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Artists 101

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How do I plan a tour?

Planning a tour often starts with your hometown. You want to go where your fans are, so begin by checking out your streaming analytics and see where exactly people are streaming your music. Make sure you have enough material released to perform a full set, too. And there’s no shame in being an opener for someone when you’re first building your career out.

“With artists, you wanna start with your hometown. Let’s say another artist is selling out a venue of 300, 400 people: reach out to their management and say, ‘I’m an artist in such-and-such city, here are my credentials, and I can sell at least 100 tickets.’ You wanna sell your city out first, then listen to the analytics.”

—Ryan Hobbs, Pandora

“Booking a tour requires time and dedication, but definitely can be done without an agent. First, determine why you are touring, as that will aid in both your pitching and your marketing efforts. Second, isolate a period of time and a geographic location for your tour that aligns with the reasons for touring you decided on. Third, research and approach promoters in marketplaces that make sense according to your draw and genre. Hopefully you’ll be able to get a couple of offers that you can use as anchor dates. When you have them, use them to help market the remaining dates on your tour to any promoters who weren’t as receptive the first time around: they are proof that your tour is happening and may sway them.”

—Mark Tavern, Music Industry Educator

“Look at all the analytics on all the DSPs and ask, ‘What are the top cities?’ You definitely wanna have something to perform, whether it’s an album or [another project]. Don’t go out there if you only have a few songs. Always tie the tour into a project or a big moment. Artists should always be going on tour, and for the first few times, you should be on the bill—be an opener! All big artists were openers.”

—Samuel Cohen, Director of Artist Marketing, TenThousand Projects