I recently sat down with a nice cup of cocoa and settled into reading Donald Passman’s fantastic , ‘All you need to know about the Music Business’ and came across the section relating to touring your band, having been deeply involved with many touring situations from publicity to management I couldn’t help but stop on the pages that referred to early stages of touring . The section stated that amongst other things it makes more sense for a metal band to tour than a singer songwriter or ballad type act. I found this fairly debatable as if you are infront of an audience and your music is strong – the most important part of the jigsaw – then why should metal be different to a solo artist? If the crowd is the same does this actually stack up?
Anyway the style of music is open to debate but the question of tour support will always at some stage raise it’s head , by tour support it actually means the shortfall between the costs layed out and the return from the shows but in reality the budget for the tour, to support a headliner , or the ‘buy on’ fee is critical . The fee to appear as a tour support is there to reduce tour costs for the headline act primarily and you must make sure that you are certain that when you go on stage , the audience will be in the venue and not in the bar, kind of obvious but very relevant. Rule 1 of building a fan base via tour support is knowing that there will be people watching you and then that you have something to sell whether it be merchandise or donuts- only go for the donut option if your merch is really rubbish as it is easier to wear a t shirt than a donut- anyway once Rule 1 is understood , make sure you have a good idea as to the average attendance at the venue in terms of ticket sales as again why pay to support a badly promoted tour.
It all seems obvious but sometimes you are so blown away by supporting one of the bands you have idolised, that you forget to make sure the obvious is not overlooked.