discounted or free tickets to fans who donate a certain amount.

Promote your crowdfunding campaign as much as possible. Use your social media accounts, make fliers and even consider hiring a publicity person to promote your campaign, if the price is right.

Find a Sponsor

Businesses and nonprofits are willing to sponsor bands not only because they like the music, but because most payments of this sort are tax-deductible. The way you pitch your idea to a potential sponsor will strongly influence the outcome. Keep in mind, sponsors are only concerned about what you can do for them.

Approach a used car dealership and ask them to donate a van for your tour. You can place their logo, Web address and phone number on the outside of the van in exchange. When asking a company or nonprofit for cash, assure them you'll place their logo on your CD cover or another highly visible place. Don't ask for too much up front, and keep your pitch as short as possible. Use Forbes' 15-second pitch strategy for further guidance.

Raise the Money Yourselves

The easiest way to save money is for all band members to live under the same roof for a period of time. It's much easier to save when the monthly rent is divided three or four ways, and you'll need to get used to one another anyway. If any band member is receiving structured settlement or annuity payments, contact J.G. Wentworth to see if they'll buy the future payments for a lump sum of cash now.

The chance of getting rich or even earning a decent living touring is small. But the chance is zero is you don't try.

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/).
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