So You Want To Be A Touring Musician?

This is a guest post by my friend Jeremiah Craig. I asked Jeremiah to stop by and give us a rundown on the pros and cons of touring as an indie musician. Since Steve Banik’s gigging mistakes gained traction and resonated with a lot of readers, I felt it was only right to get another musician’s take on the subject.

Take it away, Jeremiah

Touring is no cinch, no piece of cake, or a slam dunk. However, it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do as a band or solo musician. There’s no experience like it.

There’s the perfect balance between what you can and cannot control. Uncertainty… some people live for it, others can’t stand it.

You see, touring is not at all like it is in the movies. There’s almost no time for women, drugs, and alcohol. Everyone is too busy tearing down the sound system, catching up on sleep, and doing what is needed to prepare for the next show.

Since there is so much work involved in touring, it’s no surprise that it’s not right for everyone. So, before you plan your first tour, here are some of the pros and cons I’ve noticed from my own time on the road.

Side-note: I’ve split this post into two parts to make the reading a little easier. We’ll start with the PROS first.
Enjoy and let me know if you’ve experienced any of these yourself in the comments.


 

The Pros Of Touring

1. Local Press Will Be Interested In Your Story

Getting attention from the press or music blogs is extremely tough. Mainly because there are so many musicians are making albums, but not many of them are touring and that’s where your edge is.

Touring shows that you are serious about your music. When the media gets wind that your tour, your band’s story suddenly becomes a lot more interesting.


 

2. You’ll Learn How To Sell Yourself & Your Music

Sending hundreds of emails and calling dozens of venues teaches you what promoters and venue owners are looking for when considering a new act.

The first few correspondences won’t go beautifully and you probably won’t get a show,  but over time you will slowly craft your language and be able to present yourself, your brand, and your brand intelligently, with confidence.


 

3. Your Band Will Become Tighter Than Ever Before

Spending every day for weeks with your bandmates gives you a new perspective on what they’re all about. You will hear stories about their childhood and dreams in life. You become much like family.

The band will also become better as a unit from playing a show almost every night. Everyone in your band will begin to come together as one instrument instead of 4 or 5. These are things that you don’t gain in rehearsals.


 

4. You Will Get New Fans, You Will Sell Merch

That’s the whole reason why you’re on tour in the first place, right? To spread your music and grow your fan base. Touring assists with this. Those awesome people who become new fans will want to buy stuff from you so make sure you’re stocked with plenty of merch.

My band sold out of CDs and T-Shirts on our first tour.


 

5. Open Doors To Music Placement Opportunities

Since you meet a lot of people on tour, you will come across some professionals who will want to collaborate with you. Even if you aren’t into their music or style of project, build those connections. My college band met a filmmaker on tour and later we scored one of his films.

We wouldn’t have had that opportunity had it not been for our tour.


 

Lastly, You’ll Have a Great Time

Although it’s a lot of work, touring is extremely rewarding. It gives you a lot of experience and stage confidence. If you can conquer the stage, you’ll have no problem pursuing other endeavors.

Please leave comments and any questions you have below and stay tuned for part two

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