Four Ways to Improve DIY Touring for Small Bands

Touring is still an effective way to grow your audience and keep their attention in today’s digitally-driven music industry. DIY touring can be costly and even cause irreparable damage to your career if done wrong. DIY touring can be costly for small and unestablished artists. Bad tours can have a devastating effect on morale, especially for bands. In an age when musicians are creating and sharing great music, every day that you spend on the road will be one you don’t spend writing songs at home. Your career can grow by touring, but only if you do it correctly and at the right moment. These tips can help you get the most from your tour, whether you are a new or established band.

Begin with a short tour in your local area and then expand.

Although your band might be eager to share your music with the world via touring, your budget may not match your passion. A long DIY tour is difficult to promote, even if it’s not done well. Bands will do better if they start with smaller regional tours and grow. These tours are easier to promote and more likely to lead to more people discovering your music. Although a long cross-country tour may sound exciting, it will prove costly for your band. Start with your local area and work your way up. Don’t book shows that are difficult to return to.

Make a budget and plan for your tour.

You’re supposed to have fun on tour, so you don’t need to worry about logistics or money. Without a plan, touring is like going blindly through unfamiliar places. While touring can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things your brand can do, it is impossible to make it work without planning and budgeting. Planning should include everything from where you will sleep to how much gas money you will need to get you from one show to the next. It’s crucial to be realistic. You’re unlikely to make a lot of money if you book tours as a solo artist or small band. Instead of planning for the outcome you want, build your strategy and budget around the probable outcomes of each show.

It would be best to focus more on promoting shows that are important and less on playing too often.

Performing almost every night on tour seems like a good idea. You can earn more money and gain more fans by playing more shows. This strategy can lead to long drives, low morale, and financial problems for you and your bandmates. Even if you and your bandmates have jobs, travelling long distances to play as many shows as possible can be very draining on your finances. Even more important is that booking shows to get you from A to B usually results in small crowds and little to help you reach your goals. We are all better off not playing as often and doing our best to promote important shows via local radio, press and interviews.

Touring is not complete without good music and a reason.

This is the most important tip. It is impossible to tour without reason. A national tour won’t do your favours if your music hasn’t been developed or you don’t have local performance experience. A solid foundation for your band is great music. If you don’t have good work to perform, a well-executed tour won’t make any difference. Even if your music sounds great, the time may not be right to go on the road. There are many reasons bands should tour. However, if you haven’t released any music in years, it may be good to stay at home and create.


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