Hey everyone! It's Friday and I am so excited to be writing to you all today! Over the last few weeks, I have been trying to find fun topics to talk about that would be a little different and entertaining to read. So I'm going to ask you few questions quick, you like music right? Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a traveling musician? You see all these huge bands that tour all over the world but have you ever thought about how much work is put into the planning of the tour?
Earlier this week I had the amazing opportunity to get to interview a very good friend of mine Jordan Pulley. He is apart of the band Of Brighter Skies which is located out of the Madison Wisconsin area. Of Brighter Skies is a touring band and I had a few questions about how much work goes into planning a tour. How they pick dates, locations, budgets, etc. The answers he gave me were so interesting and made me see the whole music industry completely different.
Budgeting, of course, this is the first thing a band must think about before they even start looking into touring. Jordan informed me that touring is very much like having a storefront, you spend the money on your product first and then make a profit off it later. What he means by this is he spends money for "merch" (t-shirts, stickers, CDs, etc.) he puts the money into gas, sleeping accommodations, and transportation then when he is on tour the merch will make the money back with profit, just like a regular store. To me, this sounded great in theory but I had to ask, what happens if you don't have the largest turn out on your tour? Are you out money? The answer would be yes but Jordan made it very clear that if you want to make money in the music industry while on tour you cannot play for "food and exposure" he said that you must know your worth. So Jordan does not play at a venue for free because he knows his band is worth more than that. I asked him how he can convince a venue to pay him to come play at their place and he said "you must sounds and act like a professional. Make them believe you have been there and that there are other places you will go and take your fans with. If a venue says no, that is okay because someone else will see the benefit on both sides." Jordan also made a very interesting statement about how a successful band is a business, it is not fun and games, it is not a hobby if you want to make it you must treat it just like you would any company. Jordan owns a company, not a "band."
The next on his list was picking dates. Now I found this very interesting, he lives in the Midwest where it is very cold during this time of the year and he made the statement that when looking into dates it is very important to base it on seasons, would someone from Wisconsin rather put on all their winter clothes (which they will have to hold the whole time) or would someone from there rather come in the summertime without all the extra clothing. Most likely they would rather a summer show. On the other side though someone who lives in the desert would probably rather have a winter show because it is cooler and they don't have to worry about the heat getting to them.
According to Jordan finding locations and venues is all about routing. If you are going on a seven-day tour you are going to look at all the different locations that have the biggest market of people listening to your genre of music. Then you just send out a lot of emails until you find the venues to go with the dates you have available.
I was very curious about how a band can track where they have the highest amount of fans and Jordan informed me that a lot of is has to do with CD sales inventory. If they are at one show and only sell one CD but then go to another show and sell ten it makes a lot more sense to return to somewhere they have a higher profit rate. Also, the online places like Spotify really do help with tracking statics of who is listening, where, and when.
At the end of the conversation, we were talking about how much time it really takes out of a musicians schedule, especially if they are still relatively small, to plan all of this on top of making music, promoting their music, and playing it. It seemed like a lot so I asked him, "what can I do as a travel agent for someone like you?" Jordan said it would be so nice to have an organized itinerary, so he has everything right in front of him without having to worry about missing something or being late. The agent would be two steps ahead keeping them all on track. He said helping with routing would be awesome because sometimes there are other quicker ways to get to places that would cut their drive times down. Helping with all the planning such as hotels, cars, and flights. Or just being the spokesperson when something does go wrong and they have other things to worry about. He actually said that as a touring musician having a travel agent on your side could really be useful.
Well, everyone, I hope you enjoyed this, I had so much fun interviewing Jordan and I learned so much. I honestly never thought of a band as a business and now that it was laid out like that for me I totally understand why it would be a business and why it should be run as one as well. I think this was one of my favorite blogs to do. Oh, and you all should totally check out Jordan's band they will be going on tour March 2nd-4th and they will be playing at The Black Bear in Janesville WI March 2nd, Gabe's in Iowa City IA the 3rd and The Depot in Hopkins MN on the 4th. If you aren't in any of those areas you should still check out their music and Like their Facebook page! Thank you all I will talk to you next week!
Lauren and Kim Medelberg's life in travel. We will talk about our trips, thoughts, and experiences in the travel world.