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How to plan a tour
PART 2: FINANCES AND PROMOTION
In part 1 of Low-Fi’s How to plan a tour guide, we explored tour motivation, planning and logistics. In part 2, we will dive into the financial planning, promotion, and après-tour follow up must-do’s.
What is a tour?
A tour is when an artist or band plays a series of live shows on a planned route. Tours can go across multiple cities or countries, or even across the globe for bigger acts. On Low-Fi, it is possible to tour all of Denmark and Sweden, from the beautiful forests of northern Sweden, to the vibrant Danish capital Copenhagen. Explore our more than 850 hosts here.
As a DIY artist, you will probably be taking on multiple roles as the booking agent, the tour manager, the stage hand, the driver, and yes, the artist. It can be hard but also rewarding, and you will definitely grow your skill set both on and off the stage.
- Make a budget: It’s important to get an overview of expenses and potential income early on. A budget is a dynamic document that you can adjust to fit your goals and expectations.
Start by adding the need-to-have expenses, such as transportation, food, etc., and use that to figure out how much you need to earn to cover your expenses and make a profit.
Once you have that figured out, you can set ticket and merch prices at a level that will help you reach your goal. Remember to add a little extra on the expenses side for unforeseen circumstances.
- Research funding opportunities: Depending on where you are based, there are different options for applying for funding for transportation. You can look into both public funding opportunities, such as state or city initiatives, and private foundations and organizations.
There are also some organizations offering non-monetary help, such as Danish Tuborgfondets Musikhjælp, where you can borrow a tour van for free.
- Make deals with band members: If you are traveling with a band, make sure that you agree on how both expenses and income will be shared. Are you all in it together as a band sharing the ups and downs, or are some of the musicians involved hired and should be paid a set amount? This should be cleared before you hit the road.
- Merch and album sales: Selling physical albums and merch can be a great source of income on the road. Production of both can take time, so make sure to order everything you need in good time.
Make sure to research local payment methods if you are touring abroad, and bring change in the local currency if you are accepting cash. Note that some countries require you to report how much merch you are bringing, so make sure you have an inventory list with you, just in case.
Promoting the tour
- Make an EPK: Put together an electronic press kit containing
– your music (as a link – nobody wants to download files*)
– your bios (a short elevator pitch, and a longer more in-depth bio)
– hi-res photos (that you have cleared for use)
– press and testimonials (album and concert reviews from press or concert goers)
– tour dates / list of scheduled live shows
– links to relevant social media platforms
– links to live or music videos
– your contact information
*if you want to send music that has not yet been released, you can make a private link on e.g. SoundCloud or YouTube.
- Promote your tour on digital platforms: When you start communicating about your concert, you don’t need to do the promotion everywhere. You just need to be active on the channels you already are using, whether it’s social media channels, newsletter, website, or something else.
If you’re on Facebook, creating events can be a great way to invite people to your concert – and have the host invite their network. Since you’ll be away from your own local community, you should get all the help you can from your concert host. You can also choose to spend some money on Facebook/Instagram ads to reach local audiences.
- Local press: Research local newspapers, magazines and blogs and reach out to see if they would be interested in listing your upcoming concert and/or come by the concert and make a review. Send them your electronic press kit as soon as you have the concert booked, so they have time to get it in their calendar.
- Physical promo options: Even though digital promo is great, physical promo material can also be really effectful. You can create a flyer, postcard or poster and ask your host to share it in relevant local spots. There are a number of online tools to help you easily put together graphically pleasing material, for example Canva.
- Make a list where guests can sign up for a newsletter or a thank you email from you: Bring a piece of paper or a tablet where guests can sign up to hear more from you. If you don’t have a newsletter, you can still send a thank you note to your guests after the concert/tour with information about how to follow you and where to find your music.
You can also ask them to send you photos and videos from the concert, or to make a review of your concert on your Low-Fi profile – which you can use to promote your next concerts.
You can read more about concert promotion in our FAQ.
After the tour
- Report to foundations/organizations if you received support: If you received transportation funds or any other support for your tour, make sure to report to the foundations or organizations who supported you. It’s not only a nice thing to do, it might also be mandatory.
- Collect royalties: Make sure to report your concerts to the rights management society where you are a member (e.g. Koda in Denmark and Stim in Sweden).
If you are performing outside of the country where you are a member of a rights management society, make sure that they have an agreement with the rights management society in the country where you are touring, so they can collect money on your behalf.