Post-Covid Touring: 3 Steps to Get You Back on Track
Post-Covid touring will soon get a green light, and we couldn’t be more excited! With some of our artists already back on stage, we’ve started prepping for tours in 2022 and 2023.
As of March 2021, Ticketmaster has reported a 600% increase in traffic to its UK site. With fans craving a massive appetite for live experiences, high competition to sell tickets demands a new strategy. As Eric Fuller from Forbes puts it, “when it comes to ticket sales, forget everything you once knew.”
Here are some of the things to keep in mind when promoting a tour.
STAY RELEVANT TO YOUR FANS
Post-Covid touring will not be like pre-Covid touring, and it’s important we approach it with that in mind.
In the past, we’ve spoken about digital engagement and ways to keep and attract fans via social media platforms. Still, there’s one method that has truly supported our and our artists’ businesses in the past year: live music streaming.
During Covid, the responsibility of creating new performance spaces often fell on artists themselves. Live streaming quickly became a favourite among musicians, and with good reason: it’s adaptable, accessible, and provides a quality experience for fans.
Live streaming is the closest experience your fans will get to an actual gig. “Music fans want video content more than ever right now,” says Greg Majewski. And it’s not just your fans, but anybody scrolling for something new to watch.
Seeing an artist in a casual setting provides an insight into the artist’s personality. As Greg puts it, it’s endearing, and viewers love that.
In the lead up to your first gig after lockdown, live streaming can benefit you in several ways:
- Allows you to showcase different songs in your catalog and other parts of your artistry, like the stories behind your songs.
- Recurring live streams give you multiple opportunities to offer merch and share news announcements without seeming sales-y.
- provides a steady presence on social media and keeps you relevant
- Live streams can work in tandem with the ads you’re running on social media so that brand-new fans can connect quickly with your music on a deeper level
If you have never live-streamed, it’s never too late to start!
“Event promoters and teams really need to bring back fans if they want any of the live entertainment segments to return successfully.” – Eric Fuller
AVOIDING A MANAGER BURNOUT
When Covid first hit, and touring was no longer a viable source of income, artist managers went into overdrive “creating content, putting out unplanned releases, figuring out a way to maximise live streams and get paid for them, and most of all just remain positive, healthy and stay afloat.”
For many, this resulted in artist manager burnout, or as Bryan Lufkin puts it, “the exhaustion of choice.”
We know that managers tend to take most of the weight over their shoulders when working with artists. Some of us learn the hard way; others never get out of that cycle.
“Our job as business managers is to create a rainy-day plan,” says founding partner/president of PARR3, Mike Merriman. While the green light for live events may kickstart the need to make up for lost time, being overloaded with work is damaging to the future of your artist’s career and, in turn, yours.
Asking for help is not a sign of vulnerability; it’s a sign of strength. Being an artist manager is demanding, but it certainly doesn’t mean you have to do all the work yourself. Post-Covid touring will be a demanding task, so hiring a separate tour manager is an excellent place to start. This guarantees that the load of providing organisational, administrative, and boots-on-the-ground support for the duration of a concert tour is off your shoulders.
Asking for help and advice from other areas of the industry (promoters, assistants, engineers or even artists themselves) can give you new insight and help alleviate stress. Additionally, our friends at ArtStation Magazine recommend the following time-management tips:
- Try To Negotiate Staggered Hours
Try coming into work two hours earlier (when work is less busy and there are fewer distractions) and leaving two hours early.
- Draw Up A Daily Schedule
Plan your day before you begin work, scheduling tasks realistically.
- Identify Your Personal Time-Wasters
Use apps like RescueTime to monitor your activity and help you identify where you’re wasting time (like social media, unless, of course, it’s for work).
- Don’t Try To Multitask
Try not to do 50 things at once: Get one job done, then, while you’re waiting for feedback, jump onto the next job.
INSURANCE. INSURANCE. INSURANCE!
“Insurance is more critical than ever, and it is something we have been pushing for as a sector for many months. We welcome the roadmap, but the 2021 festival season is not guaranteed. There is still a chance of cancellations.”
Staging an event is no easy task, no matter the size. The one thing we all learned is that changes can happen overnight, so it’s an enormous risk for independent businesses to go forward without insurance.
Many festival organisers are now calling for government-approved cancellation insurance to guarantee some security if they are forced to cancel. “The sector still needs Covid-19 related cancellation insurance, which is not commercially available, in case the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown is delayed.”
Insuring events for post-Covid touring is a puzzling ordeal because underwriters can’t put a price on Covid-19 cover while we’re still amid the pandemic.
The Musicians Union advises the following: “here is no insurance that we are aware of that covers loss of income to an individual following the closure of a business from Covid-19, or any other cause. If your employer or engager is adequately insured, there is a much greater chance of you receiving payment for work that’s been cancelled due to Covid-19.”
So until there is adequate cover related to a pandemic, it’s essential to pay attention to the fine print as insurance policies differ significantly. You can also contact MU for specialist, sector-specific advice.
The concert world will open up again but in phases. Generating buzz after a creatively “dormant” period is essential, especially when fans are spoilt for choice once post-Covid touring begins and all their favourite artists are eager to perform. With that said, following restrictions, getting the right insurance policy and striving for an optimistic scenario can “open new fronts to push for changes that would make post-Covid touring more equitable and safe.”