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Covering touring costs abroad

Postby hei-hei » Wed Dec 16, 2020 2:21 pm

Hey, guys! :wave:

I am new to the forum, so I will appreciate it if smn helps me by pointing at the similar topics that might have some answers to my post already :think:

I manage a rock band from Norway, and we recently got signed to the booking agency from the UK. The agency managed to get us as a support act for a big band from the UK for a part of their tour in Chile/Brazil in April-May 2021, and we will be playing to about 8000 ppl in 4 days. We are doing it all independently, financing the whole thing ourselves and building our own team around the band. It's quite a big jump after just 2 years the band was formed.

So right now we need to cover all the costs for this tour (flights, accommodations, renting equipment, etc.) or at least reduce them by getting some stuff for free in exchange for things we can offer as a band, and I am brainstorming ideas regarding who could be potentially interested in sponsoring this kind of music act.

I got some ideas here and there, contacted some companies, but I need some help with more ideas as I feel like I am missing smth.

We are not a huge band yet but we are still getting a platform for some exposure. :D
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Re: Covering touring costs abroad

Postby Wonks » Wed Dec 16, 2020 4:12 pm

Hi and welcome!

Just some general thoughts.

Brasil has been particularly hard-hit by Covid-19 so even by April-May 2021, there may be quite a lot of restrictions still in place. Audience numbers may be very restricted, so your exposure may also be much reduced, though hopefully the local music journalists can be persuaded to attend and cover your act as well as the headline band.

Travel between countries may also still be heavily restricted, so you may be able to do Chile or Brasil but not both (or at least without an isolation period in-between). Even though you'll probably get vaccinated against Covid by that time, there's no guarantee that Brasil or Chile would provide exceptions on travel to those vaccinated a sit could be very hard to check and enforce.

Given reduced exposure, you may find it harder to get sponsorship from within Europe, especially those with no presence in South America. Have you tried finding any Brasilian or Chilean companies who might be in a position to sponsor you?

Also consider that so many companies have suffered financially from Covid, so any sponsorship budgets will probably be greatly reduced, and what there is spent on well-known acts rather than up and coming ones, at least for the time being. Also, not being the headline act, how do sponsors let people know that they are sponsoring you? Your band name may or may not be shown on posters (depends on the deal you get with the headline band) , so you may be just "+ support" and if you are doing just a part of the tour, then there's probably not going to be anything in tour programs about you.

Whilst it's nice getting a support slot to a name band, is it likely to cost you more than you'll ever recoup? Are Brasil and Chile targeted markets for the band, or is the trip over there just because you've picked up the support slot? If you suddenly picked up a decent-sized following there as a result, would you be in a position to go back for some follow-up tours to exploit that? Obviously if you do that, it's a lot harder to then also target and tour European countries.

I'm just trying to be realistic. Making any money from music at the best of times these days is hard, and these are far from the best of days. I have no idea how things will be in a few months time. They might be almost normal, or a vaccine-resistant mutation might set things back to how they are now. I'd hate for you to commit and lose money for something that may never happen. Whatever you do, play it safe and minimise any financial exposure until the way things are progressing is clear. Keep close watch on the Covid situations in Brazil and Chile and the associated travel and performance related regulations.
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Re: Covering touring costs abroad

Postby hei-hei » Wed Dec 16, 2020 4:36 pm

Hi, Wonks!

A lot of general thought here :D

We are not too preoccupied about COVID at this point, the other band will be in the same position (traveling from the UK), and they won't agree to reducing the capacity of their shows - they would probably just postpone it, and our contract states that we keep the act as well. Though the travelling situation is hard, both bands are in it.

Honestly, the whole money thing is challenging for anyone at any times (lots of bands of our size are in complete crisis now, and we managed to build quite a lot despite covid). If we want to keep all the control of both creative and business part we just have to find way to invest money and build the team we trust around it, we still have time to come up with lots of solutions before April. Nothing happens if people do not get paid, especially if we want professionals to work for us. There are lots of risks and stress, and it's just the part of the journey. Right now whatever money we make from the band we invest it back into the band and look for more funds

We talked to some local labels as well, one of them was like - "guys, find the money anywhere else but music business - we are going to take all your masters for 10k euro top, and you are too good for this :D"

You are right about all the financial losses in the economy in general, I think we are going to look into who profited from covid and go and nag at them :D I am going to check local businesses/sponsors - we do have flyers with our name together with the big band name and our agency will take care of these promos being spread across internet/venues websites. there will be the big band promo campaign and we will be a part of it

I agree - establishing ourselves in those regions will be great - we are looking into playing some big festivals in Latin America as well, it will help to keep the ball rolling. To be honest, we did take this support slot because of who these guys are, as they are s´70 band and our guys´music is greatly inspired but 70s
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Re: Covering touring costs abroad

Postby CS70 » Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:38 pm

hei-hei wrote:Hey, guys! :wave:

I am new to the forum, so I will appreciate it if smn helps me by pointing at the similar topics that might have some answers to my post already :think:

I manage a rock band from Norway, and we recently got signed to the booking agency from the UK. The agency managed to get us as a support act for a big band from the UK for a part of their tour in Chile/Brazil in April-May 2021, and we will be playing to about 8000 ppl in 4 days. We are doing it all independently, financing the whole thing ourselves and building our own team around the band. It's quite a big jump after just 2 years the band was formed.


How's the split deal (if any) with the main band?

A few years back we ran a campaign in the US and one of the results was a similar proposal from a US company - few nights support for an oldie but goldie, plus a 8 dates mini-tour in the southwest. Spent a weekend evaluating and calculating and concluded that, even if had won support from cultural institutions (support that we didn't really want to have, for personal convinctions), there was no way it would be economically profitable, then or ever.

