Announcing a tour

Lady with megaphoneInformation comes at us from all angles all the time. So much so that a lot gets lost. If you want to fry your brain check THIS page of stats out!

The chance of seeing posts from artists in your channel feeds is low.

Love it or hate it, today most announcements come to us via social media and emails. We’re more likely to catch a glimpse of a show announcement if many people are posting and tweeting at the same time. This becomes more likely if users are commenting and tagging etc. at the same time.

It’s because of this behaviour that most artists and their teams prefer to announce their tours across all dates in one go. Everyone is chasing the big splash!

(Before we look at how this feeds into an agent’s plans, it’s worth noting that some smaller arts centres are still driven by their brochures which come out early and some tours just go on for ages, so it’s not always possible to announce all dates at once. However, these are the exception rather than the rule and they tend to be smaller yet established names who don’t box off their tour windows so rigidly. In this case, the artist may wait until all shows are on sale before announcing – we call this a soft announcement, or simply announce them one at a time.)

Anyway back to what usually happens…

So you’ve finished routing your tour and you’re keen to get the dates announced and on sale… but before that, you need to get your ducks in a row! And in this case, there are a fairly large number of ducks to align.

To make life easier for yourself you’re probably going to need three or four weeks to get things sorted…

Duck 1 Fix the on-sale date

Once the tour is signed off with management, consult with partners and fix the date that tickets will go on sale. The received opinion is that tickets go on sale on a Friday and it’s better to do that near the end of the month when most people are being paid. Just because a lot of tours follow this guidance doesn’t mean every tour should. It can get quite congested with many tours all going on sale at the same time. But do try to avoid going on sale in the summer and December.

Duck 2 Fix The pre-sale and announcement Date.

Some venues will usually insist that they go on sale two days before the announcement date. This means that announcing the whole tour will need to happen in advance of the on-sale date. Usually, we announce the tour at the same time as the pre-sale happens – we don’t feel any need to draw attention to the pre-sale, we simply say that tickets will go on sale on the on-sale date. The advantage of announcing before the on-sale is that it whips up chatter and creates a desire to buy. The disadvantage is that it takes the wind out of the sales of the on-sale day.

Duck 3 Verify the tour name

Usually, the tour will be associated with an event of some kind. Often a release or an anniversary. This will probably inform the name of the tour. Triple check this. Album release dates have a habit of slipping, they should already be in the can by now! Vinyl has a long lead time so it probably should be ordered already.

Duck 4 Check visual assets

You need the correct visual assets, check that you have these available. There’s nothing worse than a promoter using an old image with the wrong band members. You’ll also need the correct artist logo or font. If your agency makes these freely available on their website then check they are up-to-date. If you have a template for the poster – often called an admat – send that to the promoters as well. All of the artwork promoters create will need approval by management. Make sure all promoters realise this.

Duck 5 Distribute third party logos

Send promoters your agency’s logo and request that it be included discretely on artwork. Other partners such as record labels, sponsors, or bodies that award grants such as ACE, PRS, National Lottery, etc will require their logos to be used.

Duck 6 Highlight the artist’s website

The Artist’s website is their hub – from there they inform their fans, sell merch, harvest emails and link out to their socials. Wherever possible send the public there first. In particular, make sure it is the artist’s website is on tour graphics in preference to ticketing sites.

Duck 7 Produce tour poster graphic

The artist will need a graphic to cover all dates. This is usually done by someone from the artist’s team or the lead promoter. If there is a national advertising campaign it will be the promoter who is coordinating that.

Duck 8 Connect with PR

If the artist has PR then liaise with management and PR so you have the correct up-to-date bio. PR may not be employed yet, so that may get communicated later. Some PR focus on releases and others on touring, whilst others cover all bases. So make sure you understand the difference.

Duck 9 Request national advertising schedule

If the tour has national advertising agreed, communicate with the entity running the national advertising campaign, (usually the lead promoter) and request the advertising schedule. In due course, this can be shared with all the promoters on the tour. They are all contributing after all.

Duck 10 Request social advertisers

Encourage promoters and especially national advertising coordinators to spend some money on advertising around announcement day. For them to this they will need to be added to the artist’s social profile as an advertiser. All proposed adverts will need to be approved just like show graphics.

Duck 11 Collate ticket links

Request ticket links from all your promoters, they should be able to schedule them in advance before they publish them. Once collated, send these links back to artist management so they can prepare scheduled posts and get their artist’s website ready for the on-sale date.

Duck 12 Request ticket counts

Request ticket counts from promoters on a weekly basis. Many promoters and venues can automate this process. For those that produce them manually, you may not expect them to start immediately. But do express that you definitely want a count in the week following the on-sale date.

Now pull it all together

Consider the above and prepare an email for promoters that advises and requests the info the artist needs to announce their tour with as much impact as possible. Then action responses where appropriate.

And don’t forget to get a ticket count shortly after the on-sale date – this will be a great indicator of how the tour will sell.

Here’s a checklist – not all of these will apply to all tours and no doubt I’ve missed something!

  1. Fix the on-sale date
  2. Fix the pre-sale and announcement date.
  3. Verify the tour name
  4. Check visual assets
  5. Distribute third party logos
  6. Highlight the artist’s website
  7. Produce tour poster graphic
  8. Connect with PR
  9. Request national advertising schedule
  10. Request social advertisers
  11. Collate ticket links
  12. Request ticket counts
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