It's difficult enough to manage rock stars -- or those that play rock stars on TV -- so just imagine how much more difficult it's going to be when they go on a multi-city tour! Never fear, though: we're going to walk you through the basics of managing logistics during their multi-stop tour!

Tour Managers: The Basic Skill Set

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Believe it or not, we've come a long way from learning about the music industry by flying at the seat of our pants. Today's music industry professionals actually have the option of going to vocational school, a two-year school, or even a four-year school, to get a music business degree. At Athens State University in Athens, GA, three university students put together a research paper, wherein they discussed the most basic skill set that music managers needed to have in order to wrangle their hell-raising charges on a multi-stop tour. The skill set includes, but certainly isn't limited to, the following traits:

  • Good communication skills. This, of course, goes without saying, because as the music manager, you're going to need to be able to communicate with everyone from the promoter to the venue manager, and if you don't do so correctly, it will lead to disaster!
  • Budget management: You'd be surprised how quickly expenses can add up on tour, because you're not just budgeting money for your musicians' room and board. Some of the other expenses that a tour manager needs to keep track of include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: fuel, rentals (equipment, buses, trucks), and costs of rehearsals.
  • Organizational skills: finally, but certainly no less importantly, because a music manager will have a lot of responsibilities while on the tour (and they'll have the added struggle of preventing their charges from getting criminal charges!), a good music manager will have good organizational skills.

Tour Logistics: The Basics

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Now that you know what the basic responsibilities of a music tour manager are, the following is a list of some of the many tour logistics that you'll need to be responsible for:

  • Do you, as the manager, want to hire a separate tour manager to handle the responsibility? Sometimes, managers aren't in a position to go on the road for weeks -- or even months -- at a time, for whatever the reason. So, in these cases, you'll need to hire someone to handle the responsibilities that will come with being on tour.
  • Are you prepared to deal with international travel? There are many different types of restrictions that are in place for different countries (yes, even in Canada), and you need to be privy to those restrictions before you set foot in that country. As the tour manager, you will need to make sure that all of your band members' paperwork is in order -- this includes any visas, passports, and (if needed) medical forms -- and to be able to present them on demand (you can't expect them to handle it themselves, can you?)
  • Do you understand that your title means that you may have to act as a de facto "other types of things" while on the road? Tour managers have been known to have to handle a million different types of responsibilities that aren't necessarily part of their "official job title," such as publicity and marketing. This is especially true if your band is small, or independent, or still "working the circuit."
  • One of the most important things that you, as the tour manager, have to keep in mind is that this responsibility that you're taking on is going to be in effect in every city you travel to. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to keep a ledger of all the income and expenses in each city.

Post Tour Guide to Auditing

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After successful completion of a tour, your work is not over. To be successful in your career, you'll have to conduct a tour audit. Post tour auditing can be a new idea for many concert promoters, but it's one of the most important jobs that a concert promoter should devote their time to. But what exactly is a post-tour audit, and what should you cover? Here's a simple run-through of what to expect in a post-tour audit.

What is a Post-Tour Audit?

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Unlike other audits that strictly cover financial matters, a post-tour audit is also a means of identifying growth or inefficiency in your business. Essentially, a post-tour audit is an inspection of how the tour went and its components. Whether it's conducted in-house by you and your team or by an outside investigator, a post-tour audit can help you maintain a healthy business. Overall, it can help you find savings, catch mistakes, and improve your strategy for the next tour.

Important Elements to Your Post Tour Audit

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Because a post-tour audit is comprehensive, there's a lot that you can and should track after a tour. Here are 3 major elements to cover in your audit.

1.  Finances

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A financial audit covers the profits and losses from your tour, and a review of your different contracts and agreements. You should ask yourself:

  • How did you fare with your budget on tour? How does it impact your overall operation budget?
  • What expenses can be cut?
  • Where did most money go (transportation, hospitality, fees, etc.)?
  • What were unexpected costs or expenses? How should you financially prepare for it next time?
  • If hiring services (caterers, drivers, crew, etc.), how much did it cost? Was it below or above average costs for these services?
  • How much should you save for the next tour?

As part of this audit, you will also want to make sure to file and collect necessary tax forms and information for employees and contractors. This will be important when you file your own taxes for your business and when your contractors or other businesses file as well.

2. Marketing

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A marketing audit covers your ability to reach out to bands, venues, and fans. It encompasses your publicity and relationship management in the music industry. When auditing your marketing strategy, you should analyse:

  • How well did you reach your target demographic? How has that demographic changed?
  • How are you tracking engagement with bands, agents, and fans? How effective is your system?
  • What new contacts have you made? How can you improve relationships with bands, agents, contractors, venues, and organizations?
  • How did you handle publicity? Which modes of publicity did you use (online, posters, media ads, etc.)? Which were the most and least effective?

3. Productivity and Strategy

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When it comes to a tour, there are many elements that can become streamlined or efficient. An audit of your productivity and strategy would include:

  • Transportation management: how efficient were your travels? How can you improve your tour with better travel management?
  • Employment evaluation: How productive and efficient were your employees and contractors? Would you hire them again?
  • Business relationships: How were your personal relationships with the artists, the agent, venue management, crew, and more? Which relationships would you choose to maintain? Who should you follow-up with?
  • Are there any contractual agreements and changes that need to be made?
  • Overall tour evaluation: Was the tour successful? Did it meet your standards or expectations?

Conclusion

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The post-audit tour can sound overwhelming, but it can help you become a better concert promoter. By addressing and evaluating each component, you'll become better at managing your next tour. 

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