If you’re up-and-coming in the country music scene, one of the best things you can do to build a following is to take your act on tour. But it can be tough for greener artists who may not have the major-label backing of bigger, more established country stars.
So, how are you supposed to pull off a great tour without the resources that big artists have?
We’ve collected some amazing tips to make touring work for the up-and-comer; keep reading to find out how you can go city-to-city with the best of them.
If you’ve ever been to a big-budget show, you may be asking yourself, “how can I ever compete with that production value?” It’s not easy to do it on the same level as the pros, but the good news is music technology is far more accessible today than ever before. It’s far more possible now than at any time in the past to get your hands on quality gear that doesn’t break the bank.
For example, it may be beyond your means to take a grand piano on tour like some of Nashville’s biggest acts, but a good-quality 88 key-keyboard will sound great in the same role at a fraction of the cost.
Book The Tour Yourself
Booking a DIY tour is a time-honored tradition for anyone trying to breakthrough in the music scene. It isn’t a walk in the park– there’s no doubt about that– but it can be an invaluable experience for a burgeoning talent or band.
Not only will you learn the ins and outs of the industry and the economics of touring– working with promoters, selling tickets in new markets, learning to cut unnecessary costs– but you’ll be making crucial connections along the way.
Even if your first DIY tour doesn’t find you rocking out at huge stadiums, the folks you meet in the process will make each subsequent tour easier and easier.
Play In Familiar Cities, At Least To Start
While it’s probably your goal to tour across the whole country eventually (or even the world), there’s a lot to be said for biting off a little less, to begin with. Organizing your tour mostly around familiar cities where you already have contacts has a lot of benefits. Perhaps most importantly, it greatly increases the chances you’ll be able to bring a good crowd to the show; we all know how little fun it is to play to an empty room. Plus, your friends in other cities may be able to help you out with lodging or other logistics, which can be a huge boon to your tour budget.
Encourage New Fans To Stream Your Music Online
In the old days, when bands went on tour, they would make back some of the cost of the trip by selling merch at shows. There’s no doubt that’s still a big part of the independent touring equation, but modern-day talent needs to adjust to a shifting marketplace; new fans are a lot less likely to want to buy a compact disc for their Walkman than they were twenty years ago.
By encouraging fans to stream your music online, you’ll build a new revenue stream that, while probably small at first, can help offset costs more and more as it grows.
Don’t Let Anything Stop You From Hitting The Road
The most important tip of all is: get out there! Getting your act in front of new people is still among the very best ways to grow your fanbase organically. Once you feel ready, don’t be afraid of the risk, cost, etc. The more you prepare ahead of time, the more successful your tour will be.