Touring is a grueling, arduous and difficult process. It’s full of high high’s and low low’s, testing your patience with your bandmates, and living as a unit with very limited space. There is no guarantee that people will even be at these shows, or that you’ll make more money then you spend.
These things aside, touring is an amazing experience filled with some of the best memories you’ll have playing music. This is also a necessary element of being a professional musician, especially if you want to make this your full time career and plan on dedicating your life to the pursuit of it.
www.bitsubmit.net is bringing you 4 tips on how to tour as an independent artist.
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1.Promote Your Shows Ahead Of Time
When I was touring with a band through Eastern Canada, I was blown away by how many of the shows we were booking while we were out there and how many times we ended up performing for the bartender. The easiest way we solved this issue the next time was by using social media to help promote, since many platforms allow you to target ads geographically, its 10x easier to access the audiences that you’re looking for ANYWHERE you’re going.
The other element we started to look into was finding local press, this is a great way to help spread the word. If you are lucky enough to connect with a blog, newspaper, instagrammer, or podcast that is respected in that town, you’re going to notice it’s a lot easier to get people out to the shows.
Depending on what venue you go to, most venues will have a “media list” which is a list of writers, bloggers, or podcasters who they regularly reach out to about events. Ask the venue for this and most of the time they’ll be willing, because your show being successful means their bar or venue is also profitable that night.
2.Don’t Quit Your Dayjob
The biggest stressor of touring is the fact that you need to dedicate a seemingly endless amount of time. Not allowing you to maintain a job or anything remotely stable, fortunately working remotely has never been more accessible. If you’re getting ready to tour or have one coming up, try taking freelance opportunities or if you have a job see if your skills can be transferred to working “from home” or in this case working on the road.
The amount of boredom time you have on tour is beyond anything I’ve experienced in any “normal work”, if I would’ve had say some blog posts to work on it would’ve made that time more useful both financially, and as a break from the mundane aspects of “tour life”. Also this allows you to not have to rely on touring entirely for income, putting your financial responsibility in your own hands.
3.Invest In Merch
Going hand in hand with keeping your day job, being able to invest in merch is integral to successfully touring in the beginning. The chance you’ll make enough money from your performance is slim to nil at the start. Sometimes you’ll be lucky to get $100.00 from the venue, but if you have music, shirts, buttons, hats, it wouldn’t be surprising on a good night to bring in $150 – $300 extra. Turning a show that may have put you in the negative, to being able to buy a big mac instead of sticking to the value menu.
If you can create some buzz and sell merch consistently at each stop, you’ll notice a tour that had you in the red could actually become profitable and gives you the opportunity to walk away a few dollars richer then you came in. Anything that can help you earn more income and really capitalize on each stop will be the difference maker in a successful or unsuccessful tour.
4.Consider Alternative Venues
In today’s current musical climate, there are no rules for where we can have a good time and enjoy a concert. So as a touring act it’s important to realize that not every stop on your tour needs to be the city’s most popping venue. Often times there are house concerts, coffee shop stops, and even contacting local record shops to do small intimate affairs.
The takeaway here is there are no rules, even setting up and playing outside in a popular area before your concert that night could help bring in a wide range of fans that would have never heard of you otherwise. Another great avenue for playing is college, college events are always looking for affordable somewhat well known acts. These audiences are usually always ready to have a good time, and if you’re lucky this will create lifelong fans since college is such a memorable time (assuming you play well and are good).
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Automate your entire marketing process so you can spend more time where it matters most – in the studio. No more wasting time searching the internet for promotion. No more sending hundreds of emails to promoters that rarely respond because of their flooded inbox. https://bitsubmit.net/