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Terre Haute Federation of Musicians
The Business of Music 5

ON THE ROAD

            Taking the band on the road takes some serious thought. It also takes sacrifice and money, and could spell the end of the band. You could end up hundreds or thousands of miles away from home stranded, not knowing where your next gig is coming from. You need to control expenses, file your contracts to make sure you get paid, know theres work coming in and have long-term goals in mind. Ask yourself these questions before hitting the road:

1)      Have you exhausted all the possibilities of performing in your area? Have you saturated your own market? If the work is coming in regularly and youre able to sleep in your own bed, I would seriously re-think going out on the road.

2)      What is your goal? Is your goal to get more exposure, sell more CDs, break into the big-time? This is not a time to shoot from the hip. In fact, with A & R people cris-crossing the country all the time, youd be better noticed staying-put, building a following in your home region so that anyone coming through the area looking for professional musicians will hear your name first and foremost.

3)      Do you have reliable transportation? Do you need a truck?

4)      Is everyone in the band committed to this? Ready to quit their day jobs?

5)      Do you have the best-possible press kits, demos, website, and mailing list? If you want people in the music business to take you seriously a professional image is a must. You wont make it with a cassette and a box of business cards.

6)      Will your gear take the abuse of the road? Do you have cases to protect them? Do you have enough back-up equipment when things break down?

7)      Do you have great networking skills? This is basic business 101. Being on the road is as much about who you know as it is who knows you.

8)      Is there enough demand for touring bands to keep you going? Are you mainstream enough to keep working?

9)      ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH? If youre taking it on the road your chops better be there.  Your band better be tight. You MUST look good, sound good, be professional, and have TONS of business savvy.

There are a lot of places for you to play, but you have to be wired for it. You must be prepared or it will devour even the very best musicians.