For independent artists, dropping music then going on tour is one of the surest ways to find success on your own. Just look at guys like Chance The Rapper and Curren$y – all they do is put out music and hit the road. Self-made millionaires off free music.
That’s why we’ve said time and time again – touring is the most important thing for independent artists. But, without the pre-requisite funding to get yourself heard in the first place, how can you really expect to get a successful start in music without any kind of funding?
Going on tour can cost a lot of money. For this reason, many artists never even make it on tour – they cannot muster up the cash, and paying for your own success tends to feel a little hollow, right?
Well, thankfully, you don’t need to pay for it all by yourself. What you can do instead is turn to a tour sponsorship program. Before you continue reading, make sure you also check out our article on – How to Create a Sponsorship Proposal for Your Tour in 10 Steps.
Of course, there’s competition and you don’t just get the begging bowl out and get a big wad of cash put into your pocket. If only it was that simple.
Instead what you need to look into doing is:
- Find a sponsor who is geographically suitable. If you are in Detroit, then going to someone in New York might not make the most sense. Look for someone who is generally in the local vicinity of where you are or where you might be touring.
- It also matters on how much you think you need. Work with your team to cost a tour and then find a sponsor who can cover you. Hitting up a local night club and looking for $1m is hardly gonna get you very far, so you need to be strategic.
- Cost, cost, cost. When you go asking for money the people on the other side want to see you know what you want and why you want it. just asking for a wad of cash without any kind of costing is going to get you laughed out the door.
Turn up with a genuine business plan for making sure you can talk to the people who you want money from in a more sensible manner. They want you to present them with a plan, not just aimless hype.
Also, know what you bring to the table for them. You are offering them a chance to be seen, so targeting the companies that fit your demographic makes sense. Targeting the young and revolutionary generations? Then don’t go to a pension planning fund or a real estate agent.
Find a company that genuinely fits with the demographic of your audience so that they can feel like they are getting the opportunity to promote to large amounts of people who might care about who they are and what they represent.
Don’t just swagger in there and expect to get what you want because you asked for it, either. Be ready to negotiate and maybe give up a bit of autonomy for that extra funding.
It’s not hard – you just need to be ready to be smart about this.
Negotiate, know what you bring to the table and let the sponsor have a say. If they want some kind of presentation, that’s OK. If they want to pick the first and last act – or even the venue, if they want to – then you should let them at least have a say.
Taking sponsorship to the next level
When you get your foot in the door, you want to be able to approach these people with candor, intelligence and charisma. To approach sponsorship, we recommend that you:
- Speak with some venues in the local area – they might be able to put you in touch with the right ear.
- It’s about getting a hearing and that can take a lot of work, so asking around for an expert who will lend you a hand can be pretty important in the long-term.
- You might not have the networking contacts yet but most local venues and bars are likely to give you the help that you need.
- Look at websites in the local area, too. you should be able to find the tours of other local artists – who is giving them backing? Reckon you could get a march on them, too? Look into doing that.
- Get to know the local scene and who tends to be open to sponsorship and then you can build a little platform alongside them and hopefully get yourself a bit of extra funding in the near future.
Also, be sure to consider the source of the money. If you are supposed to be representing some kind of anti-capitalist hip hop for example, then getting yourself sponsored by some big-name firm is gonna look cheap and really ruin your look and your moral approach.
What you should do instead is look to find someone who genuinely fits the sound that you play to: it might mean a small set of funding but a better set of morals and reputation gain.
Living up to expectations
Now, when you get that sponsorship money, you need to show those who invested in you what they can get for their money. They have backed you, so now it’s time to perform – and perform well.
This means ensuring that you give them all the information that they need. If they ask you for a status update, provide it as soon as possible. Don’t mess around with this kind of stuff: you are being paid a fair chunk of cash to at least give them information.
Also, stay on top of the full planning process. Give them details of where you are at as often as they can. A quiet artist is one that they might get worried is doing a runner with the money, so give them as much detail as you can on that front.
Lastly, stay within the rules. They might ask you to watch who you work with otherwise for the duration, or bar other kinds of marketing. Build a cohesive plan that suits all parties and then do everything in your power to stick to that agreement.