Get the Best Out of Being the Opening Act On Tour in the Music Industry
Major artists usually don’t have a problem when it comes to implementing touring because they have lots of support from the venue, can demand a specific fee that has been meticulously budgeted to send the artist, the venue and the staff home happy. Often it is the opening acts that have the most issues due to lack of resources and support, ultimately spending more money to be a part of the show then they stand to make.
I’ve been to a lot of Hip-Hop concerts as a fan as well as on the business side, particularly working with new or local artists to get them an opening slot for a major artist. One consistant mistake I see new and local artists make is that they are willing to put the allure of potential fame before the realities of business. Meaning, they accept the shortest end of the stick to open for a major artist and it never seems to result in what they accepted. Often times, the major artist brings his own opening act that will come on right before the headliner and the promoter will give the opportunity to new and local artist to open up for them (this is when things start to get “janky”). If you’ve got your act together then opening for a major artist will only benefit you. But if you don’t, it will only hurt your brand. Many new and local artist are unprepared and don’t have much notoriety or support from their local fan base or the venue staff. Unprepared in the sense that they:
- have not had enough practice with their stage performance
- are preforming over a low quality mp3
- if there are vocal effects on their song they usually don’t have an engineer at the venue so the live vocal performance sounds nothing like the song being played.
- don’t get a chance to do a sound check
- don’t have dressing rooms and are usually not allowed back stage so they are forced to hang out in the crowd while they wait their turn
- their overall image does not match their brand/music
- Lastly, they usually don’t receive any promotion
The extreme unpreparedness and lack of support from venues creates a terrible experience for the artist and even the fans. There is nothing worse than waiting around to see your favorite artist when the opening acts are terrible.
In order to implement touring as part of a successful career in today’s music business you must build a meaningful relationship with your fan base, be prepared, and always consider the value.You have to have a great performance ready to amaze so that people will want to post on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram about you. Also, you have to do your best to build some value in the marketplace because if you haven’t built any value, when you get to the show you will be treated as such. Assuming that your goal is to make money. You must consider all the expenses that it will cost you to do the show and cut back as much as you can. Make it a point to be on the official flyer so you have something to promote to your fan base. And don’t just take any opening slot, the ideal situation is when the headliner has a similar demographic. This will increase your chances of gaining new fans and increase your value in the marketplace because you can help the headliner gain more fans.