If you’re a developing artist in the music industry today, there’s no reason you should be going out on tour before you’re ready. Many musicians make the mistake of jumping the gun on a regional or cross-country tour.
The truth is that, unless you’re ready to pull the trigger, any type of tour like this is not only going to be a waste of your time but could hurt these markets for you in the future. When will you be ready for a tour – when you are more fully formed as an artist and when it makes
financial sense to do so.
As a developing artist, there is a lot you need to think about long before you go out for a tour. To begin with, there is a myth that has been established in the music industry for decades that in order to get big, an artist had to tour. This was true, long ago. Leading up until the late 1990s, touring was a major source of income for artists and had a high, high value. Today, not so much. The internet has made it so that an artist can release a single and instantly send it across the globe in audio and image. Also, social media has made it so that you can build your brand as an artist and build that demand prior to heading out on tour. This is where an artist’s attention should be. There is no sense in going out on tour if you do not have the audience to fill the venue. Build that audience.
There is a second point worth making in the sense that there is no purpose in touring with no product to sell. As a developing artist, you need to take the time to develop your image, your music, and what you represent on stage. These are the three keys to ensuring that you have a strong live performance when it comes time to share that live performance with the public – get the best songs you can get, the best sounding recordings possible, and decide on what you want to represent visually in your stage show.
When you do start to tour, remember to rehearse for at minimum a month. Get your performance as tight as you can get it and really get down everything you want to present in your stage show. Then, start small with local performances to get used to the stage setting. Begin in your city and then your region. It takes time to build your audience and it is far more important, especially at an early stage, that that audience is there.
If you’re just beginning your career in music or have long been a veteran of the business, the most effective use of your time is in developing high quality sound recordings and your brand. Live touring will come in time. When you are ready to tour, nothing will be more important than delivering your art in a live setting.
As a developing artist though, find your own identity as an artist and take as much time as you need. If you go out too early and your presentation ends up being a mess, nothing else could be a bigger mistake.