By Ohmare Washington, a Music Business Mentor, and Dir. Of Urban Music for Springboard South Music Festival.
One of the key avenues that artist utilize to generate a fanbase is Touring.
You have acts with a following that tours for more than half the year. You have acts with no following that tours with a well known act as an opener. The next option is as a underground act, that tours. Without a fanbase, do you find touring independently as a viable option? Your answer should be: POSSIBLY.
Having an answer of No, could be for those who may not be thinking about it clearly. There are various ways you can tour as an underground act with little to no fanbase. Below are my theories, as well as one theory I’ve tested myself.
1. Find a local act in the city you’re touring in. Go to sites like reverbnation, and check out the artists with the highest ranking in that city. A lot of times, those acts have a local following, and can generate a crowd. At that point, you let them headline. That way their fans will be there when you are performing, which could lead to a better turnout during your set.
2. Map your tour stops based on venues Open Mic. Go to various venues near yours, and look into which nights are open mic.
With so many venues with various nights, you could do 3-5 shows/week.
Once youve created these opportunities, make trips back to that town and network, as well as building a better business relationship. My theories are not 100% Guaranteed to work, as well as not work. All I could tell you is: Try it!