Touring And Doing Live Shows
Why should I tour as an artist? What is the real purpose?
One of the most important keys to success as an artist is touring. Touring is where you make all of your money (aside from merchandise) since not many people tend to purchase music in today’s easy access digital world.
One of the real reasons touring is so important is because it establishes a connection with fans that you cannot do through the internet no matter how hard you try. When someone sees you on stage performing your heart out and they are within 50 feet of you, it adds a whole dynamic of personal bonding.
Taylor Swift is known for having done hundreds and hundreds of shows and shaking thousands upon thousands of fans hands well before she ever saw the super star success level. She was doing state fairs and anywhere she could to gain fans and exposure, you shoud be doing the same thing.
Not touring is one of the biggest mistakes I ever made.
Growing up the way I did, I was so shy and weak. It was hard to consider touring because I was always so scared and timid of being on stage, I could stand in a crowd of 50-100 people and battle rappers and just get butterflies.
But it seemed like when it was just going to be me up there on stage it was a scary thing.
I quickly learned after doing shows, It’s never nearly as scary as you think it’s going to be. Nothing is life really is.
When you face things head on, the only thing that was actually scary was the possible outcomes you made up in your head.
It’s vital you understand to fight your fears in any situation.
I started everything insanely timid and scared of everything because of the shell my life put me into. Once you break free you create a level that makes you feel like a champion.
I’m not going to sit here and explain everything I know about touring, what I am going to do is give you the information that you NEED to know.
I discuss that in the ‘Mental Hacks’ section.
1) You need to be doing shows.
Not only for experience, but to fight any fear and feel more comfortable being yourself. Also understanding performance acoustics (which varies venue to venue obviously), microphone presence, crowd control, crowd reaction and the politics of venues.
ALWAYS BE NICE TO THE SOUND GUY He can make you sound like shit at the touch of a button. If he doesn’t like you….. Chances are the crowd won’t either. I am ALWAYS nicer than suburban white folks neighbors to the sound guy. Let him know you respect his job, because it DOES affect yours.
2) You can get a gig opening for someone at local venues, it’s honestly NOT hard.
The reason that venues always have so many openers when your favorite artist comes to town is that they want to sell more tickets. So they get local people who promise they can each sell 10-20 tickets.
If they sell those tickets, they get to perform. So technically they are paying to perform, just with someone elses money (their friends and family or whoever they sell the tickets too.) This is something about shows the general public doesn’t know.
They do this so that no matter what it helps pack out the show and the venue makes the most money it can.
The opening acts are actually out there promoting the
fuck out of the show as well. It’s free promotion just to let some random person have a 15 minute slot where they perform 3 1/2 songs.
If you go to a venue and show them you are actually a good artist regardless of your current social media numbers BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY tell them you can guarantee you sell 20 tickets. Then Bang, you probably get an opening spot my friend 😉
**You can generally contact the ‘Talent Buyer’ at the venue who is the guy who sets all of this up. You can do this simply by going to the venues website, or not being a vagina and just calling and asking for his /her info.
I found if you bother someone enough, nice enough, they eventually will hook you up! But once that opportunity comes, put your all into it, like you should anything you care about. People notice when you try your best and it will help you get more shows in the future.
3) Doing shows is an incredible way to network.
Eventually you will open up for one of your favorite artist or an artist you like. Depending on the artist and the venue set up, you may be able to meet this artist. Take a picture with them, get their number if you are charismatic enough and if they like you, than maybe something great comes of it.
4) If you are bigger, this is the opportunity to touch hands with your true fans
Being face to face with fans will instill a stronger connection with them as I mentioned above.
Sign autographs and be the star you are! Level uP!
There is A LOT more information, such as how to get a full tour booked, how to set up a full national tour, how to sell more tickets to your live shows etc.
But there are 1,000s of articles online about that have tons of filler for that info. If I get enough requests for it then I’ll write more details into the Level 4 part of this guide.
I just want to give you the basic knowledge that you need to know, such as, you NEED to be doing shows to grow your fan base, and the basics of how to get them in your local area.
If you’re at the level where you have a booking agent (like I do) and they are able to do this job for you, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. 😀
**Also consider once you’re at a certain level or have the network, you can tour with a major artist to gain some serious exposure.
Mac Miller toured with Wiz Khalifa the entire time Wiz was exploding to a super star. If not for that, Mac Miller’s buzz wouldn’t have built to the level it did That’s just one example of many.
MGK toured as an opener with MMG, Chris Webby as an opener with Tech 9 and Strange. etc.**