Before we get started and dive into the next topic of discussion, I wanted to thank every artist, producer and songwriter who has reached out for a personal consultation. There is a big difference between reading on how to something and being instructed on how to do something, (why do you think reading instruction booklets or manuals are bypassed half the time? Sh*t is confusing!) I guarantee you will see more success and more opportunities open up by simply adjusting your business approach. Now, for those that haven't reached out and who are merely living off what is available online for free, I can only say that the time is a friend of no man/woman- the more time you waste bullshitting with your @Diddy or @KanyeWest Otis freestyle links, MediaFire hosted mixture and laundry room sounding remixes, the more time is going to pass you up my friend.
Hops off soapbox..
Now, this week has been an interesting one for music. If you have been keeping up with the industry (which I have explained is a key element to your success as an independent artist) you will see that WMG has a new CEO, Blackberry is working on a new music service, NMPA resolved their lawsuit with Youtube, Mr. Carter and Mr. West
(Great news!) and that
- wait what? Some of you may in fact be shocked on how such a new act ends up on a Forbes magazine list of anything. Let's take a look how Wiz earned his spot at #11, Wiz earned a little over $11 million dollars last year after releasing his "Kush & Orange Juice" mixture, signing with
and touring nearly non stop, globally I might add. <- Read that sentence again, where do you think a majority of his 11 mill worth of earnings came from? I can assure you it was not by signing to
The Road! Gigging! Shows! Concerts! whatever you want to call it, Wiz earned his position by branding himself, building a following, presenting a quality project to his fans, and capitalizing it off with face time- touring. Sadly enough you will find many of today's rappers & singers pursuing a career as a recording artist without ever having any on stage experience, let alone ever practice or rehearse for one - that could qualify as your WTF moment of the day. You have to remember there was a time before your Twitter links, Facebook posts and un-cc'd emails to all your favorite bloggers, a time when the only way you would receive any type of notoriety or any form of publicity is when you could rock a crowd of people. Guess what? It still works like that today. If you can rock a room of 50 people for as little as 15 minutes, that would do more than a years worth of promotion on Twitter, Facebook, Reverberation and any blog post combined -how do I figure? Because you not only did you engage with them on stage, you gave them visuals to your craft better then any video could ever do, you transferred your energy on stage to each member of the crowd and made them feel a certain way- you made an impact! (If you know how to perform that is, otherwise you made them feel some kind of uncomfortable feeling, waiting for you to finish)
Being able to perform and touring are two totally different things. One takes practice and the other takes a whole of everything! - literally. Touring is one of the most exciting parts of being a new artist, having the opportunity to perform your music in front of a small crowd of 50 people or in front a crowd of a few hundred is exhilarating. So what does it take to go on tour? Well, you first need to know why musicians-artists go on tour, here is a small list. Reason one- to promote a record / project. Reason 2- grow their fan-base. Reason 3- To make money off merchandise. Reason 4- Endorsement deals for free gear or cloths. Reason 5- shot at a record deal. Now, the secret of successful touring is in the details. A knowledgable tour manager will know whether all the equipment and transportation chosen for a tour fit together well and what it will takes to make everything work. My suggestion is you hire a tour manager and not rely on your cousin john to handle the logistics of the event- this could determine a success or a failure in your tour.
Now like I said the success of a tour comes down to the details. So Rappers please don't perform at a local rodeo country club? There's something not smart about that idea. Artists need to know understand who they are, who their audience is and how to reach them. Remember your goal of going on tour should be to expose your music in front of as many people as possible and turning those "fans" into " long term dollar signs"- (call me a suit whatever, it''s the truth.). So how can you make sure you perform in front of your "kind" of crowd? By not booking and performing everywhere with speakers and a mic. Research the venue, make sure the night that you are performing is not "jazz" night when you're a metal band, booking the right venues at the right times -require strategic planning.
Artists who are on the come up will usually book themselves. Having the ability to do so, may not be such as a bad thing, having the opportunity to book yourself lets you infuse your creative energy into your planning. Enhance your tours with a creative flare by considering each type of date booked and incorporating additional business and personal events into the schedule during the planning process. Know ahead of time what your agenda and specific goals are that you would like to accomplish while on tour. I am going to provide you with a couple of creative booking dates.
1. Higher Paying Mid-Week Show Dates- Use higher paying mid week bookings in schools & colleges to support your weekend shows and create audience development.
2. Pick-Up Dates- When on tour allow yourself to include lower paying shows into your schedule when necessary. These are also known as fill in dates, to act as "in-between show,shows". This equal more money!
3.School Programs: For those whose tour include school assembly programs, often times a district can provide an act for a number of school within a week. This equals more money and more people exposed to your music.
4.Check other Artists Tour Schedule- By checking others artists tour schedule may open the opportunity for tour-support slots.
5.Media Promotion- Use non-travel dates to schedule radio promo to promote show and new release.
6.In-Store Promotion- Schedule a in store signing or performance to promote the show and new release.
It is also important to include your personal interest and various aspects of your life into your tour planning, this will help you develop a "brand"- lifestyle branding for better terms. These are only a few ideas I am throwing out to you, hopefully some stick and hopefully you can develop your own creative thoughts.
It will come as no surprise that in order to fashion a successful tour, there must be a great deal of coordination amongst everyone involved, artist, manager, lawyers, booking agents and business managers. It also doesn't hurt to have a nice chunk of change to start and keep the tour afloat- wait what? Yes, guys at first a tour will cost you out of pocket money as broke as you may be, a new artist will need subsidies to travel from club to club and city to city that is just how it is, and when you are a new artist the travel map is not carefully drawn to your liking, it is drawn in response to your record and fan demographic.
Example: If Wiz wasn't hot or receiving play in New York when "Kush & Orange Juice" dropped he would plan on going there until it was or until fans in New York demanded he come for a show- otherwise it's not smart business.
Artist you are going to need to develop a "Tour Budget" with your team. You will need to discuss all the categories of costs one must deal with, and note that each category requires specific expertise or experience in order to estimate potential costs and then meet these costs on budget. The big issue many artists face is not so much whether the costs are reasonable or should be cut, but whether time was invest in the development of the budget. A small mistake in estimating personal costs, multiplied by many persons over a long tour can be nothing short of disastrous. Timing is everything when planning a tour, takes time to plan, book the venues and promote the single, by the time the venues are all book the single could have flopped or the economy may have took a drive-(Hello 2011)
Example: In 2002 the Rolling Stones had to postpone their potential hundred-million-dollar tour because they feared that their demographic was getting too old and the economy was on a downward spiral. As alluring as what could have been made, wasn't as important to what could have happened (loss of money and hurting their brand/image).
There is a lot of planning that goes into touring that I suggest you seek Consultation for if you are interested in that directly. New artists who are interested in touring but have yet to establish a footing in their hometown, you should really think twice about this step just yet, you may end up making an ass out of yourself early on when 1st impressions mean the most. Learn how to successfully build that hometown following and brand yourself.
As always remember that the music industry is 50% game, 30% business and 20% talent, and any artist who is serious about their craft must seek consultation. Feel free to schedule yours with
today! Become a smarter artist!