Does touring matter? Not too long ago, touring was an essential part of promoting a band or an album. Most often artists would lose money on the tour, but boost album sales which had a much higher profit margin so playing live made sense. Now that the album format is considered an endangered species, touring doesn’t make a lot of economical sense. Does touring matter? Of course!
These are some of the top reasons to consider touring your music:
1) There is nothing like a live show that lets your fans connect with you and your music. You probably remember amazing shows you’ve been to far more than the last time you listened to the band’s playlist.
2) It makes you a better performer in the studio. Back when everyone played live and going to gigs was as commonplace as going to a movie, the studio performances were of very high quality. There is nothing like the pressure and intensity of a live show to really improve your skills. It’s like the difference between going to the gym for a workout on your own, and having a personal trainer who focuses and pushes you. Playing live is far better at getting the band tighter than practicing at your jam space.
3) You can focus the industry on what you are doing. A&R, music publishers, and music supervisors for TV & film get hundreds of CDs and song downloads a week. They would like to hear to every one, but they can’t. Even if they give your music a listen at the office, they are distracted. On the other hand if you can get them to your show, they are 100% focused on you.
Here are some tips on how you can afford to tour:
1) Get on the bill with some other bands so you have a larger audience to play to. A club owner is unlikely to take a chance on an unknown group who has a questionable following anyway.
2) Tour efficiently. You may not need the keyboard player or horn section for the extra parts in the songs. If you are a songwriter you may not even need to bring your band. You can play stripped down versions of the songs in smaller venues. This saves on accommodations, food, and which vehicle you need to bring.
3) Ask a friend or relative to help with selling merchandise, stage managing, and being a guitar tech. If you don’t have to pay for crew, that’s money in your pocket.
Artists are focusing more and more on releasing their music online, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for touring either. Hopefully these tips will help you put together your next string of dates where you can come back with more fans, extra album sales, and in top shape for your next studio session. If someone else asks you does touring matter? , invite them to your show.