Top Myths About Touring and Booking

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about booking certain venues on tours as well as working with bands who are setting up their own shows. I’ve noticed a steady trend where people have some misconceptions about the booking process not only from artists themselves but the managers who are looking after their affairs. To make the most of your live performance experience, let’s go over some of the top myths that bands have about touring and booking:

  1. You Should Be Playing Large Venues: Who doesn’t want to play a large room filled with people and amazing sound/production? The problem is that large venues have higher expenses and if your band can’t draw to help pay their expenses, you have no business performing there. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t bring in 30-60% of their capacity, then you probably are not ready to play there.
  2. You Deserve Guaranteed Compensation: Guarantee’s are becoming more and more rare these days, with many venues opting to pay based on how many people you can bring to the show or how many drinks are sold to the fans you brought in. Sometimes it’s a mix of both. Generally, you’ll have better odds of getting a decent guarantee in places with less competition (smaller to mid-size cities with fewer venues) as opposed to large metropolitan areas unless you have a solid following with tons of media attention behind you.
  3. Your “Strong Draw”: Your idea of what a good-size crowd might not be the same as the venue’s. Be realistic in actual numbers of people that you think you can bring to the club. Like I mentioned in a previous article (“How to Get More Pay for Live Music Gigs”), the promoter will appreciate the honesty and if you exceed expectations, you can expect a better slot, more pay, and future gigs than if you under-deliver.
  4. You Should Just Stick With Larger Cities: Remember, it’s easier to stand out from the crowd if there’s less competition. Often times, smaller cities pay more, have fans that will buy more merch (and who are less jaded), and are easier to get gigs at. The advantage of playing larger cities is more media opportunities, looks better on your tour history, and better venues. If you’re just an up and coming act, it’s good to get a mix of both so you can experience all types of markets.
  5. Timeline: Try to begin booking your gigs 3-4 months in advance at a minimum. It gives plenty of time to promote the show, both you and the venue will have opportunities to find strong local support, and the odds will be better that the date will be available.

Know your markets and what level you’re at as an act. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a strong following everywhere you go yet, you’ll have to start somewhere! There are many other types of shows and opportunities out there, form opening for larger acts to private corporate functions. We can cover those soon. Have a Happy New Year and best of luck in your music career!

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