Routing a tour – Part 3, Getting down to it!

Desert roadRight – now it’s time to dive in and start booking your tour. The first thing to do is write a pitch-email-template. We went through this in a previous post called Pitching For A Show Spending time on this now will pay off later in the process.

Writing a pitch email

Keep the body of the email super simple include; tour period, ticket price, venue size range. Always include a link to the artist’s best video with a “call to action” to watch it. Everybody loves a good video as opposed to a boring old SoundCloud link!

Also at his point, if there is going to be a national advertising campaign, state that, so promoters can take that into account when they make their offers.

Include the line – “Please send your available dates across the whole touring period and your proposed offer.”

Even if your artist is already well know, it’s good practice to prepare a pitch email-template. Include up-to-date info, quotes, release plans etc – but put them out of the way below your signature so you keep the mail email nice and simple – just write “Further detail and links below signature” before you sign off.

Dustbowl roadApproach your ideal tour first

Now personalise the template for each promoter on your Ideal Tour and send it out. Don’t sent it to anyone else for now.

Wait for a couple of days and hopefully you will get responses. Promoters will often send avails before they send offers. When you get the avails, add columns to your routing sheet for each venue – invent a key and then add the available dates to the columns, I use an *. But you could use an A or whatever. Where there is a pencil and therefore the 2ndpencil is available, add the same key twice for example **. Leave unavailable dates blank. As you get more responses for more venues you can populate more columns.

When you get avails from the promoters, reply and thank them so the promoter knows you are engaged and considering them.

At this point you may have some avails (*’s) that are aligned with your intentions. You should be able to move these columns of avails to the left and right to work on the routing. Try to get them to follow on from each other.

In the routing sheet also add columns for show status, guarantee and the deal. (See routing sheet image below.)

Penciling dates

Write to promoters and asking them to pencil specific dates and importantly, ask them to let you know the dates are held by the venue. Once pencilled convert your key to another symbol – I use X. I also use a W for dates I wish for but don’t have yet – and I colour the X background yellow when it’s confirmed.

Some of these pencils may be second pencils – which means someone is ahead of you in the que for that date. Were I have dates held as second pencils I use XX.

After a couple of days you can call any stragglers who have not responded and pitch the tour to them on the phone.

The number of responses you get will depend on the popularity of the artist, if they are popular you may not need to write to any other promoters, but the chances are there will be gaps – if the artists is at the start of their career, there will be a lot of gaps.

Prairie roadCast your net wider

At this point you need to cast your net much wider. Send out a lot of emails to new towns, cities and promoters – whilst being careful not to approach promoters in cities where you already have strong leads.

Where the deals are versus deals after costs, you will need cost estimates from the promoters to make judgements about show potentials.

Follow up on leads to get the avails and offers you need – you may need to quote the deal you need, you may need to get on the phone to convert your leads to bookings. This is your chance to shine as a salesperson!

Start to confirm shows

Once you have clusters of pencils that make routing and financial sense, it’s time to start confirming them. It’s important to do this, so you don’t lose the pencils to other challenges. Remember you must clear each individual show with your artist or their manager before locking it down. After all – the artist is the signatory!

First challenge any second pencils

Consult your artist and advise them you want to challenge your second pencils to get the routing you want. Make sure they agree to the promoter’s offer on that date, then challenge the pencil. If you win the challenge you are obliged to confirm the date.

If you lose the challenge you may need to adjust your routing and change your pencils.

Not all venues operate 24 hour challenge policy – which can be frustrating.

Second confirm your first pencils

Next confirm your pencils to make the routing of the tour start to take shape.

When you confirm a show, make it clear that the promoter must not announce or put the show on sale, until they have permission from the artist. This will come later.

Continue this process until you have the tour complete. Hopefully your tour will look similar to the one you mapped out as your ideal tour.

Now it’s time to prepare for the tour announcement…

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