Touring can be a tough source of revenue for independent artists. There are many upfront expenses that go into touring, and so it's important for an artist to creatively approach financial gain while tour on tour. The best way to do this is to start by not LOSING money. It’s a wise idea to calculate touring expenses before you approach your first tour. This will help you pre-determine how to stay away from losing money, and give you a better perspective on what you will need for the tour to be successful.
Here is a list of common upfront expenses that our artists have found that go along side touring.
After you've considered financial outgoings, let's look at some creative ways you can up your chances to make money while touring.
The music industry is based around connections.
This could help you book gigs in bigger venues and may open the door to new gigs. Approach collaborating with other local bands to have a 50/50 set split or offer yourself as opening act for them. Working with a band that knows that area, brings a larger audience. In turn, you have the potential to grow your fan base and potentially make more money. Bands that have reoccurring performances in certain venues often have a relationship with the venue and are at more liberty to organize their opening acts. This could open opportunity for you to get your music in front of a promoter.
Local radio is often underestimated and people still value connections within communities. Public or community radio stations usually work within niche styles of music. This gives you an opportunity to engage with purposeful listeners that are interested in your type of music. Try calling a radio station that is focused on your genre of music and ask if you can have a spot with them the day before or the morning of your gig. Offer an incentive for fans or potential fans to come. For example, first 10 people to arrive will receive free merchandise.
Whether or not you should invest into a booking agent depends on where you are at in your music career. If you're only playing locally it might not be financially worth it to hire a booking agent until you're ready to take your shows out of town.
That said, here are the benefits of working with a booking agent: