While the reasons for touring and the benefits will change over your career, the importance of getting out on the road will never change. There are many reasons for touring, from getting yourselves known to pleasing fans and just for the love of playing live, but until you’re a big star, money won’t be one of them. Let’s take a look at what going on tour might mean for you.
Ok, so in the early days of your music career, your live dates might not be exactly setting the house on fire. Most bands, no matter how big they are now, will be able to recall the days when they played live to five guys and one dog. But you have to start somewhere and starting at the bottom means you only have one way to go. The fact is, hard working, hard touring bands do get the word out there. Many bands make their name from relentlessly playing gigs up and down the country, slowly gathering momentum. Yes, this is hard work and it can sometimes be disheartening when the numbers don’t show up, but persistence pays and those who don’t progress are the ones who gave up.
You might start out playing small venues and you may even get to be the headliner in those small venues, but it’s when you level up from there and become the opening act for bigger bands that things can start to move for you. How you do this is usually down to a good agent and manager. These are the guys who can get you on the bill with some influential names. You’ll be heard by a whole new potential audience and your name next to that big star gives you instant clout. This is why it’s often the case that managers pay to get you there. Unless you’re already doing great and the big name artists specifically wants you on their tour, buying your way on there is often the only way. Sadly there isn’t much money to be made in touring until you’re big, but it’s an essential way of building a fan base.
Getting yourself booked onto a festival is a brilliant way to find greater exposure. Festivals are big business and increasingly popular with fans, many of whom are going there specifically to discover new music. Many music festivals have an ‘introducing’ tent or a new music stage, where you can show an eager audience what you can do. This has worked fantastically well for many now famous artists. George Ezra and Ed Sheeran both performed at BBC’s ‘Introducing’ stage. But it’s important you see this as a platform and not as a pay day. The festival is a way of reaching new fans, meeting people, and introducing your music to the world.
So, you might not make any money from touring in your early days, but you will connect with new fans and get your music heard by some reasonably sized crowds.
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