A virtual music tour is similar to a traditional tour in that the band/musicians make several appearances, and in several locations, in an attempt to promote and sell their music. On a traditional tour, musicians make contact with clubs, bars or other suitable venues (suitable venues: house parties, small music festivals, state fairs, and Geri’s Bat Mitzvah) to book live shows. They then travel to each city, spend time at each location playing their music and possibly spending time with the audience in an effort to sell their music and merchandise. Many musicians will agree, for the effort and expense involved, touring and playing live doesn’t sell many CD’s or music downloads. (Although it can be a heck of a lot of fun, if you have the money.)
A virtual tour is very similar to the traditional live tour. The biggest difference being, there are no extensive travel, no travel related expenses, no need to try to figure out how to take 2, 6, or 12 weeks off work. Virtual tours are accomplished 100 percent over the Internet.
Musicians make contact with related web sites, blog writers/editors, radio stations, to schedule one-day visits per site. An interview, a review of the bands music, or a performance video, is prepared in advance for posting on an agreed upon date. The tour stop is advertised (note: advertised on your website, the hosting site, your facebook, your myspace, your reverbnation profile, your youtube channel, your network of fellow musicians, etc.) well in advance of the posting date. The day of the post and some days after, the band/musician will usually make themselves available for comment responses in a real-time chat stream or answering viewers posted questions (within the comment link section).
Sometimes, a virtual tour will include video interviews or live performances as well. These tour stops require more precise timing, therefore are a little more difficult to schedule.
There are agencies you can hire to organize a virtual book tour for you. The cost ranges from $300 to $3,000 depending on the number of tour dates and how extravagant you want the tour to be. Cost may also increase if you want to “tour” in a country that speaks a language other than yours. Translators are not cheap, but making an effort to “meet” fans in their own language goes a long way. For comparison, contrast the cost/time involvement of a two-week “live” tour with 4-5 live venues versus the two-week “virtual” tour which has minimal travel, reasonable time needs, and could have 7-9 “online venue” appearances.
These agencies pinpoint blogs/web sites in certain areas of the country or the world, web sites with specific focus based on musical style, lifestyle of the band, or even those based on common interests between band member and audience. These online or virtual stops will introduce your music to new listeners and hopefully gain you new fans and buyers of your music.
To date, there may only be two of of these agencies in existence. More agencies will undoubtedly appear as they realize the potential in online/virtual music promotion and performance.
You do have the option of organizing your own virtual tour. The process is not as difficult as it might first appear. The most important part of a successful do-it-yourself virtual tour is having good organizational skills. The ability to politely and efficiently communicate with others is a plus as well.
Coming Soon: The Virtual Tour, Part II or How All that Internet Surfing Proves Useful.
Apryl Peredo is the founder of Inter Idoru, a company which specializes in Virtual Tours, Virtual Promotion, and Virtual Band Management. She has several years experience in the music industry in radio production, sound engineering and production, artist/music promotion, and event planning. She can be contacted at: email@example.com.