9 Steps to Choose a Tour Manager

The Famous “Tour”

Touring is one of the vital components of any music-related career. Besides having a significant artistic and intangible appeal for many artists, the live music industry also exists to establish a musical act on different cities and countries around the world, connecting with fans, growing audiences, to promote and market the music. A Tour is also an opportunity for many creatives to come together and figure out the best way to deliver great shows every night out on the road and make a living out of it.

Touring exists since way before recorded music, and it is here today stronger than ever. According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), the Live Music Industry will reach a projected $31 Billion worth by 2022, meaning that it is here to stay. So, how can anyone take a bite off of this pie?

The Tour Manager

Throughout the recent music history, all kinds of bands (big and small) have toured the world. Some have rented a van and packed their lives to perform around the country, and some others have teams of people that prepare their private jets. And, even though there is a long way between these two different life scenarios, there are some key players that live and work in both worlds to make sure the Tour, actually, happens.

“TM”

The Tour Manager (TM) is the professional that runs the show. By show, we do not mean the musical/artistic performance per se; we mean the Tour as a whole.

The Tour is not only traveling and leisure, but it is actual work needed to pay musicians, technicians, venues, promoters, agents, etc. A Tour Manager is the person that is in charge of the lives of musicians and crew while traveling, the organizational and administrative aspects of the live music industry, and the connection between the team and venues. If you like to plan trips and make sure that everyone is well-attended and all plans are running smoothly fo the group, you might as well be the right candidate for the job! 

Famous TM’s

Marty Hom
  • Barbara Streisand
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Shakira
  • Lionel Richie
  • The Eagles
Gus Brandt
  • Pennywise
  • Foo Fighters
  • Eminem
  • Pearl Jam
  • NIN
Patrick Stansfield
  • The Happenings
  • Alice Cooper

The 9 Steps

Regardless of the budget of the Tour, someone will have to be the TM. Sometimes, some bands do not have the resources to bring extra people over, so one of the band members needs to put on the TM’s hat, and some other times, there is enough budget to hire someone else to do all the work. So, how can we choose the right person? Follow these nine steps when considering candidates to make sure you pick the right one.

1. It is an actual JOB

  • This person needs to understand that running the tour is a JOB, and needs to fulfill all the following points. A lot of problems arise when “TM’s” think that all they do is hang out with the band and crew.

2. Schedule Management

  • When’s the next bus? The next flight? What time is the check-in/out? At what time is the next soundcheck? What time is the radio interview?

3. Tour Finances

  • Should the band take Uber? Bus? Train? Eat at this restaurant or save money for online promo? What about Merch?

4. Personnel Management

  • Is everyone where they are supposed to be? Do you have all the tickets for each crew member? Where did the guys go out last night? Is everyone connected and understanding of the times and deadlines?

5. Communication Skills

  • This person will constantly need to communicate with artists, crew, venues, agents, and any other industry player out there to make sure the tour is running according to plan. Better look for someone that knows how to clearly and persuasively talk to others in a great manner.

6. Problem-Solving Abilities

  • This person needs to be able to solve all kinds of problems during transportation, set-up, and come up with useful solutions!

7. Networking

  • If this person knows a lot of people along the way, that is a huge plus! But, if this person does not know people where the band is headed, it is up to this person to look out for new connections, build a network, and leave doors open for future shows and collaborations.

8. Under Pressure Logistics

  • Similar to the problem-solving point but a little more extreme. The show MUST go on, people are paying money, you are sacrificing time… This person needs to make it up regardless of the problems.

9. Mood Swings

  • When traveling and having time on the road, life happens, and everyone (even the TM) is liable to negative occurrences and feelings. Even though this person doesn’t need to be a psychologist, they have to be ready to bring emotional support to help the crew and themselves over long periods of time away from home and loved ones. Bring in someone you can trust will be there to listen.

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