• Planning a Tour Budget

    So, let’s say you’ve got shows booked in several different cities, maybe even different nearby states…. What to do now? What is it going to cost? Planning the budget for taking your show on the road can be a daunting task; but we’ve gathered some information and good solid ideas for you to consider before hitting the highway…

    1. Transportation: Obviously you need wheels to get where you’re going. The ultimate is to have one vehicle to carry the band and all the gear. If your band is fortunate enough to already own a tour vehicle… that’s great. However, most new unsigned bands don’t have the perfect tour vehicle yet and will need to consider the expense of renting a vehicle and/or trailer.

    Sarge Tip

    Be as certain as possible that the vehicle is in good repair. Have the vehicle serviced by a good mechanic before you travel. A major motor vehicle melt-down when you’re on the road and don’t have the time or cash to fix it, can put a screeching halt on the entire tour!

    2. AAA: AAA Is a good investment for about $95.00 per year. Having a AAA card will definitely help get you back on the road if you have a flat, run out of gas, or any number of crazy unexpected little things that can happen when traveling.

    3. Insurance: Definitely be sure the vehicle’s insurance is paid and covers any potential incidents. Your instruments and gear are another story. A separate policy is advised to insure against loss, damage or theft of your equipment. Contact your insurance provider for more information on exactly what is and is not covered by the vehicle’s insurance. http://rockrevoltmagazine.com/band-aid-101-musical-instrument-gear-insurance

    Sarge Tip

    Make sure your designated driver is paying attention to the road and speed limits. Tickets are expensive!.

    4. Fuel and Mileage: Calculate your mileage and fuel costs ahead to make sure you know how much it’s going to cost you to get from point A to point B, C, D, and home again. With gas prices averaging around $3.00 per gallon, this is a hefty part of the tour budget. Using a fuel /mileage calculator site like http://www.fueleconomy.gov/ will help a lot in your planning.

    5. Tolls: Check and re-check your route…. Are there toll roads involved? While they may be the most fuel saving routes, do not forget to have toll money available. Toll cards like E-Pass or Sunpass can aslo be extremely beneficial when traveling.

    Sarge Tip

    Plan your route… carefully. Map it out so you can calculate mileage, fuel costs, toll expenses, as well as the nearest accommodations to each venue..

    6. Food: Hopefully the agreement with the venue includes some food and beverage for the band. If not, you still need to eat. Typically, the cash needed for food is about $20.00 per day, per person. We suggest packing some non-perishable groceries to take with you and finding out what’s available near the venue and hotel ahead of time.

    7. Accommodations: Chances are, you won’t have family or friends in every city that can put the band up for the night, so hotel frequent stay plans can help you save some dollars on room rates. Most hotel/motel chains have them. You just need your manager or one band member to sign up and be responsible for the reservations. Make reservations in advance so you know how much you’re spending and where you’re going to crash after the show. It’s great if you can get the frequent traveler card with a hotel chain that offers free breakfast!

    8. Parking: Check in to possible parking fees for each venue, or hotel parking lot. This can be an overlooked and unexpected expense that can really add up.

    Sarge Tip

    Consider the safety of the vehicle. Park in a well-lit area, preferably right outside of the room or at least within view from the room.If you are towing a trailer with a roll up door, park it against wall if possible..

    9. Venues: Do as much advance research on the venue as possible. You will want to know if Wi-fi is available, occupancy, stage dimensions, noise ordinances, sound technicians, and what equipment does each venue already have, and if there’s a green room for the band. Check out their websites and Facebook pages for pictures and comments. Make contact with the other bands playing, they may have good information for you and become great contacts later on.

    10. Merchandise: Don’t carry all of your merchandise with you. Leave some of it at home. If you need more while on the road, you can have someone from the home base send it out to you. Set up your merch table at each venue early.It let’s people know you are making your way along the tour by selling your stuff. And don’t be the first to take your table down at the end of the show.

    Sarge Tip

    Check out our Music Advice 101 article on Merch Sales: http://musicadvice101.com/merch-table-sales .

    Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion

  • The Job of a Manager for an Unsigned Band

    In general, the band manager’s job is to take care of the business side of things allowing the artists’ to create and perform their music. The duties of the manager for an “unsigned” band vary depending on the stage of the artists’ career. Typical responsibilities include promoting the band and marketing materials like EP’s and assuring distribution to the proper press and media outlets. But, a manager may wear many other hats working for the band in a multitude of ways.

    Sarge Tip

    Whether signed to a record label or not, you need to have a written contract outlining the responsibilities and role the manager will play in your career. A formal agreement will keep miscommunications and surprises from happening later.

