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Touring costs for an indie band


RichieP_MechE

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They didn't give the tax man a mention

 

Good point.

 

I think this article is really revealing. And yet not surprising at all. There are other streams of income they aren't mentioning like the sync licenses and royalties they would have gotten from their Ad placements through the years.

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Does the band not have friends in major cities? I think they could've saved themselves serious cash by staying with friends instead of in motels.

This guy's got hoes in different area codes. He probably saves a ton on lodging.

 

 

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I did an opener a couple of years back for some national band i'd never heard of. At load in, 2 mini vans pull up and one of the band members mom and dad get out and ask where the dock is. The band was young, but not too bad. Did they make money that night? It didn't look like it to me.
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Does the band not have friends in major cities? I think they could've saved themselves serious cash by staying with friends instead of in motels.

 

Hmmm. OK, a band calls you to do a tour. The gig sounds good, the pay is enough to get you off the couch. Per Diem & hotels? "Oh, we'll just shack up with friends we know or meet on the tour. People are really generous & will feed us, no worries...". Maybe when I was 18. Maybe when I was 24. After that, not so much. But that's just me.

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I too feel like they could have cut costs in there somewhat, but it's a pretty interesting breakdown nonetheless. What really kills you on a tour like this as a mid-level indie band are the Sunday through Wednesday gigs. Just like any other event, the prime nights to get people out are Thursday (to lesser extent), Friday, and Saturday. My band has tried routing tours for a weeks at a time in the past, and it's just really tough to make it work when you're mostly relying on 2-3 dates out of the week to cover the rest. We finally just decided "what's the point of this, really?" We're in a very centrally located city, and can cover a large section of the country just by doing short Thursday through Saturday weekend runs instead of longer, continuous tours. We can easily go as far east as New York and Boston, as far north as Chicago or Detroit, as far south as Atlanta and the Southeast coast, and as far West as...well, other than St. Louis there's not much to the west. If something lucrative comes up for a weekday, we'll plan around it, but in general it has worked out great financially to just play on the weekends. You can definitely find a balance between being able to tour and not have to lose money or give up your day job.

 

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You can definitely find a balance between being able to tour and not have to lose money or give up your day job.

+1

 

Regarding mid-level indie bands playing shows, I don't think the nights (Sunday through Wednesday) are as much of a factor as people may be working those nights -- actually, Friday and Saturday even more so if they work at a restaurant/bar, which many fans of indie music do -- or they don't have the money for a ticket. I can't count how many times I've heard friends who are in their 20s or early 30s tell me, "I wanted to go to that show but I had to work."

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Does the band not have friends in major cities? I think they could've saved themselves serious cash by staying with friends instead of in motels.

 

Putting eight people all across town in different homes makes for a logistical nightmare when you have 24 shows in 23 cities in 28 days. Plus, the music can and will suffer from having to sleep on a couch for weeks on end. A hotel room, even a subpar one shared with a buddy, is a welcome respite from the rigors of the road.

 

The article is depressing. We can't expert to make money selling albums anymore unless you tour. You can't tour because there's no money in it if you want to do it the right way (which means have a talented crew and backup band). So basically, we're resigned to be local bar stars. Awesome.

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Maybe when I was 18. Maybe when I was 24. After that, not so much. But that's just me.

 

No, it´s not only just you.

That line made me laugh and I thought about sleeping bags ...

And there were times when the roadies made more money than the "stars" ... :D

 

A.C.

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The article is depressing. We can't expert to make money selling albums anymore unless you tour. You can't tour because there's no money in it if you want to do it the right way (which means have a talented crew and backup band).

 

You nailed it !

Today, all say you only make money w/ touring but the truth is it´s only halfway working for the big established acts.

 

A.C.

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Putting eight people all across town in different homes makes for a logistical nightmare when you have 24 shows in 23 cities in 28 days. Plus, the music can and will suffer from having to sleep on a couch for weeks on end. A hotel room, even a subpar one shared with a buddy, is a welcome respite from the rigors of the road.

Valid points.

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The article is depressing. We can't expert to make money selling albums anymore unless you tour. You can't tour because there's no money in it if you want to do it the right way (which means have a talented crew and backup band). So basically, we're resigned to be local bar stars. Awesome.

 

excellent post, Jim. Not optimistic for the overwhelming majority of musicians today. Factual nonetheless.

:nopity:
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They didn't give the tax man a mention....

 

Seemed like everything listed as expenses were legitimate expenses. Assuming they had the necessary documentation to substantiate these claims - these would have more than offset the revenue they claim was generated by the tour. What taxes would they have been ultimately been liable for? What am I missing?

 

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Touring hasn't been a realistic option for indie bands in many years, for many reasons.

 

That being said they are worthy and obviously should be on the road, but as a tour veteran I think they could have tightened the belt and saved a ton of money, if you're a band that hasn't made it, you have to do what it takes to tour.

 

But something tells me they're not a band too worried about the loss, they'll make it up, probably already have.

