**Special Note: Recently I contacted an old writing partner of mine from back in the day. I asked for an article for the site as a way to see how our readers responded to the opinion. In the comments below please let us know what you think and if we should keep this new journalist around. Thank you. ~Biggz
Hello, first off I would like to introduce myself. I am the Hooded Hoodlum, you will never see my face and I speak for the unspoken. The down harden folks with common sense that face-palm at the sheer thought of ignorance rising and common sense falling. Information is my weapon, education is my style, and with that being said, let us begin.
A lot of artists are confused as to what it exactly means to be a touring or tour worthy artist. First off, you need to have a product to sell. Otherwise what’s the point? So first we look at the music, and the basic questions that need to be answered. “Do I have a copyrighted, trademarked, protected album that I can sell at tour stops?” “Am I a trademarked brand and able to receive royalties from spins?” “Is my music mixed and mastered down to industry standards?”And finally “Do I have radio edits that can be spun during potential interviews at tour stops?” Once you have a solid yes to these questions you have step one completed on your ‘getting ready to tour checklist.’ And fyi that includes filing for a LLC.
Next, you look at your brand. “Do I have merchandise with my trademarked logo to sell?” “Do I have a working budget to pay for staff on the road and each individual stop?” These two question are huge! Many brands are under the delusion that the strength of their music is enough to propel them into stardom. Very funny, btw. Merchandise from t-shirts, thongs, hoodies, silicone wristbands, and stickers are just a few items that can be used to distribute your brand. Also, artists make most of their money off of their merchandise on tour dates. Plus, you can never underestimate the power and buzz from throwing out free shirts during the set of your performance. The second question is equally as important as well. Having an experienced and loyal road crew is the life blood of any tour. Road hands, merchandise vendors, runners/security, van drivers, and even your on stage DJ are all a part of the employees that will be working this tour and they want to be paid. So I hope that before you even have the dates locked in that you save up some money or collect some sponsors for the tour.
So, now we have our brand set with musical and wearable merchandise to sell and a paid crew to run the jobs of the tour. Lastly we reach the pinnacle question. “Is my brand large enough to launch a tour?” Ego is the main killer of all budding artists careers by simply thinking that they are a bigger fish than they really are. Even with social media it is very difficult to find a reputable booking agent or agency now a days unless you can afford to pay a couple grand up front. Oh yes running a tour is quite expensive! Start off with what is called ‘weekend warrior’ shows. You hit up your friends list on your social media sites in other states and you get on some shows. Having a solid buzz in your local town helps a lot too. Once you have your Friday & Saturday shows locked in, you pack up your crew and off you go. To start with don’t travel more than two hours one way from your hometown if you can, gotta crawl before you walk! Leave Friday afternoon and come home Sunday. Do this for about three months. Then once you are ready, progress to a Thursday through Sunday music work week. At these stops, if you followed the checklist you will have merch to sell, a crew to sell it, the money to pay them, and the ability to market your brand. This in turn prepares you for a regional tour: being gone for one to three months at a time. At this step, a musical career has started with an entry-level, part-time position and the paid hobby is no more.
Now the actual numbers that all of that stuff you just learned costs is a variable that you the artist, managers, and agents can find out on your own through a little thing called research. Also known as Google. You can start a budding career in the music industry as well as run your own personal label with a few thousands dollars, about three reliable people, Google on a working internet device, and intelligence. If you lack even one item from those four, sorry but your f—ed. Sorry & s–t.
Please leave your comments, hate mail, death threats, s–t talking, questions of all types, and love in the comments section below. Be seeing you around and next time we will discuss the proper structure of a marketable LP & EP. -HH