How to book a music tour is a natural question for any independent artist. Independent touring is the lifeblood of any musician who aspires to make a living from their art. Yet, it’s one of the most challenging aspects of being a performing artist. It’s not easy to fill an itinerary with gigs and book hotels, venues, and transportation on your own.
However, independent touring can also be a rewarding experience if you know how to plan ahead. If you’re thinking about hitting the road as an independent musician, here are some tips for producing a music tour as an independent artist:
Build a mailing list.
The internet has taken away much of the middleman that used to be involved in booking gigs, but it has also increased competition. One way to cut through the noise and make it easier to book shows is to start building a mailing list. This will be your first line of communication with people who are interested in your music and shows.
It’s a lot easier to start a conversation with someone who has given you permission to do so than it is to cold-call venues, promoters, and even potential tour partners. You can build an email list through your website or social media accounts.
Research your ideal audience.
If you can get your ideal audience to come out to see you, you’re a lot more likely to have a successful tour — and a sustainable career. You may be able to get a few gigs from your friends, but you need a consistent flow of shows to make a living as an artist. Ideally, you want to be able to consistently fill a venue.
This means you need to have a clear understanding of the type of people who would want to come see you perform. There are a couple of ways to do this. The first is to look at your existing fans. Make a list of everything they have in common and then work to expand that list as you go along. The second way is very simple – go out and meet people.
Find the best travel deal.
When booking your travel, the best thing you can do is book as early as possible. If you’re traveling with a band, don’t forget to book your transportation as a group, as this will likely save you money. Likewise, if you’re traveling with a crew, book everything together as soon as you know the details of your tour.
If you’re booking your own travel, use a website like Kayak to look for the best deal on flights and hotels. If you have the flexibility, flying into one city and out of another can save you a lot of money. You can also save money by flying on the cheapest day of the week, booking with a budget airline, or staying in hostels instead of hotels.
Set clear goals for your tour.
Visiting a few key cities at the beginning and end of your tour is a great idea, but you need to think about the rest of the dates in between. Remember, you’re not just booking gigs. You’re building a tour. Touring is like a business, and you need to treat it as such. Set clear goals for each date on your tour.
What are you hoping to get out of this show? Who is your ideal audience for this show? These questions should help you set goals for every single show. If you can’t answer these questions or don’t know who your ideal audience is, you’re not ready for an extended tour yet.
Network and collaborate before and during your tour.
Many artists tour together. Before you hit the road, reach out to other artists who you think would be a good fit for your tour and vice versa. Collaborate before the tour, too. Make it a goal to meet as many people as possible, even before you hit the road. They can even share advice on how to book a music tour.
If you’re looking to network with other artists, conferences and festivals are great places to meet fellow musicians. During your tour, don’t forget to keep in touch with the people you meet along the way. Keep a list of people you want to stay in touch with, and stay in regular communication with them. This will help you expand your network and make connections that could come in handy down the line.
Independent touring is a challenging but rewarding experience for any performing artist. It’s not easy to fill an itinerary with gigs and book hotels, venues, and transportation on your own. You should start building a mailing list, researching your ideal audience, and finding the best travel deal as soon as possible if you want to produce a music tour as an independent artist.
Furthermore, you should set clear goals for every date on your tour and network and collaborate with other musicians before and during your tour, in order to really learn how to book a music tour for the future.