Just out of the Tour Smart Panel at SXSW As you guessed, it was mostly about tour planning and execution and the goals of same.
Panelists – Mark Atkins, drummer, label owner
Emily White – Artists, Live Nation (tour promotor cum record label)
Ed Spagh – Artist, label owner.
Here’re some of the points the panel brought up, paraphrased with panelist’s initials to indicate the source:
MA: “Have a strategy for your tour. “Don’t go to war unless your sure of the outcome” (Sun Tzu, apparently). Touring is war and a complete hell anyway, try and ensure your success with preparation. ”
MA: (more on strategy, he used a map of the US to demonstrate the 85% of the largest music markets were on the east of a line down the centre of the country and pointed out the cost of doing a tour of the “west” was much more expensive, time consuming and probably less productive than that in the east)
MA: “Don’t ever blame anyone for anything. If the label didn’t get the posters to the venue or the manager didn’t stay on the venue enough or the label messed something up – at the end of the day, it’s all YOUR responsibility”
EW: “The trouble with using a band like U2 as a tour model is that it gives you know appreciation for the small steps it takes to get to that level. Their success is inconceivable from a starting standpoint – start small with your own efforts, remain consistent in your output, and things will grow”
EW: “Don’t be an asshole. Just don’t. Humility is the #1 factor that’ll make you successful on the road and in the industry”.
MA: “Always do more, WAY MORE, than any sane person would to make your career or band a success. ”
ES: “We got into this so we wouldn’t have to work. It’s been a real eye-opener, doign 200 shows a year just to stay alive, how much work it really is”
MA: “Make cool shit. The undertones didn’t have any money for Teenage Kicks so they wrapped the records in old posters. Have more than one t-shirt, the difference being “hey would you like this shirt” and “hey, which one of these shirts are you *going* to buy?”
And the day’s non sequitr (kinda):
MA: “If you know and totally understand that you’re completely fucked, then you’re not.
If you think you are not, you are.”
EW: “Never compare yourself with other bands, or wish for their success. Yes you may be more talented, but you can only work on your own path. Concentrate on that or vanity will get the better of you”
unrelated: I’m having a hard time going to panels with all the parties going on right now.
Trying to learn, just trying to learn…