Music Business: Time Management Tips while Touring

By Loren Weisman

In the music business, the hardest and trickiest aspect of touring is time management. There are enough hours in the day to get everything done. It just comes down to how you use and delegate those hours while you’re on the road. There are four places where you spend the bulk of your time on any given day:

  1. In your hotel or lodging situation (usually sleeping)

  2. On the road driving to the next town

  3. At the venue or a radio station, TV station, or marketing-related place

  4. In a restaurant, coffee shop, or convenience store

By applying the best time management and best use of each location, you can get the most done and allow for that extra time for yourself.

With the great deal of marketing that needs to be done online, invest in a phone plan and a wireless card plan for at least one or two computers. For the hours spent on the road, if one or two people can still work while you’re driving, you can save hours of precious time. It also makes it easier for you when venues don’t have a good Wi-Fi signal — or Wi-Fi at all.

Time on your side in the hotels or lodging

Keep your hotel time to a minimum and use it for rest. Bands that sleep in till the last possible hour lose daylight marketing options that help the promotion of the show that night, the next one, and the one after that.

You can still have that weekend sleep-in on the road, but adjust it between members if you’re in a band so that someone is always being effective. The more consistent marketing and promotion going on, the more results and conversions you can achieve.

On the road again time management

Having that wireless card so that work can be done on the road helps to keep you in touch while you’re on the drive. This is also a great time to make calls and do band interviews as long as you’re in a good reception area.

You can confirm arrival times for that night, research last-minute places to post or add that evening’s show, research the following night’s location — obviously, a great deal can be done on the road and while you are driving.

If you’re a solo act, bring someone along to work the tour with you. Two is better than one. It makes driving easier, getting work done easier, and having an extra person to control the merch table while you’re on stage can make all the difference. When you’re touring even as a solo act, don’t go it alone!

Sitting on the loading dock of a stage

Don’t just bring in your gear and wait your turn. Make contact with the other bands and talk to their managers. Introduce yourself to the venue staff and exchange information while you see about upcoming events where you might be able to connect again. The before and after show period can be a great networking time. Just as you’re out there during the show engaging with the audience, make sure you’re engaging with the staff and the other bands, too.

Work to arrive at the venue a few hours early to give yourself the time to do a little additional postering around the venue and connect with local music stores or media outlets at the club before you do sound check.

Avoid being the antisocial band that’s slowly dragging in their gear. Get that gear inside and after the show, get that gear packed up and out of the way so you have the most time for connecting, engaging, and networking.

Fueling up on gas, coffee, or food

Even at rest stops gas stations, or coffee shops, make the time to promote and market at least once every stop. Whether you hand a sticker to a waitress in a restaurant, put up a postcard on a bulletin board in a coffee shop, hand off a free CD to someone pumping gas next to you, or any other giveaway or marketing stunt you can pull off, make the time to make every stop, every place, and every situation an opportunity for a few more people to know about you.

Limit the partying and the really late nights. Have your fun and enjoy the road for all it’s worth, but allocate the time to allow every stop to be the most promoted, productive, and profitable.

By writing down or having a list in your phone of the tasks you want to accomplish each day, you can manage your time on the road to be as productive as possible with the time you have and the places you go.