Managing of a Music World Tour

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Managing a music world tour is a complex job. It can be challenging both mentally, and physically. Not many people think about how much work is involved in planning a successful music world tour. Planning a world tour requires a great deal of planning in respect to the finances, logistics and preparation. This is where a tour manager comes in and takes care of all of this work.

The first step to planning a successful tour is finding the right tour manager. Tour managers are responsible for managing the tour and, therefore, it is important that they have the necessary background and experience. Because “the entertainment industry is quite competitive”, “having a solid educational background significantly enhances your chances of getting hired.” Popular schools for business in music include “Berklee College of Music” “Full Sail University” and “Ferris State University”. These schools teach about concert touring, legal aspects of the music industry, music marketing, business communications, artist management, music industry entrepreneurship, audio production, and travel and tourism services management. Before reaching managerial status it is typical that a tour manager would have worked as a tour promoter helping him or her to gain industry experience.

So what does a tour manager do? Before the actual tour, the tour manager spends a typical day working in an office. “These professionals are required to confirm reservations and show times, and deal with venue managers, ticket agents and promoters. They also manage the schedules of the travel group and look after their finances. Tour managers usually perform many of the following tasks, verifying the quality and amount of equipment prior to expeditions, setting up camps, instructing travelers, selling travel packages, planning itineraries”, according to the Jobisjob article. The tour manager has a great deal of responsibility including forming the tour crew and managing them all along the tour. When taking up the job, the manager has the most responsibility out of everyone involved. Before the tour, the manager needs to make sure everyone’s paperwork is together including visas, passports, and medical forms if needed. Meeting your crew’s supply and demand is the same as the audience’s. Not having a good relationship with the people you’re touring with will end with bad energy, which the audience can pick up from the artists themselves. The crew will become sloppy, everything won’t be in place. Everyone around you including the fans will be disappointed leading an unsuccessful tour. This looks bad on the manager themself because he or she did not execute well enough. Being in the right state of mind is an underrated factor in these types of jobs. It is a mental challenge.

Where do you start? Of course the artist has to have material to perform, usually an album, and they should have a good sized fanbase. To make things easy, it’s a good idea for the manager to do research on other artists’ tours of the same genre to grab popular venue locations. For example, Shawn Mendes’ tour, he played at sixty-eight shows, some he performed two nights in one venue, in the course of seven months, and these shows were only day or two apart from each other according to Shawn Mendes Official Webpage. After the manager researches on the tour, s/he can then contact the venues via email or phone call to plan the dates, times, soundchecks, and figure out rental fees. According to Heather McDonald, some bigger known venues will require signatures for a contract under their standards.

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Once venues are all set and dates are planned, the next step is to hire tour staff. This includes, promoters, production staff, sound engineers, drivers, roadies, lighting directors, stage techs, and security. Promoters help with the advertising and marketing aspect of things. Production staff, sound engineers, lighting directors, and stage techs all come together for the process of setting up for the performances at the venues. Drivers, of course, are the transporters of the entire crew and equipment. Roadies often stick with the drivers, they do help unloading and packing the tour buses, however if anyone needs things like food and/or beverages for example, the roadies are sent out with the drivers to fetch those necessary items. Security is self explanatory, but they help with crowd control and barriers between the stage and the fans.

Accommodation is a very important factor in tours. The tour manager needs to plan reservations for hotels for the whole crew. This becomes another whole process of numerous calls to multiple hotels, which is tough if you have over twenty people. Sometimes, tour buses have enough room and support beds for the crew to sleep in. It is a cheaper and more efficient alternate, however having a lot of people cluttered in small spaces may lead to some complications that build up within the crew members themselves.

After the booking of venues, hiring staff, and sorting out accommodation, it’s time to set out advertising for the tour. The fanbase needs to know that there will even be a tour. One of the biggest ways to spread the word is to have the artist mention the tour through multiple social platforms like Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook. Here is an example of a demographic image of Instagram usage organized by age groups and gender in 2018. Because most people spend a majority of their time on social media, it makes it the perfect way to output information. This meets the standards of the artist because, the target market for the musical performances match the highest percentage age groups of the demographic image shown above. According to Kristin Baker, “In the U.S. alone, 77% of the population has a social media account of some kind” and that “91% of marketers said they noticed an increase in their brand visibility by only spending a few hours a week on social media.” With that, again the artist, their friends, the producer, and the manager may also spread the word using social media. It doesn’t take long for many people to discover this information given that the artist has a huge following fanbase which usually spreads to hundreds of thousands to millions of people worldwide.

Now that things are planned, it’s time for the actual tour. Meanwhile throughout the whole tour, members of the crew get something called a “per diem.” What is a per diem? Per diem means “per day” in latin, term mostly in financial matters. This means that each member gets a certain amount of money per day to use to sustain themselves when it comes to food, beverages, lodging and other things that a person might feel they need. Depending on location, per diems may vary in amount each person gets. Variables are usually determined by type of lodging in each city being played at due to some being more expensive than others. The manager needs to have an itinerary for each day for the whole tour. This is to organize everyone’s plans and actions. For example, say everyone needs to leave the hotel in the morning by eight o'clock to go to a certain venue and set everything up by two in the afternoon for a show at seven at night. That type of organization greatly helps running things smoothly, and makes it harder to run into complications. Finances need to also be in check and addressed during the tour. This includes gas pricing, bus rentals, equipment, agent fees, management fees, merchandise, etc. It’s a good idea to keep a binder of some sort for finances only where you can keep receipts for each day. The manager has to make sure that everyone keeps their receipts and turns them in to the manager so that he or she can keep a record of the expenses during the trip according to Liam Duncan.

As a part of marketing, merchandise is sold at concerts such as t-shirts, hats, and accessories. When it comes to world touring, eventually the crew flies out of the country to Europe, for example. A lot of the times, it will be people’s first time being in certain countries or first time even leaving the U.S. With this in mind, things need to be taken extra serious and careful, because if things start to go out of line, it’s gets hard to get back on the right path.

One of the biggest conflicts with being in a new country is language barriers so it’s a good idea have to have translators to help the manager and everyone else get through with the tour. Whether that being apps on someone’s phone or having specialized people for translating. Getting a little familiar with the languages themselves is a good idea to at least get by the tour. The manager also needs to arrange tour buses again because the individual cannot bring buses overseas, and having transportation is crucial. Throughout the tour, it becomes a very repetitive process considering the whole crew traveling from city to city within only two or three days and performing. However it can’t be constant moving around and endless labor. Everyone at some point needs break to wind down and regain energy, otherwise it starts to put a toll on people mentally and physically which isn’t healthy. Serious risks can happen during tours like over labor on your body, heat strokes, anxiety/panic attacks, etc. The entire crew needs to have a multiple days spread out over time to be able to relax for a bit and get their minds back on track. Tours in general can be very stressful for everyone so it is very important to keep mental strength and health a top priority. This is why medical forms are necessary for the tour, because of certain risks and worries that need to be taken in account. As the end of the tour comes around, the manager should have all plane flights back home for everyone and everything already planned well in advanced. After the tour, the manager still has some work to do. Usually this includes clearing receipts and confirming vendor returns. 

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