Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The real costs of touring

Jack Conte from Pomplamoose’s post on the economics of an US tour should be recommended reading for all bands

Pomplamoose's Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn

Tue, Nov 25, 2014, 14:15


Once in a while, you come across a band who’re happy to tell the real story of what it’s like to be in a touring act in 2014. This post from Jack Conte about a recent US tour by Pomplamoose, the band featuring Conte and Nataly Dawn, is a case in point.

Conte outlines the ins and outs, the income and expenditure, which a band on that particular rung of the touring ladder will encounter. It’s a post which any aspiring touring band should take note of because Conte breaks it all down, from the commissions earned by the band’s agent to the money they get from brands which ensures that the show goes on.

The best thing about Conte’s post is that, unlike many such occasions when musicians talk about money, there is no bitterness or bile to be had. He’s just putting it all down in facts and figures for other acts to see and realise what it takes to make a tour stack up. Yes, the tour made a loss, but Conte sees this as “an investment in future tours” rather than “a sob story”.

“The point of publishing all the scary stats is not to dissuade people from being professional musicians”, says Conte. “It’s simply an attempt to shine light on a new paradigm for professional artistry. We’re entering a new era in history: the space between “starving artist” and “rich and famous” is beginning to collapse. YouTube has signed up over a million partners (people who agree to run ads over their videos to make money from their content). The “creative class” is no longer emerging: it’s here, now.

“We, the creative class, are finding ways to make a living making music, drawing webcomics, writing articles, coding games, recording podcasts. Most people don’t know our names or faces. We are not on magazine covers at the grocery store. We are not rich, and we are not famous. We have not “made it.” We’re making it.”

(Hat tip to Shane Culloty for the link)