…ABOUT YOUR DRAW
Never assume that you’re going to get a good turnout at a show…especially when you’re not actively promoting. Liz Rueger of Independent Artist Representatives says it best: “You should go into every show assuming no one has ever heard you.” That said, don’t just expect people to come.
This is especially important to keep in mind when you’re touring. Venues want to know what kind of draw you have. How many people can you realistically bring out to their venue? Don’t lie! If you tell a venue you will bring out 50 people, then they’ll expect at least 50 people and hope for more. If you don’t deliver, you probably won’t be booked there again. If you can only really draw 10 people, then be honest and tell them so. They will respect your honesty and might still book you especially if you share the bill with 1 or 2 local artists in that city. Joe Squared in Baltimore is especially great with this. They will ask you what your draw is, and they will also require you to split stage time with at least 1 or 2 other groups. See PLANNING A TOUR: MAKING IT WORTH THE TRIP. Also check out: AN INTERVIEW WITH JOE SQUARED – THINGS EVERY VENUE WISHES YOU KNEW.
…ABOUT HOW MUCH $$$ YOU’LL MAKE
“You’ll probably lose money on your first tour” (another Liz Rueger quote). When you factor in travel expenses, and the fact that you might not get the greatest venues on your first go-round, the truth is you just might spend more than you make.
As for CDs, its a big investment to purchase 1000 units of your project. It might take 1 (or 3) years to sell through it. Don’t think that just because your music is available, people will buy it. There is money to be made in music but if you’re in music simply b/c you want to make money, you’re in the wrong profession. Read: WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVE? MAKING MONEY OR MAKING MUSIC?
…ABOUT YOUR COMMITMENT
Don’t waste people’s time. Don’t be that artist who’s extremely dependable one minute, and a no-show the next. Your fellow musicians are working their butts off to make a name for themselves and its not fair when you get a great gig at a showcase or as an opener and then decide that you don’t care enough to go (or cancelled last minute). Several other musicians wanted that spot.
At the same time, don’t be too serious. Don’t quit your job unless you know you can really support yourself on your music.