Black Collar Workers

How To Earn $136,000 On Tour And Still Lose Money


Van and TrailerHow can a band that grosses $136,000 on a tour still lose money? No, this isn’t your typical “the industry is full of crooks” sob story. By being a bunch of idiots and spending money frivolously, that’s how.

Unsigned and signed bands of the world alike: you need to read this article RIGHT NOW and soak it in as a primer on how NOT to run your band’s business.

The article was written by a member of the indie band Pomplamoose and has sparked quite the controversy over the past day or two. On one hand you’ve got the band and their supporters being all like “Woe is me! Making it as a musician these days is SO HARD!” which, duh, is true, it is most certainly not easy. But on the other hand you’ve got anyone with a brain plus all the hard-working musicians of the world who, rightly, are appalled at the nerve this band has to justify all the things they’re spending money on then complaining about the unfairness of it all.

The band is kind enough to break down the expenses of the tour with complete transparency. You can and should read all about that here. A few highlights include:

  • $17,500+ on hotels and food. The traveling party had 6 members (4 band and 2 crew) and insisted on renting four hotel rooms every night, then had the audacity to qualify that with “Best Western level hotels, nothing fancy.” Apparently they’re too good to cram into one hotel room (or even 2!) or suck it up and sleep in the van / on floors like every other touring band at their level does. Also, regarding food, apparently whatever buy-outs the venues were offering (usually $10) weren’t good enough, because the band paid everyone in their party $20 per diems.
  • Renting a van: It’s foolhardy for an American band to rent a van. Buying one will pay for itself over renting after just a couple of tours. Also, from the looks of the photo above they rented a Sprinter which, yes, is more comfortable than your standard touring van, but is hardly a necessity.
  • Spending money unnecessarily on lights, a lighting board, road cases and backline. How does a band operating at this level not own all this stuff? Money thrown down the shitter.
  • The nerve to pay out $2,500 in “salary” per month to each of the two key members, then qualify that as an “expense” against the tour’s revenue. Literally no metal band at their level that I know of does this: any profits earned out on the road just go right back into the band to pay for van repairs, merch, food, etc., and whatever’s left over at the end gets distributed to the members. One week of salaries for four musicians and two crew members cost the band $8,794, which added up to $43,974 for the tour!
  • An $8,750 “sponsorship” from Lenovo as income. Most bands would consider such a sponsorship a godsend, yet the fact that Pomplamoose STILL can’t turn a profit even with that extra money further proves their ineptitude at managing expenses.

The list goes on. Bands, read the article here as a “How NOT to Tour” pro-tip column!

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