Shovels & Rope (via High Road Touring)
Michael Corcoran is the CEO of musicSUBMIT.com, an internet promotion and publicity firm for musicians.
This article originally appeared on the musicSUBMIT blog.
This past April, CD Baby's DIY Musician blog published a guest post by Jason Schellhardt on whether traditional tours still make sense for independent artists. The article states that booking cross-country tours no longer makes sense for newer independent artists. Mr. Schellhardt suggests that since the advent of the internet, touring is no longer the best way to build a fanbase – you can get more fans via social networking. If you do tour, he writes, you should go where your fans are by using “geo-specific data” gathered from social media. He ends with the disclaimer that “every band is different, and what works for some may not work for others.”
From the article, a new band might think that there’s no reason to hit the road and spend a bunch of money just to play in front of half-empty clubs in small towns, since no one develops a fanbase that way anymore. While this idea is mostly true, it ignores the most important reason for new bands to tour in the first place: to get the real-life experience of touring, performing and being a band. Bands shouldn’t tour with the purpose of gaining a fanbase, so much as to develop the vital skills that you just can’t get from banging away on your iPhone for new Twitter followers and Facebook likes.
For new bands, here are the real benefits of touring, regardless of the fanbase you may or may not build up on the road: