School of The Rock

 

Touring Tips


Written by Paul D. Race for SchoolOfTheRock.comô

 

Sooner or later,  you’re going to need to get outside of your own home town to meet fans you already have and make new ones.  I do recommend having merchandise to sell, because often that is your only source of income, no matter what you are promised. 

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I never toured, per se.  Though bands I was in occasionally played out of town, the gigs tended to be of the “day’s-drive out and day’s-drive back” sort.  Or else I arranged to play places where I was going to be for other reasons, such as vacations and business trips, where the gig was just the “icing on the cake.”

That said, friends have toured, with mixed results.  In the early days of Jesus Music/CCM, when places that really wanted to hear that kind of music were few and far between, many bands that ostensibly had “label support” went hungry, slept on top of their PA speakers in the van, and came home sick and broke. 

I suppose you could blame demonic forces, except that many small-label or unsigned Folk, Rock, and Country artists have had similar experiences and worse. 

These days, being able to use the Internet to make fans in towns you’ve never visited, can be a big help.  In addition, many solo and duo artists have figured out how to use “House Concerts” to fill in the gaps between professional venues, which never quite fill your schedule unless you’re a radio star.  So if you plan properly, touring without the “assistance” of a major label can be a positive experience, expand your scope of influence, help you make new friends, and reach more people, period, with what you have to offer.

A number of folks have made a decent living working this way.  Others have supplemented their incomes, at least, as well as broadening their scope.

As a self-declared non-expert in this field, I will pretty much rely on other folks and resources to provide you guidance and tips. Here are a few that readers have found useful so far:

On Our Pages

A friend Daryl Shawn, who has been touring as an independent fingerstyle guitarist since 2007, has shared some great tips in his article:  ”Where the Rubber Meets the Road

On Other Pages

Companies like CDBaby, TuneCore, SonicBids, and DiskMakers provide a lot of free information resources because they depend on the success of the independent musicians who keep them in business.  Some or the resources are more helpful than others, and many of them overlap or contradict each other.  But consider this (and the article above) as a “required reading list” to go through when you’re even considering your next tour, much less planning it.

Personally, I like to download the PDFs in case they are taken down or restricted later.  They also tend to be more comprehensive and better thought-out.  That said, when you share them with your friends, please share the links, not the PDFs.  That’s only fair to the companies that provide them.  Yes, you will get spammed a little, but I don’t mind spam from people I signed up with on purpose.  :-)

SonicBids has blogs on:

CDBaby‘s resources include:

Tunecore has guides, too, include:

DiskMaker’s resources include:

Stay in Touch

As always, please contact me with corrections, complaints, clarifications, etc.  If your response is responsible, I'll try to include it in the "reader response" section below.

God bless,

Paul

SchoolOfTheRock.com

 


Paul Race playing a banjo. Click to go to Paul's music home page.A Note from Paul: Whatever else you get out of our pages, I hope you enjoy your music and figure out how to make enjoyable music for those around you as well.

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