That was partly due to our specific age concerns (to recoup, you need to have a long term artist career perspective and with me in my late forties back then, and the drummer and bass player over a decade older, we had far easier ways to make a far better living in the short-medium term. Still have. In the long term, we're 70..), personal life concerns (same reasons) but ultimately to the logistics.. starting on the other side of the Atlantic, without an already massive following to make the endeavor profitable, it's just too expensive a way to gain exposure. You may wonder why we ran the campaign in the US... and you'd be right. Well, first we didn't really think it would bring much, second we knew the agency in New Jersey, and third we weren't really planning strategically at all. In hindsight, we should have run an European campaign instead. Maybe will.

It was really tough and sad to decline, we'd been joking "when we play an arena" for years. But it was making no sense at all, at least for us. Now an European arena, that's a different story... nobody's offered, alas :D :D

So right now we need to cover all the costs for this tour (flights, accommodations, renting equipment, etc.)

Yeah, that's the logistical issue. An European tour is much more manageable expense-wise. Heck, a van can do and you dont even need to rent a backline.

All before covid of course. Right now there's just nothing happening, events are still canceled daily. In six month's time - it's a bet.

or at least reduce them by getting some stuff for free in exchange for things we can offer as a band, and I am brainstorming ideas regarding who could be potentially interested in sponsoring this kind of music act.

In the US it's really though. "For free" is not really the mindset, and sponsoring from a private company is a business transaction, if you don't have much to give you'll fall on deaf ears... unless you're really a good salesman. A possible angle (we didn't really explore it) was to look at ECA grants for non-US citizens. It's a long shot, and Trump has unlikely been kind to these types of projects, but might be worth a check.

I got some ideas here and there, contacted some companies, but I need some help with more ideas as I feel like I am missing smth.

We are not a huge band yet but we are still getting a platform for some exposure. :D

A bit depends on your act. Norway is a bit of a fairy tale place from a US point of view so you could play with that, emphasizing the "esotic". Also, people are very proud of their heritage so if you find some wealthy Norwegian descendant it may be worth calling. Also - call, no emails. Most Americans value the personal approach more than in Europe in general, and absolutely more than in Norway in particular.

All in all, if you want to make music a career, it's a business - "investment" means that you can budget a positive return on the dollar, possibly with a multiplier much bigger than one, and within a certain - short - period of time. Otherwise, it's simply a bet.
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Re: Covering touring costs abroad

Postby Murray B » Fri Dec 18, 2020 9:21 pm

Hmmm....

Tricky one to advise you for this. I'm a firm believer that if the promoter is making money from a show then you shouldn't have to incur a loss from being part of it.

I'm UK based and have played across Europe numerous times and on all occasions the travel, accommodation and subsistence costs were covered by the gig promoter or we weren't playing. I haven't always made lots of money from fees on these occasions but I've never incurred a loss.

If you have an agency that has helped to secure the gig is there anything they can do to secure a better deal to cover your expenses?

Do music fans in Chile and Brazil still buy CD's and T Shirts. It's worth a bit of investigation as to whether it's worth a having a good stock of merchandise as way of recouping some of the costs. Ship them in advance or order from a local company to the tour schedule if you are doing this as taking them on a plane is an expensive way to get them to South America :-)

Money many not be the driving factor in your decision making of course. Whatever you decide I wish you luck for the future of the band.
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Re: Covering touring costs abroad

Postby Murray B » Fri Dec 18, 2020 9:29 pm

Another thought

Can you find some more paying gigs to fit in with the tour? Might mean you stay a little longer but it might also help cover the costs. Do you just do your own material or could you add a mixture of covers or a tribute act thing to make yourselves easier to book as an unknown quantity?

Even if it just keeps you in food and drink it might be worthwhile.
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Re: Covering touring costs abroad

Postby hei-hei » Fri Dec 18, 2020 9:50 pm

Hi, Murray!

Just to get a little more into the whole logic/illogic of this tour. We took it out of pure desire to play with the other band as they are s´70 legends and our band is very much inspired by the s´70 music. As we want to keep all the control of both business and creative part, we invest all we can at this point, and of course getting help with costs reduced as much as possible. The idea with finding/arranging more of the local shows at the time is great, I am definitely going to look into it. And yes, the merch will be shipped to the venues.

We are being offered more of the gigs in Europe later next year - yes. Still, before we can negotiate a little better terms for ourselves, we have to have at least some big concerts played. The band is only 2 years old. If it was any big label putting money into us, they would invest way more but take it back from us and more, keep our masters and big chunk of merch in most cases. We are not expecting big profits before the band is at least 5 years old, we just need to invest and reinvest as much as we can to build a solid fan base and CV for us being able to have headliner shows.

Honestly, getting into these kind of forums was a great experience for me as people point out some ideas I didn't think of, and I appreciate it a lot :)

Sorry, if I am not responding to it all, just trying to not get too much onto the negative part of the things or at least those that do not look too bright yet, we are working those things out :)

The agency has helped to establish/nourish a lot of big names, it takes a lot of effort to be able to build these things up independently, and it is our goal to have our own team and network around the band.
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Re: Covering touring costs abroad

Postby Murray B » Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:46 pm

Glad to have helped - sometimes the contacts you make can change everything and personal recommendations go a long way in this business, so I can totally understand the value of making connections with a very establish act.

I've been lucky enough to tour with a Grammy Award winning artist - an opportunity I never would have had if I hadn't been recommended for the gig.
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