Sometimes as an adult, particularly a creative adult, you end up failing at a thing. My most recent "Failure" has been the tour that I am currently on, and boy, have I learned a lot.
I feel like I need to unpack exactly what I mean by the word failure in terms of my tour, because it's not a huge failure, and it's certainly not a disaster, but in terms of what you would call a "successful tour" it's a failure. At most gigs I probably won't sell much merch, I'm probably just going to break even, I probably won't grow my mailing list that much, and I'm not going to gain many "fans" who will then be "repeat attendees" at gigs. (I mean I hope I'm wrong, but with the amount of promotion I've managed to do, I'm pretty sure I won't be)
As hard as this whole thing has been, I have certainly learned a lot about the music business, my strengths and weaknesses as a booking agent, content management, what I can handle mentally and (surprisingly) what not to do after a breakup. I feel like some of these lessons are 1) very valuable for others and 2) should be written down as a reminder to myself, so I'm going to share 5 of them!
LESSON 1) If this is the first time you have toured solo NO MATTER HOW MANY BAND TOURS YOU HAVE BEEN ON keep your tour SMALL. Going into booking this tour my mindset was "I've been on the road SO MANY TIMES with Vanishing Shapes/The Button Collective I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS". Perhaps I could have managed if I wasn't booking the tour myself, but as this was a solo tour, booked by me I would have had a much less stressful time if I kept the tour to under a week and didn't go so far away from home.
LESSON 2) Whatever gigs you have 3 months out are the gigs you have. Don't spend anymore time and energy looking for other gigs, instead spend that time and energy working on promotion.
I was overly stubborn with this tour until the end of May (which was just a little over a month and a half before I left) This left me with not enough time to properly promote the tour and having expended more energy finding venues and sending emails than I needed to.
LESSON 3) (This lesson is specific to me) You are not a good booking agent, nor are you fit to be a tour manager. Spend the money, employ someone else, it's definitely worth it. (I personally have joined World and Folk Australias roster of artists. Hannah their head honcho is an absolute wizard and infinitely better at this job than I.)
LESSON 4) Have the content you are going to release on tour READY TO GO before you start booking said tour. The whole "point" I've been pushing for this tour is that I released a music video for a song I wrote called "I must go" (which you can see down the bottom of this post!) I finished the edit and uploaded it 19 hours before I left. THIS IS NOT AN OK AMOUNT OF TIME TO RELEASE A THING BEFORE TOUR UNLESS YOU ARE BEYONCE.
LESSON 5) (Again, this is also mostly applicable to me) If you have just broken up with someone don't book yourself a breakup tour. In 6 months you're probably going to want to stay home with netflix and a beer. Perhaps a cute human as well. A lot can change, and you can always start planning a new tour AFTER YOU HAVE HEALED A LITTLE.
So those are my thoughts on my most recent failures. Tour is running more smoothly than expected, partially due to some gig cancelations (which I may be not so secretly happy about) I also have a bunch of gigs I am looking forward to! I hope you enjoy the new video, and I'll be sure to write up a new post after I get back :).