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How do bands book tours?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by shtuck, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. ZenGuitarist

    ZenGuitarist Tele-Afflicted

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    Have you thought about playing bass in addition to guitar? That would give you more opportunities to join a band. Good bass players are hard to find.
     
  2. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sounds like managements job
     
  3. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    Booking venues... making a tour... With the years I have a big data base of venues, prices, condition, comments, address, telephone number, name of the owner, nearest hotel, bars... and local dealer.

    I use it with my original band. We have been together for 22 years

    Now I am starting to play in more bands and I can use my database and book gigs on a 10%. If not? I am just the guitar guy. I mean, I can do you one favor, of course, but this is not my job (in any else band but mine). We used to go to a far away town and try to book in between doing a hysteresis cycle. That means bot using the same way going up than going down

    NO, your mistake is thinking on "sell yourself". Maybe you are a bit pushy with other bands talking "I play well enough or beyond that" when talking to some people. If I am in a bar or a studio and a man comes and say "I think I can play enough good to be in your band" what should I do? Sack all my band a start a new life with this new stranger that says he can play? Music is not about perfection, music is about being honest. As you say, many bands are made by friends, so mine too... MAKE friends, not contacts. Then, the rest will come

    If you want to enter a band, first, make your own band, second, go to bars and shows, jam sessions, open mics and... Be yourself... unless you are an *******, then be another one
     
  4. LAPlayer

    LAPlayer Tele-Meister

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    Some accurate answers herein. I’m not a band, just a side/session man. My connections and management book me. In normal years there are numerous ways it happens. There are Union and non-union procedures. Up and coming area/regional bands play their area and get invited to open for up and coming national touring acts. If they get noticed they may get to expand that opening gig. There are Festivals that take submissions for acceptance to fill in around the known invited acts - hit or miss. Again if your management is known, they will have those connections. Some bands beginning to tour will have to have someone contacting clubs, venues and promoters to plan their “tour”. There are regional and national promoters (usually every region has one or two major promoters) who connect with other promoters to enlarge the migratory area of bands and players. When you’re unknown there is little to no negotiation - you get what they pay - period. I have always found it is far less brain damage to let someone else book you to take the ego out of the equation. No one cares, or wants to hear you say “but I get $XXX in L.A. or Miami or N.Y. or wherever your home base is. The easy answer is that there is no one answer. There are plenty of talent agents in every large town or city. For most people that’s your first line of contact if you want to start working. Remember that 99% of people aren’t prepared for the sacrifices to make it big.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
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  5. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    What is this thing called a tour you speak of?
    I'm not familiar with that in 2020
     
  6. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    Managers, agents, promoters and buyers! The bigger the shows become, the more the bands stay out of it and simply follow an itinerary... which changes often!
    Most groups will have a manager at that level. The manager will work with Agents and Promoters to arrange tours.
    • Agents handle the smaller venues.... where the buyer is a club, a festival, or even a soft seater that promotes their own shows.
    • Promoters (Live Nation, H.O.B, etc.. etc..) are different... they buy the tour (put a guarantee on it) then find the "right sized venues" to host the shows. The venues are generally "rented".... rarely is the large venue a buyer themselves - but it does happen.
    • With promoters the "guarantee" they bought the show for will have thresholds. Once beyond the break even point by a certain level the group will get more than the guarantee!
    The smaller shows booked through agents will often be promoted by the venue (buyer) and the group itself.
    The larger shows are promoted through a joint effort between Promoter/Venue/Group/Record Company.

    That barely scratches the surface to the complexity of what happens. There are many moving parts, and every one of those parts expects to make money. Bigger venues does not always equate to bigger pay days... as more people have their finger in the pie to make it happen!
     
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  7. shtuck

    shtuck TDPRI Member

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    Thank you for your post! You've laid it out nicely. Agents, then promoters. As others have mentioned: managers do alot. So much about this life the audience doesn't see right!? We just see the show. I can imagine now the added stress on artists...after a certain point, its not just your band and your music anymore. There are a bunch of other people and their livelyhoods wrapped up in it. Honestly, thats intimidating as hell.
    Wow.

    Also, it seems like you hear about "pay to play" with a negative bent to it. But the truth seems to be, other than absolute entry level open mics and jams, pay to play is kinda how everything works right?
     