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... your IRS steals nearly half I believe.

 

Without know the details of how a band is structured (organizationally speaking ... i.e., incorporated, sole proprietor, LLC, etc.) it's impossible to say how their taxes are handled.

 

None of the groups I work with are structured such that they are a taxable entity in their own right. Revenues are split and distributed directly to band member - and reported as income on their tax returns. Band members are free to offset the income with whatever legitimate expenses they care to claim. In the end, whatever shakes out as "net income" from the band is part of each band member's total "net income" (which includes money from day gigs, investments and any other source of income they may have) - and taxed according to their personal situation. Ain't nobody I work with in a 50% tax bracket - and it's not very likely that a bunch of poor touring indie band members are either.

 

I'm not crazy about paying taxes either...but hey, it is what it is.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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The first comment at the end of the original blog reflects a lot of what I was thinking as I read it. And the emotion felt real, unlike the self-serving original. Here's a taste:

Im not writing all this because I genuinely care whether The Great Pomplamoose makes or loses money on tour . . . Im writing it because I feel an obligation as an independent musician who HASNT made it to demonstrate to people that this- this whole distasteful, whiny, throw-away article- isnt how true artists think or feel about touring, whether or not they make any money.

 

My particular annoyance here is this: We live in an era where, fairly and truly, music and art in the US are incredibly undervalued, and awful bands posting horrid articles like this one make it seem like were making a pretty decent haul and just feel that it isnt enough. Disgusting.

 

And yeah, it sucks losing over eleven grand. Know what sucks even more? The knowledge that you didnt lose it- you flushed it down the goddamn toilet and then decided that the internet needed to hear your tear-jerking tale of a band that spent too much on lights and hotel rooms.

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... your IRS steals nearly half I believe.

 

Without know the details of how a band is structured (organizationally speaking ... i.e., incorporated, sole proprietor, LLC, etc.) it's impossible to say how their taxes are handled.

 

None of the groups I work with are structured such that they are a taxable entity in their own right. Revenues are split and distributed directly to band member - and reported as income on their tax returns. Band members are free to offset the income with whatever legitimate expenses they care to claim. In the end, whatever shakes out as "net income" from the band is part of each band member's total "net income" (which includes money from day gigs, investments and any other source of income they may have) - and taxed according to their personal situation. Ain't nobody I work with in a 50% tax bracket - and it's not very likely that a bunch of poor touring indie band members are either.

 

I'm not crazy about paying taxes either...but hey, it is what it is.

 

My mistake , I was thinking big.

The average muso would pay 10% on a net income of near nothing.

 

Brett

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The first comment at the end of the original blog reflects a lot of what I was thinking as I read it. And the emotion felt real, unlike the self-serving original. Here's a taste:

Im not writing all this because I genuinely care whether The Great Pomplamoose makes or loses money on tour . . . Im writing it because I feel an obligation as an independent musician who HASNT made it to demonstrate to people that this- this whole distasteful, whiny, throw-away article- isnt how true artists think or feel about touring, whether or not they make any money.

 

My particular annoyance here is this: We live in an era where, fairly and truly, music and art in the US are incredibly undervalued, and awful bands posting horrid articles like this one make it seem like were making a pretty decent haul and just feel that it isnt enough. Disgusting.

 

And yeah, it sucks losing over eleven grand. Know what sucks even more? The knowledge that you didnt lose it- you flushed it down the goddamn toilet and then decided that the internet needed to hear your tear-jerking tale of a band that spent too much on lights and hotel rooms.

I'm glad I missed that. :rolleyes:

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The first comment at the end of the original blog reflects a lot of what I was thinking as I read it. And the emotion felt real, unlike the self-serving original. Here's a taste:

Im not writing all this because I genuinely care whether The Great Pomplamoose makes or loses money on tour . . . Im writing it because I feel an obligation as an independent musician who HASNT made it to demonstrate to people that this- this whole distasteful, whiny, throw-away article- isnt how true artists think or feel about touring, whether or not they make any money.

 

My particular annoyance here is this: We live in an era where, fairly and truly, music and art in the US are incredibly undervalued, and awful bands posting horrid articles like this one make it seem like were making a pretty decent haul and just feel that it isnt enough. Disgusting.

 

And yeah, it sucks losing over eleven grand. Know what sucks even more? The knowledge that you didnt lose it- you flushed it down the goddamn toilet and then decided that the internet needed to hear your tear-jerking tale of a band that spent too much on lights and hotel rooms.

Tear-jerking tale? That's not what I took away from it at all. Talk about sour grapes. The "true artist" :rolleyes: who wrote that response has a lot to learn. I don't even like Pomplamoose, but I can recognize they're genuine, work hard, and are still learning.

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Tear-jerking tale? That's not what I took away from it at all. Talk about sour grapes. The "true artist" :rolleyes: who wrote that response has a lot to learn. I don't even like Pomplamoose, but I can recognize they're genuine, work hard, and are still learning.

 

:2thu:

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