This is a guest post by D.I.Y. artist and sometime Amanda Palmer collaborator Kim Boekbinder via CashMusic.org is about a radical re-thinking how artists book and finance tours. Boekbinder is in the final stretches of putting together a pre-sold tour, reaching her audience directly on Kickstarter. But she tells her own story best:
The problem with being an independent musician:
That whole “Be so good they can’t ignore you” thing? That’s true, you should always be that good. But today there is just SO MUCH amazing music that no one ever hears about. So you have to get the word out. And it used to be that to get the word out you had to have a publicist, manager, agent, and label to get print media and radio on your side. But now we have the internet, the answer to the independent musician’s wildest fantasies: Millions of potential fans on the constant hunt for new music and a thousand ways to share it with them. So you log on.
The problem with the internet:
Saturation. There is a seemingly infinite amount of everything. Sure we can all record our own albums and then “distribute” them ourselves via the magical internet. But now instead of crafting and presenting the album equivalent of a 5 course meal we can only slop our art down onto the endless banquet table from which the gluttonous hordes will eat for free. Slurp!
So you need to connect. And the best way to connect is to get the fuck out there and play. Play for real live people. People with brains and guts. People with hearts that thunder in response to your music. So you tour.
The problem with touring:
Touring is expensive. And until you have a solid fan base you are taking huge chances that people will show up. You worry about breaking even. All that worry eats away at your art. And when you’re on the road you don’t have time to engage your fans on the internet to remind them to actually show up at the real live event that you are doing.
So you reinvent touring:
OCTOBER 13th – San Diego, CA
OCTOBER 14th – Los Angeles, CA
OCTOBER 15th – San Francisco, CA
OCTOBER 21st – Seattle, WA
OCTOBER 22nd – Portland, OR
OCTOBER 23rd – Minneapolis, MN
OCTOBER 27th – New Orleans, LA
NOVEMBER 4th – Boston, MA
NOVEMBER 5th – Hartford, CT
NOVEMBER 12th – New York, NY
Using Kickstarter.com and my wonderfully supportive fan base I started pre-selling my shows before I book them. In a way that no one has done before. This isn’t eventful.com where people click a button but make no commitment. This isn’t another internet contest where the band with the most fans “wins.” This is one truly independent musician using the internet and the real world in combination. I need internet fans. I need real world fans. And where these two types of fans intersect is where my career is thriving. I did a successful pre-sold show in NYC and am now doing a ten date US tour. Next I’ll try the UK and Europe. There’s no stopping me. And I hope there’s no stopping you.
I believe this is a viable solution for many musicians who want to tour but struggle with the cost and the promotion. This method of touring also gives fans in unpopular touring cities a chance to bring their favorite artists around. I put up a show for Minneapolis, a place I have never played. It might not get funded. But that doesn’t matter as much as trying it does.
This is about having power, foreknowledge, and the tools to grow a sustainable career without being signed, or sponsored, or famous. Those things are all great but we can still find a way to play our music to the people who want to hear it from the very beginning.
I believe we live in a culture that has the desire and the tools to sustain artists. We’re just struggling to figure it all out.
Want to know more about my pre-sold tours, just ask the internet: BoingBoing, BBC, WarrenEllis.com, or even CNN Money.
Editor: I just gave $20 for 2 tickets to the Boston show to give to a friend and support the tour. Pick a city, donate and get involved.