It’s been repeated so often it’s almost a music industry cliche at this point – with the death of recorded music sales, touring is now the only way that a musician can make any money.

Independent artists, arena giants, and their labels alike have doubled down on touring, spending more time than ever on the road, much to the delight of music fans.

But as always, there’s a right way to go about things and a disastrous way to go about them, and it’s important to know the difference when your reputation and your livelihood is on the line.

To get the skinny on the right way to tour, we spoke to our resident touring expert, Ruby Boots, a bona fide road warrior who’s embarked on countless tours and has plenty of wisdom to share. Catch her on the road this coming March (tour dates below)

Before You Head Out On Tour

In my opinion I think you mostly need a reason to tour once you are heading out of your own state and playing ticketed shows, by that I mean releasing a an album or a great song that people love, but there are different approaches to touring.

I think it’s important for emerging bands to get out on the road and tour regionally into different areas to experience it and feel how great it feels when things start to get really tight and free on stage, it’s a different feeling emotionally when you have been playing together for consecutive shows and quite often that feeling is what keeps me going at times.

The way I’ve looked at how my career would develop over the years is to get in front of people, pray that they will laugh at my bad jokes and hope that some of them in the room fall in love with the songs, and there is only one way to do that, and that’s by playing live so I do it as much as I can but there is always a method behind my madness.

The Planning Process

I am always thinking between nine and twelve months ahead sometimes longer with international shows when it comes to my tours.

[include_post id=”459675″]A lot of bands don’t have a full team behind them with an agent and manager shaping these elements of an artists career and for a long time I didn’t either, and even now I’m still self managed, so I have had to learn how to be a business woman as well as an artist at the same time.

I have a great team around me now who are a huge support, but I still find I have to be a master juggler, promoting shows around the country whilst performing and touring is no easy feat, and one thing I have ALWAYS stood by is if something doesn’t have a plan behind it, don’t move forward and do it, that and don’t rush things, its not worth the heart ache, unless The Stones invite you on tour next week, then the plan is to go on tour with The Rolling Stones in seven sleeps and counting.

How Much Money Should You Save?

Well that depends on how you tour, the financial side of touring is probably the most stressful and most boring part of it. It makes me wonder sometimes how the notion of the decline of income via record sales has switched over to live performances being the main source of income for a band, maybe if you are selling out The Enmore, but if you are an emerging artist the reality is touring can be super expensive and being from WA that expense can spike up fairly fast.

It’s hard to put a price on it, but I’ve always thought I would need to do multiple national tours before I started breaking even, and I did, and now, well I am a gun at the shoestring budget whilst still making sure everyone on tour with me is well looked after.

I was right though, I had to lose a shit ton of money before things started to feel like I wasn’t missing out on putting down half a house deposit every time I hit the road and I still have to be flexible about how many people I can put on stage with me for certain shows, sometimes its just not viable to do full band shows. It’s just as well I have no real desire to buy a house and the road is essentially my home and some great musicians by my side who want to see me succeed and support me best they an, because feeling can that can get pretty old quite quickly otherwise!

Best Places To Tour In Australia

Everywhere! I look up to bands like John Butler and The Waifs, their model has always appealed to me, playing live as much as you can. I think that is also why the American market appeals to me so much because the volume of shows that you can play is far greater on a regular and consistent level.

The other part to this answer is one of the biggest perks of touring is the traveling aspect, it’s a huge bonus and sometimes playing in smaller town can be the best way to see our fine country.

Best Tips For Saving Money on The Road

Sleep on couches if you have to, don’t get smashed every night if you can avoid it rather focus on putting on an awesome show and be kind to people because people want to help you and feeling that kindness from people you meet is one of the most rewarding parts of touring when you are starting out and doing it tight.

When a stranger offers you a helping hand, that’s the kind of thing that could make or break how you are feeling at that moment of the tour.

Ruby Boots Tour Dates

Thu 10 Mar, Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC
Thu 17 Mar, The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Fri 18 Mar, Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Sat 19 Mar, The Milk Factory Brisbane, QLD

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