Tour Dates are Set…Now What? 10 Must Do’s Before Your Band Hits the Road
Getting ready to go on tour can be both exciting and stressful. There are those countless hours of rehearsal to brush up on old songs and to nail the new ones. Then there are all the non-music things to do to make sure you have your most successful tour ever. So your band can focus on delivering the most amazing live set in your band’s history while on tour, we wanted to put together a list of the 10 essential pre-tour tasks your band should do before hitting the road. So many things go into a successful show and if you want to maximize your opportunity get on these!
1) Get and use a Band & Fan Management Solution – There are several amazing & low cost online platforms for your band to use. These programs will help you successfully market through email your shows to your fans in the cities you are going. Also, there are programs that can track all your expenses, as well as your schedule and more. Once you have this in place make sure you are communicating to your fans about your shows. Here is a full list of band & fan management tools we have ranked and reviewed.
2) Book your Band Van and Tour Bus early. Don’t wait until the last minute as transportation companies sell out especially during the spring and summer. Start calling at least 2 to 3 months before your tour to reserve a vehicle. Here is list of our favorite band van and tour bus operators.
3) Update your website with your tour dates. Do this as soon as you have the dates. Your fans are checking your site to see when you are coming to town.
4) Update your Band Merch Inventory. Make sure you have ample and new designed inventory of shirts, hats, stickers, CD’s, Vinyl and whatever else you have successfully sold on the road. Make sure your pricing strategy is set by each market as you can charge more for a T-Shirt in NYC vs. Austin, TX. Also, make sure your supplier can ship you while on the road for items that run out.
5) Promote your shows online. There are several key free online concert listing services to promote your shows. Eventful alone has 20 million people a month use their site to find live music events. Here is a list of our favorite free online concert listing sites.
6) What to bring in the van/bus with you. Did you remember to pack everything you need while on the road. Here is a comprehensive tour checklist of things not to forget. From Tools, Gear, Travel Organization for the band and personal and more.
7) Create job tasks for each band member in writing on what each person will do while on the road. Who collects the money, who manages the merch table, who drives, who communicates with fans, who does the set list, local promotion of each show, etc. By delegating certain responsibilities to each band mate you will accomplish so much more and know who is doing what.
8) Create a list of ways to promote locally in each city you are playing and line up 30 to 60 days out a plan of attack. And then act on it! Organize a street team to put up posters in each city in exchange for free tickets and merch. Contact & play at a local radio station that fits your genre, play a local record store or music store, and invite influential music bloggers and music critics to the show in hope for a positive pre-view or review. Make sure the venues you are playing have put up your band info and a link to your music, videos and/or website.
9) Where are you going to stay? In the van? On the bus? Here are creative ways to cut costs. Couch Surfing and Better than the Van allow you to sleep at local home and apartment owners in various cities at little or no cost. MusicNomad has negotiated a discount for Musicians at 1,100 Motel 6 across the US. Do you have some SuperFans in cities where you can ask to stay at their house? Stay outside of a major city to save costs, because just driving 15 minutes outside a major city can save you a lot.
10) Often overlooked but getting Insurance while on the road is a smart move. The most popular are Equipment and Gear Theft Coverage & Travel/Accident Insurance to protect artists while on the road. Music Pro Insurance and Robertson Taylor are two good artist friendly insurance companies.
Now you can get back to playing music. Have an amazing tour & play each show like it’s the show of your life. The crowd and your fans will always remember it.
MusicNomad is a musicians advocate organization that tries to make sense of the vast and fragmented music industry through researching, interviewing, reviewing and ranking thousands of companies in the music industry and filtering the ones that can really help musicians. They then do write ups on the companies, rank them and give you a direct link to their website. There are also tips, news and articles for musicians to explore. The Website (www.musicnomad.com) is free to use and focuses on fighting for the underdog, independent musicians!