As an artist there are several avenues for you to make money off of your passion. You can sell your music and have it distributed on digital retailers along with making physical copies. You can have it placed in advertising campaigns. You can even have it licensed for usage in other forms of media. With the emergence of streaming sites and album sales dropping, a big grab for artists, indie and major, has been touring. Once you’ve built up a solid following you can begin booking shows and having your fan base come pay to see you.
You’re probably wondering how this is possible. While it’s difficult to build a fan base it’s also not an easy task to book shows and tour. Many artists spend months on the road just to make a nice chunk of change. It’s important to reach your fans and what better way to do it than by performing in their city? Social media has made it possible to find music from indie artists, become a fan, and get to see them come pack out a smaller venue in your own city. Technology has been amazing in this regard for the music industry.
New Orleans based artist Alfred Banks knows a thing or two about touring. Last year he booked several shows in Europe and had great success. This year him and Tennessee’s Marco Pave have teamed up for the “The River Kings 2 Tour”, a 17 city tour that started with Banks’ The Beautiful album release party. I spoke with Banks recently about the difficulties of booking shows as an indie, how to go about routing, and more.
“You have to prove to promoters/venue owners that you have a support system in place that will come out to your shows.”
Joe Hova: When you’re booking a show, what would you say is one of the most difficult aspects?
Alfred Banks: The main difficulty is draw. You have to prove to promoters/venue owners that you have a support system in place that will come out to your shows. Sometimes, people will give you a shot strictly off of your talent but that is super rare in today’s music climate. You have to stand out among the hundreds of emails these people may get a day. So, figuring that out could be an issue as well.
JH: For “River Kings 2 Tour” you and Marco have booked several shows in different cities. How do you figure out the routing for such a big tour like this?
AB: It’s kinda simple. Marco & I picked what city we wanted to do first & then built a tour route around that, choosing cities we had strong draws in and/or promoter relationships. Marco has several & I had several so, we just combined forces in that regard.
JH: What’s it like to tour as an indie? Performing in a new city every night with different fans coming to hear your music, what type of feeling does that give you?
AB: Performing in a new city is exciting. In our case, we have fans in other cities so, when we get to a spot where we NEVER been, its like a fresh start. Building something from the ground up every single night is exhilarating. In a sense, we’re creating a new office for our business every single night. Idk if any other job is like that.
JH: In the past I’ve heard about venues that don’t cater to hip-hop shows because of the “crowd” it brings. Did you or Marco run into any of these issues while planning and booking the “River Kings 2 Tour”?
AB: Actually, Marco & I didn’t really run into any venues or situations where rules are strict. We’ve built relationships with folks so, they already know what kinda music we’re bringing. And as for routing, we use our connections in every city we know to set up the gig. Its not easy but its not hard either you know?
There you have it, tips from artists who are actually touring right now! I wanted to thank Alfred Banks for this interview and for supporting JHMF over the years. He’s a great artist and a great person for how well he treats his audience. Check the tour dates above to see if “The River Kings 2 Tour” is coming to your city or a city near you so you can experience Alfred’s and Marco’s music live.
Purchase Marco Pave’s “Sacrifice” feat Thank Aaron: iTunes