by Adam Yorkshire
This is every musician’s fantasy. The tour bus rolls up to the arena (full of beer, pizza, and groupies). Fans are crowded out front hoping to catch a glimpse of the hottest musician. The group is escorted to their dressing room. They enjoy the various pleasures of stardom while roadies set up the stage. This is show time, and the artists take the stage. The crowd is screaming while the lights are glaring and the amps are humming. Musicians spend a lot to make a huge return on investment on tours in 2019.
You wake up in the back of your Cruiser. Your bass player’s elbow is in your ear and the drummer’s asleep on your foot. You have eaten, practicing and getting set to thrill your fans. Every musician dreams of touring. Getting out of their same boring town and making money. Trying their tunes out on new crowds, in new areas, for fresh faces. Bonding on the road, writing new tunes in the hotel room with food, drinks, getting paid, living large.
The concert business has never been bigger, in contrast to the recorded-music business. While music sales have dropped for 3 years in a row, from $13 billion to $11.5 billion in 2002. The tour business has climbed for 4 years straight, from $1.3 billion in 1998 to $2.1 billion last year. Thus musicians increasingly rely on road shows for their income.
Performers moan about never seeing a royalty check from their record label, regardless of how many discs or shows they sell. But a top concert draw can take home 35% of the night’s gate and up to 50% of the dollar flow from merchandise sold at the show.
Now the music labels, hungry for revenue from any source, are mulling over whether to grab a piece of the tour biz. Companies already have started signing a new deal with singers that gives the label a cut of the pop star’s merchandise, publishing, touring revenue and sponsorship.
Apart from getting money from tickets sales during the tour. Musicians also make money through brands that are ready to support the show. They also generate lots of money from people who are ready to pay for VIP access. Some musicians have sold out concert to their crowd during their tours.
In short, touring can be the best thing that ever happened to a musician if they work hard, play it smart, and follow through correctly. In 2019, touring is one of the ways musicians make a huge amount of money. Irrespective of how much you love to tour, always remember to keep your foot in the door locally. It’s the great work that you do at home that makes other people excited about you bringing your show to their town.