Posted: Jan 13, 2020
"As a music consultant for Artist Collective, I constantly hear the complaints and excuses of artists all around the country about the industry and the idea of ‘touring’. From globetrotting acoustic acts to Chicago-based rap groups, musicians have tricked themselves to believe in an antiquated idea of what the inner workings of the music industry ACTUALLY are...
So to start chipping away at the brainwash, let’s knock down these 5 HUGE LIES ABOUT TOURING IN 2020:
-I’ve heard too many barroom chats about how secret societies are controlling the airwaves and the industry. The common cop-out that The Illuminati or some similar elitist group is controlling the flow of music and how its distributed is NOT TRUE. Money and fans move the modern airwaves. With social media reigning supreme and streaming services blasting the doors open for independent artists, the power has been taken from the labels. That power has been given to the individuals that can create a foundation, prep for success, and design a music brand with longevity in mind. Now that’s a lot easier said than done, but labels absolutely don’t hold the keys to success anymore and that is good news!
This is an amazing book that shows how each label controlled their piece of the musical pie using bribery, and I highly recommend you snag one. And yes, grab a paper book so you can take notes or rip out pages you like. Paper cuts are a little painful, but good for the soul.
-Booking agents for developing artists are rare. Booking agents for mid-level artists without covers are even rarer. Until you have a following with a ticket price that will attract an industry pro, you need to learn how to book for yourself. Let me repeat that for those in back: YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO BOOK YOURSELF unless you can afford to pay someone else or you’re willing to give away equity and control.
-For starters, document the venues in your city that you’d be suited for. Canvas those opportunities and database their contact info and booking process preferably in an Excel sheet (or you can just find the information in the Indie on the Move music venues database). As you build those nearby connections in your own neighborhoods, expand your reach to your county, then local counties, then your entire state and continue spreading. When deciding cities, use social media and website insights to aid in your decision of where to tour.
-A quick tip for creating state to state touring routes are to trace the most common highways and cheapest routes to heavily populated cities. Very common booking contracts require you not to play for 90 days within 100 miles of a venue. This can oftentimes make the decision of where you stop to rest/play for you.
-Touring as a musician is one of the most magical experiences you can have as an original artist, but it is NOT a requirement. I’ve worked with artists that have incredible recurring income in the music industry without ever having played a live show. Depending on your style of music and the way that you best connect with your audience and monetize your brand, you may not have to be a road warrior. But from someone that’s lived in a Tiny Home on the road for months at a time, it’s an experience you should seriously consider investing some of your life into...
For countless DIY Musician resources, articles, and a customized community, sign up for a 30-DAY FREE TRIAL to Artist Collective here: https://www.artistcollect.com/a/20590/pPLzJzbR
-This is simply not true. Though live performances aren’t a necessity in modern music because of things like streaming, social media influencing income, and new electronic platforms, they can be very profitable. The best thing you can do to drive your price point of live gigs is to create an experience beyond a simple concert. House shows have been a successful outlet that highlights the experience of an intimate performance and countless musicians have funded their careers from them. Branding themes, extra activities, visuals, and collaborations that are memorable can take a $7 entry fee and turn it to a $25 ‘inclusive ticket’. Also, don’t be afraid to do donation-based shows for your core followers. You may be surprised what generosity people have when given the opportunity.
-A simple way to do this with clubs/bars/venues is offering a VIP Package that includes unlimited drinks or a food package for a certain time period. This is a great technique to get a party crowd at your events and the venues will love that your drink-heavy crowd is sauced up and ready for the full price section of the night. Negotiate a high percentage profit share of this package and pre-sale it like crazy to meet your minimum room requirement if you have one.
-Another simple way to cut costs are to cut out the middle-men wherever you can. Some easy tasks that could be handled by volunteers close to the acts in the show are MERCH HANDLERS - TICKET COLLECTION - SECURITY - PROMOTION, etc. Different show types have different setups and percentage shares, so finesse what you can during negotiation according to who in your network would donate their time, would trade/barter services, or be a cheaper alternative.
-Consultant based assistance is becoming more and more common as labels and agencies continue to lose power. Various networks have been created throughout the country in particular sub-genre communities to assist the touring process. EDM has even popularized the use of State-Specific booking agents, rather than individuals that try to stretch their presence nationally.
-An incredible resource for any DIY Musician is IndieOnTheMove.com: The Music Industry's Destination for Show and Tour Booking. Kyle Weber, President of Indie On The Move and friend of Artist Collective, and his team have created an impressive platform offering access to countless industry contacts, direct messaging, classifieds postings and customized booking assistance via the “DIT (Do It Together) Tour Booking Experience”. They also offer a variety of a la carte Pro Services as well. This is TOUR BOOKING MADE EASY.
-Various online resources to automate your bookings exist as well, primarily in the cover artist genre. Thumbtack, Gigmasters, The Knot, GigSalad, and SonicBids are some that we’ve had great luck with in the past. These are fantastic for creating online equity and credibility with potential clients as the positive reviews roll in. I’ve personally cashed in on this equity many times as I’m notorious for moving from city to city every couple years. I have been able to continue playing full time through every transition because of the trust I’ve built through my online platforms. Most of these services can be paid for with one confirmed performance!
All in all, the music industry is becoming more and more automated as we look at 2020. Online platforms have radically reduced the number of booking agents and agencies, streaming services and social media has allowed new international fan ship for everyone, and the idea of what a ‘tour’ is can be customized for just about any artist. It’s an exciting time to be a musician, as we enter a new era of freedom from labels and conglomerates, but it means it’s our jobs to learn how to book for ourself or utilize the DIY services we can trust. Shake off the lies above and take control of your booking destiny to become the globetrotting musician you are striving to be!
Kyle Weber of IOTM will be Artist Collective’s Guest Speaker in our 1/30/20 LIVE WEBINAR called “How to Master DIY Touring in 2020!” To register for FREE and get access to all of Artist Collective’s resources, click HERE."
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