We usually have money in the pot before hand. But we really try to book shows that pay. Breaking even is ok. But we avoid playing just to play….gets very costly in today’s day and age. Selling merch really provides the extra money you need on tour. If everyone in the band is committed you can sell a lot and gain tons of fans. Also, watch what you’re eating and avoid buying something every time you stop at a gas station. Buy water and soda ahead of time…put in the cooler. Saves small amounts of cash…but you need every penny.
We usually all share a hotel room or two or try to stay at peoples houses. Anything to cut cost.
We’re in the process of organizing a tour at the minute. The way we’ve done it is that ourselves, and another band are hitting the road with a 2 road crew. We’ve budgeted our travel costs out, told each promoter what it’ll cost to have both of us on the bill and if they can’t do it, we arrange it through another promoter. We booked up our 5 date tour within 2 weeks. We’ve got our expenses covered by the promoters and a percentage of door tax after expenses. They pay our fuel costs, flights if needed, food and a place to stay. Over several ahows we divide all costs by the number of dates so each promoter is paying the same. After this, the promoter earns whatever is made on the door from punters paying in. If he does well, we get 20% of the door after the first £100 profit the promoter makes after our costs and any other expenses he had. Basically, the promoters are covering our costs, our merchandise sales are making the profit for us. Fortunately, both my band and the other band are the big “up and coming” bands of our style in Ireland at the moment, so we have (just about) enough sway to negotiate with the promoters. If you can’t negotiate for at least expenses, you haven’t done enough work building a reputation to make a tour feasible.
I know a lot of bands fund their tours with frat-gigs and cover-bar stops. The idea being that you book “money gigs” on the weekends (ie: four hours playing classic rock covers or what-have-you), and book small rock clubs in between to do your real thing. It’s a ton of work, but I know it’s doable if your band can swing the covers. I have friends who make amazing money playing those kinds of cover gigs.
There are a lot of way to go about it, it just depends on what kinda music you do. We have a bunch of Berkeley grads and our leader is a music professor so we get a lot of well-paying college gigs because we also offer workshops and master classes. Also, being all-female, we’re still kind of novelty to most, so we get to do a lot of private functions funded by non-profits and such. We’re not full-time yet, but it’s a good part-time job.
Ever heard of the National Endowment for the Arts? There are also plenty of private grants for musicians from the Musicians’ Foundation, BMI Foundation, Grammy Foundation, ASCAP Foundation, etc. Anyways touring for most bands is a waste of money, for you personally, and/or for your label. In the last 100 years or so, touring has served the purpose of promoting record sales. It’s a promotional expense and bands were not expected to make money from it. Breaking even from touring is acceptable: you lose money on touring; you make money on album sales.These days, though, the roles are reversed. Since no one buys recorded music anymore (there is just so much free music, legal and otherwise, on the internet that there’s no point), recorded music has become the promotional expense that you give away for free. So you can make your money in of two ways (or both): Aligning yourself with a company (endorsements, sponsorships, licensing your music in their ads, etc), or by selling tickets above your break-even price.
Reblogged this on Tears And Kooks International and commented:
Tour Logistics for Bands and Fans
Unspeakable amounts of sacrifices were made this year by many fans who are attending next month’s Tears For Fears tour. Despite this difficult economy, many fans took second jobs at night and on weekends. This proved daunting, exhausting and challenging especially for one fan who ran into a less than friendly new boss and had to quit. Somehow she managed to get the funds anyway and will be at the Vegas show. **virtual hug for her** what an experience!
So how much is this tour for fans? Airfare (which went up to $350-$400 round trip from the East Coast), hotel ($90-$200 a night), city transportation/taxi/car services ($30-85 each way) food ($150) tickets ($85-$100) gas, band merch&music… We calculate that most fans spend approx $2000-$3000 USD total (if attending 2-3 shows). The Asia leg of the tour has been equally challenging for our fellow kooks aka “friends and family” in Japan and The Philippines. Their SVIP pass was excruciating to get from what we read. We’re still awaiting the details and pray these fans got the passes and the seats they deserve. There will be some major tears shed in Manila when these kooks see Roland & Curt again. They really love him.
Bread & Butter
Meager meals are apart of the mix when you’ve got numbers like the above lingering over your head and less than 3 months to get yourself together…in addition to paying regular bills, taking care of your family, etc. It can stress you out and lead to sleepless nights. That thin coconut soup “tour soup” many of us chugged 5-6 nights a week w/ the occasional peanut butter sandwich was a test of the nerves. A few tweeted about it. And yes…it was a challenge to say the least.
Health&Safety not an option
I think this is the first year some of us put off surgeries, doctor appointments, left certain bills until the last minute and drained our savings to cover the costs of touring. I think the late notice of the tour kind of threw us off. Last year we knew in March and we had until late August-September-October to wrangle and lasso funds. This year it was the last week of April?? You wouldn’t think a month’s difference would have such an impact…but the thing is many already had their summer holidays booked (trips to France, etc). So, this sudden tour news caught us off guard. Many of us were not prepared. But forbid we not get to see Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal walk out on stage “TOGETHER”…for those of us who spend 2-3 hours a day focused on that band for our precious sanity and “special place” …not attending the tours is equal to saying you can’t go to the family reunion…it’s unspeakable, not an option. You are going on that tour if it means you eat a can of beans and a glass of water for three months til show time.
How to Fund the Tour
Savings accounts, scaling back on luxuries (do your own nails, hair and work out at home vs. pricey gym memberships) and in many cases dipping into savings & selling shares in stock. This is not a joke. Andye (the moderator for @papasfans & this blog is often asked how she & the team managed to do this for 3years).
“Aside from prayer&begging the Almighty,I believe it is because I don’t have a husband and kids. I work like a horse and don’t buy things if I can avoid it. Still it’s hard. I ruined my piggy bank to bits to do this. I’ve done unspeakable things to make this tour and I talk to people who literally are eating rice and water to survive and see this band. It’s something about Roland & Curt walking out on that stage –at the same time– it’s surreal, there is nothing much else that compares. I mean, we talk about them (& sometimes to the band members themselves) and listen to their music everrrryyy dayyyy of the yeaaaarrr! That’s 365 days of Tears For Fears. You have to be on the tour. We do all we can to make sure we get there. I start logistics planning as soon as Curt sends the tweet. Yes, last year we had so much more time but I still had to crash my savings to make it. These hotels and airfare are double than what we pay on the East Coast. I’ve all but moved permanently to California to be close to this band. They are beyond important to me…so I’ve made insane sacrifices just like many others so I can be in their presence. It’s my one splurge in life. Im not ashamed of it. If I can move out here I will. Their energy has proven life saving…what else can I say? I know I’m not alone. For years I kept $60 on hand just in case they were coming anywhere near me. Just a superfan habit.”
Top three things for fans to remember:
Stay prepared — a show can get announced at any time&you have to be ready to roll
Create an automatic savings account that stores money for these tours
Sign up w/airlines to get the latest deals on discount flights
Partner w/reliable fans to share a hotel room
Buy your tickets first, then flight…prepay hotel in advance for lower rates
Subscribe to Curt’s website & Follow @curtsmith, check his account everyday to get true news
Buy tickets from the outlets or venues directly w/in the 1st week of ticket sales
Interact w/other fans — healthy ones — to keep up morale, it’s essential to have other people with which to enjoy the band.
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or tips on fan travel send them to @papasfans on twitter or leave them on the Tears For Fears & Kooks fan page wall. We encourage input and dialogue.
Have an excellent tour, be nice, be careful and sing all the songs! Cheers!