    1. Financial Management.
    The manager is responsible for handling the financial affairs of the band they represent; this may include everything from ensuring correct payment is received from the venue to paying the bills for promotional materials and hotel rooms. Another large portion of the financial management aspect is to actively pursue funding opportunities for their artists, such as a kick starter or fundraising for tours.

    2. Networking.
    This is nearly a 24/7 responsibility of a good manager. They should always be on the lookout for networking opportunities to meet new contacts and introduce their band to a broader listener base. In one word the manager is the mouthpiece of the band and an integral part of the band’s success.

    Sarge Tip

    The manager should have business cards and press kits with them at all times as well as have their “elevator pitch” prepared.

    3. Promotion.
    A manager should be an active participant in exploring potential promotional opportunities as well as determining the best activities for the band to participate in. Should they play a “free” show or be booked for a fundraising event? Should they stick with playing only events booked by a well-known local promoter?

    Sarge Tip

    In some situations, the band manager’s role is to oversee and delegate promotional tasks to the band members or others in their camp. For example, the lead singer may have the duty of keeping up with Facebook, the bass player may be in charge of distributing flyers, etc.

    4. Booking Gigs.
    The manager can help reduce pressure on the artists by ensuring that they are getting in to the right venues at the right time. For instance, booking venues where they are ready and able to play, and with shows that suit the genre of their music. Over-playing in the same place to the same crowd should be avoided. The manager should play a large part in getting the band good exposure in as large an area as they can penetrate. However, the band manager is not always the one to book the dates in conjunction with a large tour. Most large tours with headlining national acts have touring managers and promoters taking care of the dates and bookings. In this case, the band manager is only in charge of the needs of their own band.

    5. Negotiating.
    Acting as a liaison between the band and the venue and / or the promoters; some of the manager’s responsibilities may be to ensure that the band is playing for a fair percentage of the door revenue or a guaranteed flat rate for the show; and that there is water, beverages, or food provided; as well as proper recognition on the flyers and advertising pieces for the event(s).
    The manager is also responsible for signing all performance agreements on the band’s behalf.

    6. Coordinating / Scheduling.
      A manager should be the glue that holds the band together, staying in contact with each member and scheduling rehearsals and studio time that make sense for everyone.  Solidifying load-in and load-out times, making sure everyone and all equipment arrive on time for every show.  Scheduling promotional photo shoots and other public appearances is also an important part of the coordinating duties. Like a show or rehearsal, this will include making sure everyone can get to the location. The manager will probably also have a say in the photographer being hired for the shoot, as well as the overall look and theme of the shots.

    7. Technical Assistance.
    Depending on their own background, some managers have more skill and knowledge than others in this area. But every manager needs to have a full understanding of their band’s technical requirements. At times, this may require them to be in contact pre-show with the venue, the sound and lighting technicians, etc.

    8. Media.
    While social media has taken the world by storm, and most artists have their own pages with thousands of opportunities for self-promotion. The manager should definitely oversee all media outlets to ensure that the right message is being sent out across the internet, radio and publications relating to the music scene. A manager should always be working to get the band featured in local print media, online magazines, and radio stations; maintaining social media sites and keeping the fans updated about the shows is a very important task of a manager.

    Sarge Tip

    In some cases, the manager works directly with a publicist who is hired to handle all media relations.

    9. Coach.
    Although it is business, a supportive manager can make a huge difference to band members when a little life coaching is needed to keep them on the right track; the manager needs to be prepared to take on the role of counselor and therapist when needed.
    A manager must possess the skills to handle everything from diffusing quarrels between band members; to step in when band members need help to overcome drug and alcohol addictions; to give support during personal family crisis; or to be a shoulder during a bad break-up with a girl friend or boyfriend. Other coaching roles include always seeking out new outlets to get the music out there, like Spotify, Sound Cloud and I-Tunes. And also to give coaching advice on the band’s stage presence ensuring that they look as good as they sound, and are projecting the correct image to suit the band’s style.

    10. Send out demos to labels.
    When the time is right, and the music is ready, one of the most important jobs a manager does is to get those demos out to radio personalities and record labels. This will help increase the probability that the demo will actually get a listen! When assisting with the business side of an emerging band, the first priority of the manager is to get the band heard by the masses.

    Sarge Tip

    With a band manager… you get what you pay for. While it might be financially easier to have a family member or buddy in charge; they may not have the skills and know-how to take you outside your own backyard. At some point, you will need to hire a professional manager

    Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion