Top 10 Tips for Touring Artists
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Tips for Touring Artists:
- Plan Ahead: The biggest determination for your tour’s success is the ability to plan ahead. First of all, have a goal of why you are going on the road: Is it to promote a new record? Get publicity/recognition? Building your mailing list? Use that goal to steer all of your decisions from your route/markets that you want to hit to deciding if you should hire a publicist or not. Allow ample time for preparation (we recommend at least six months) to get the best possible venues, promote, save up cash (or look for someone to finance the trip), etc. Don’t just decide that you want to get on the road next month and expect the pieces to fall into place.
- Promotion: Fans don’t magically flock to a venue just because you’re in town. Invest some time and money into getting the word out: use your mailing list and social media network, hire a publicist to do tour press, send posters and press kits out to local media/record stores/the venue. Note: this doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a great turnout but it will be more effective than doing a casual Myspace bulletin post or text to your friend who lives near the town you’re going to.
- Save Up Money: The road is tough, especially if your act hasn’t been on tour yet. Most venues will be reluctant to give you a guarantee if you don’t have a draw and will only pay you a percentage of the door (or bar) of said lack of draw. You’ll want to have extra cash for gas or food in case you don’t make enough green while out.
- Be Flexible: Things happen all the time – shows get cancelled, flat tires are inevitable, strings break. Be prepared for these hiccups and have a backup plan. Most importantly, keep a cool head when these things happen because negativity is contagious. And a van full of angry or depressed musicians never leads to anything good. Find opportunities: if your show gets cancelled, start calling every venue or coffee shop in the area. If your ride breaks down, see if you can adjust the tour route.
- Research: Study each of the markets you’re going to so you know what media outlets to contact, where you can do your laundry, if you have friends/fans in the area, and how you can follow up.
- Build Your Mailing List: If you are going to tour and not collect/update your mailing list, you’re an idiot. You’ll want to create a database of fans in the area so you can build your draw in that town. There are plenty of great fan management programs out there, we use http://www.fanbridge.com
- Have a Set Tour List: Have your stage show down to a science; know your set order so that transitions between songs is minimal. Most clubs offer 30-45 minute sets. In the case of unknown music, less is more…it’s better to leave the crowd wanting more (hint: good opportunity to build mailing list or sell cd’s) than to have them wish you left the stage 10 minutes earlier, even if they did like your music.
- Merchandise: Have plenty to sell. Order the standard variety of shirts, cd’s, stickers, etc. Basically, you want things that you can sell at all price point levels. Make sure your merch display looks good: bring lights and extension cords, have clear pricing. This is your livelihood, make it count. If you want recommendations on who to get the best quality/lowest cost merch from, email email@example.com for some referrals.
- Do Something Unique: We’re all about niche marketing and getting you to do things that set you apart from the crowd. Whether it’s sending personal, hand-written thank you notes to promoters after the tour or brining a dunk tank on stage…find a way to make a lasting impression on the crowd so that they have a story worth retelling to all of their friends.
- Hire a Pro: If all else fails and you just want to concentrate on being a musician rather than working in the business, hire a pro who can help get you better shows or publicity so you can spend your time writing/playing music instead of just promoting it. Hint: that’s where Last Stop Booking comes in.
If you want music consulting, touring, or promotion for your music, then email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started now.