Every year, old and new artistes release thousands of records ranging from singles, EP, LP to albums. Upon release, the next line of action is usually to engage distributors within perhaps the use of streaming platforms. Sometimes many of these artistes put out a whole record for free download. Blame it on the rising number of bloggers who are all out to gain traffic at the detriment of creatives.

Looking through available data most artistes do not generate enough income from streaming as they are either relatively known or promotion strategy employed to build fan base who are likely to buy or stream their contents is weak.  A lot of the artistes spend millions hosting concerts as well as release albums without proper plans to recoup the money spent talk less of making profit.

Truth is the music industry is as big and it requires”spending” some good money especially as a newbie. In fact, the ones referred to as established acts are not exempted from spending though it may be minimal compared to the newbies. If album sales on digital stores and physical locations is not yielding as much results as expected what are the gospel folks missing out on?

Unlike their counterparts who cross borders to build names for themselves why are the gospel folks redundant? Music is like math, the moment you go low the fans make a switch to the next available option. Studying the industry over the years I realized over 90% of Nigerian Christian artistes have ignored a major market for themselves and that is TOURING.  One can’t easily handpick nor mention the ones who have toured Nigeria principally to promote their new releases let alone Africa or other parts of the world.

Touring is important as your music itself. It will earn you more mileage and profit than regular sales of records and streaming. You hear artistes say how do I beg a church to come minister/perform.

This cracks me up always. As an artiste whether new or old you need to have a team that will represent you. From onset get professional and be ready to bear all initial cost. It’s the duty of your representative to pitch you and arrange a tour for you and the band. The team ensures that everything is in place but reverse seems to be the case in this part of the world. The artiste manages himself and does everything. Permit me to mention that there are people willing to commit themselves to your growth the question remains if you will be disciplined enough to commit back to them when you start making money. Back to the topic.

Every artiste is keen on seating at home and releasing new records over and over again without exploring other options that are available. Depending on the fund raised during an album launch event is setting yourself up for heartbreaks. After every released album or single beyond making them available online your core job begins by getting close to the fans and not just within your church circle. I need to add that many of us are obsessed with having large crowds. As much as this is good for your brand the question is have you built capacity and content to attract large crowd.

Fans want to turn up and enjoy good music if you have been giving them one and have a good stage craft to hold them bound.  The touring aspect of music promotion has overtime been ignored by both established and new comers in the music industry. Only recently the likes of Sinach and Ada started to tour and the result has been overwhelming.

While the focus of this article is to throw more light on touring and how it’s positive impact on an artiste’s music growth and income, I will not bore you with the impact made  by the artistes mentioned above. Lest I forget, Frank Edward and Mercy Chinwo have caught the virus as they have just returned from their respective tours abroad.

Touring will remain an important aspect of music growth for any artiste because you are able to reach out to more cities where your current and potential fans live. With every tour you gain new fans which are potential leads to more sales.

Every tour is an opportunity to engage with new audience, promote and drive sales of albums, interact with fans and exploring new experiences and live music.

In the recent time, larger percentage of music lovers would rather stream from  boomplay, mtn music+, cloud9 for those in Nigeria and on international stores. This means that you won’t be selling a lot of records in CD format in the coming years. I had a chat with some marketers and they complained about how their market has been affected with the emergence of digital distribution. Indeginous platforms like spiricoco and theminstrelportal failed woefully though they had the opportunity to bridge the gap and make lots of money for themselves and the artiste, that’s a talk for another day. The money you will make from touring cannot be compared to the revenue you will generate from selling CDs. Touring impacts greatly on your music on streaming platforms because of the new fans you gained.

For new artiste touring is a sure bet for you because the number of persons who will stream your songs are relatively low. So imagine someone streams one of your songs on Spotify, your profits are between $0.006 and $0.0084. the revenue you will generate will be very small because of low stream. Whereas big artiste makes millions depending also on how big they are and the kind of fanbase they have earned for themselves.  .

Putting on best designer suits and attending all the programs in the city where you reside may never bring the big break. Music requires a lot of work and attention. Having your song on all major music blogs is not a guarantee either as much as it’s good for your brand. Brands want to associate with artistes who are actively pushing and promoting themselves.  Truth is every hard work is noticed immediately by all or by a majority of people will see what you are doing even if it’s not profiting yet keep working. When you tour and it’s not a church service don’t be scared to sell tickets even if it’s just a thousand naira.  You can as well plug in to other artiste touring. Agree on a percentage if you make money but be ready to bear some personal cost. As much as ticketing gospel concert is still an issue we are gradually growing out from churches you tour most times provide reasonable honorarium and cater for basic needs to support your craft. Hey don’t tell me how is it possible when I haven’t blown which pastor will want to do all those. Have you reached out to try? It will be worth it to enlist local artistes in the cities you are touring to build a better outing and engagement. Don’t go to a city and sideline those there it’s a big trap.

Always consider the cost of touring before embarking on one. Do all that is required so you don’t go on a tour to be stranded or end up begging. Check every single cost from accommodation, feeding, number of persons you want to tour with etc. Save up for it before commencing. Have a futuristic plan of what the tour would bring in.

As a newbie, touring will mean lower profits but higher visibility with a long term goal of making profit. At this point I need to add that we must not ignore that good music is key to opening doors for every artiste. If your music is wacky please respect yourself and don’t waste people’s time. Nobody wants to pay to watch you if your music doesn’t resonate a great sound. So you have a lot to do by creating good music.

Conclusively, touring is expensive but it’s the best way to make money and directly reach out to many with your music as an artiste. This also provides you the opportunity to explore cultures and traditions of other people and showing yourself to a whole new set of people as a brand. You can start a tour around your current location before hitting other cities.

Leave me a comment if this article educated you in anyway perhaps you also have questions.

 


Written by

Unachi Sunday