How to Plan a Music Tour for your Band
Music touring is not just about going to different cities performing and promoting your awesome sound. There are things that happen behind the scenes, such as booking, promoting each show, and negotiating with every venue to ensure the highest pay possible for every performer.
What is Music Touring?
A music tour is when a band or a single artist plays a series of live shows through a planned schedule or route across multiple cities or even countries. If your band needs a boost in popularity, good management would even put you on tour with bigger acts so you can open for them in every city.
If you are planning a music tour with your band, the best and most stress-free way is to hire good management, including a road or tour manager. Planning a successful music tour is a breeze with their experience building bands from the bottom until they reach the spotlight, combined with your band’s unparalleled talent.
Benefits of Music Touring
Touring can benefit bands and artists by giving them a chance to grow as musicians and get their music heard across different cities. Some of the key benefits of touring are:
- Networking benefits: While touring with your band, you can potentially connect with different artists and many influential people that can become your friends or someone who can help your band grow further.
- A test of resilience: Touring is not easy. Imagine traveling for months, sleeping at different hotels, playing at different venues, and all that jazz. It may sound like a dream at first, but it will test your resilience and see whether you are in for this type of lifestyle or not.
- Touring is fun: Playing music is one of the most enjoyable things about being in a band. It all comes down to doing what you love best, which is performing your songs in front of a crowd, bonding with your band and crew, and other artists!
Music Touring Checklist
If you, your band, your crew, and management think you are ready to do a tour and get your music heard—here are all the things you need to prepare before you dive in:
Get a Team Together
The first step in planning a music tour is to get your A-Team together. If you haven’t signed with a music manager, you will need to build a team that consists of:
- Tour manager or road manager: A tour manager will handle everything concerning logistics and finance. Getting an experienced manager will ensure that everything from the transportation, venues, and after-parties will run smoothly. They can also take care of all your band’s needs on tour, such as hiring session musicians, transportation, and additional equipment.
- Roadies and tech: Although most tour managers can handle hiring roadies for your band during the tour, some bands prefer to train their own roadies and instrument techs.
- Booking agents: Hiring a booking agent is essential if you need someone to talk to venues, organize the dates, and map out the entire journey. Booking agents also handle the promotions and help maximize your earnings on door charges. Although booking agents take a portion of the earnings on door charges, they help maximize the earnings, and you will still get a higher turnout compared to tours without the help of a booking agent.
Without a booking agent, you will have to start booking the venues before you start the tour. You will need to secure the date and the venue and negotiate terms yourself.
Planning Your Route
You will have to take care of the logistics and the most efficient route without a tour or road manager. When booking venues, ensure you secure venues and dates that are in the most logical order to save time and money.
Budgeting Tour Costs
- Equipment: Although your band probably already has the equipment you need for touring, there is no guarantee that you won’t break your amps, instruments, and other gear on the road.
- Roadies: You will need to budget the wages of your instrument techs, roadies, and your entire crew.
- Accommodations: Aside from venues, you may want to secure accommodations in every city. Some bands sleep in tour vans or buses—but it would be nice to pamper yourself on tour once in a while.
- Food: Budgeting for food is essential, especially if you want to minimize your expenses.
- Promotions: With the help of the internet and social media, promoting your tour dates in every city is a lot easier. However, many people still rely on posters and flyers. Promotion is a cost you must keep in mind, especially if you need to boost your social media posts by creating paid ads.
- Transport: Transport includes gas, vehicle maintenance, and driver costs.
- Taxes: As an artist who makes money on the road, you may want to consider the tax costs associated with your income. Many independent artists overlook the tax aspect of it all, which could hurt you in the future.
How to Maximize Tour Income
With a ton of expenses, you might want to maximize your income through every show and venue you play. You don’t want to go over the budget and you don’t want to break even. You want to save up and take some of that money home! Playing music might be a hobby, but it is also a real job too. Here are some ways to make the most out of your income.
Selling Tickets vs. Set Fees
When charging the venue set fees, you can secure income on tickets since the venue will pre-buy all the tickets at a lower price and sell them to patrons with a markup. This will take the burden of ticket selling off your hands and your promotional team. However, by hiring an experienced music manager and booking agent, you can sell the tickets yourselves and make a lot more money.
Selling Band Merchandise
Another way to make the most out of your tour is by selling band merch, such as CDs, guitar picks, tour shirts, tour hoodies, caps, and much more. Anything you can put your band name on is the merch that you can sell. If you have a good amount of following or did a good performance and converted people into fans, buying your merch is their best way of showing support.
How Music Management Can Help
Signing under top management is essential if you want to enjoy the benefits of a band. Instead of doing all the behind-the-scenes work, you and your band can focus on what got you all in it, which is making fantastic music that you want to share with the world. In this case, a music manager’s job is to find ways to build your brand and get you heard.
GUIÓN PARTNERS is a music management group dedicated to making bands’ and artists’ life a lot easier. Aside from helping these artists build their brand, create licensing for their music, and help shoot music videos, GUIÓN PARTNERS can handle all the band’s tour needs. This includes tour planning, venue booking, and negotiating the best deals for the band—allowing you and your band to focus on being in the moment and enjoying your best life as performing artists.