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  8. ronzhd

    ronzhd Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Cash is king, but hall rentals, door splits etc. happen at every level. The key to good deals is leverage and as I said, cash. Also remember that economy of scale, the bigger the hall, the bigger the costs associated. From security and staffing to PA, stage help and..... you get the picture.
     
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  9. shtuck

    shtuck TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for your post! I was never pushy or cocky. Quite the opposite (I think). What I meant was I probably needed to be at least a little more confident, and persistent. There is an art to doing that without pissing people off though, for sure. Most of these people were my friends... and their bands started very organically, and I just didnt happen to be around when it happened. I totally get that, maybe now a little more so than then. I think what I experienced alot was watching friends band grow, going to their shows to support them, but over time getting very frustrated always being in the audience when I wanted to be on stage. I'm sure many of us can relate. If you're a player, and you dont have anything going for you, no matter how much you love your buddies and their music, it can be hard to be stuck in the audience, month after month, year after year.

    In more recent years I did start going to blues jams and open mics, and I was finally in a band for awhile. Which was great but challenges in my personal life and my marriage at the time forced me to leave the band. It was extremely difficult to navigate that period in my life.

    Anyway, thanks for your response
     
  10. tery

    tery Doctor of Teleocity

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    Move to Nashville and meet people .
     
  11. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    As I stated at the end of my last post... I am barely scratching the surface of what does/can happen ;)

    Think of it this way.... there is always a seller (the artist), and there is always a buyer (either a venue or a promoter).
    When it comes to "pay to play" the artist is both the seller and the buyer. All risk is on them!

    There are really good opportunities with this option, but I find there is also a lot of bottom feeding in this area as well. The further from home you get, the worse this gets because you won't have the inside knowledge of the venue's you are dealing with.

    Just my 2 cents!
     
  12. shtuck

    shtuck TDPRI Member

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    No kidding! Lets hope we can get through this thing and back to it.
     
  13. bftfender

    bftfender Poster Extraordinaire

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    I do believe after 4 year hiatus due to serious injury to the wife.. funding a decent run mid next year.
     
  14. shtuck

    shtuck TDPRI Member

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    Man, I wish I could. But its a hard sell to my wife and probably irresponsible to my two young kids, one of whom has a medical condition. My wife wants a house in the country and stability, she's not into it.
     
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  15. shtuck

    shtuck TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, I used to think maybe I could be a utility player. I've sat in on bass briefly a few times at jams. It's definitely interesting, ultimately I would probably get frustrated if I was stuck on bass for too long though. But I can see there is much to be learned there that could be applied to my guitar playing as well.

    I can play mandolin fairly well. A little scruggs banjo, not much.
     
  16. ZenGuitarist

    ZenGuitarist Tele-Afflicted

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    I know what you mean. I played bass in a band for about a year and while it was OK, it really wasn't my thing. I prefer playing guitar, although I still do play bass for some variety.
     
  17. shtuck

    shtuck TDPRI Member

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    I guess it depends on the band sometimes. Tom Petty played bass in the Traveling Wilbury's, but geez, look at who his bandmates were! ;)
     
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  18. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    In the old days, if you were signed to a major record label they would arrange your album studio time and arrange your tour. But they would charge you for everything as expenses to be deducted from any album sale and concert revenue. And there would be lots of overhead costs. My buddy was signed to Atlantic in a hair band. It looked glamorous: MTV videos, in the magazines, a big tour including huge festivals, tour bus, album engineered and recorded by top engineers and producers in a top tier recording studio. But the album only sold ok, they were dropped after about two years, and after all expenses were deducted they owed the label money. And during the two years they got a spending money allowance that was probably less than minimum wage. The label wrote off the debt, but after two years of busting their butts (and living the rock star fantasy) they had nothing to show for it.
     
  19. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    So, you knew the answer already... Keep doing that and pass about what wife says


    ... I do it

    AND Start your own band. Start with an acoustic duo or whatever suits you and gig by gig you can add members. If it is a cool badass and amazon SHOW (The important thing is the show, not how good do you play) they will come. I did it years ago and finished with a hole complete band.
     
  20. shtuck

    shtuck TDPRI Member

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    Damn...thats a shame. Even well- known players can find themselves in poverty if they have a medical condition that leaves them unable to play gigs. I'm talking legendary figures too. Thats sad.
     
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