When you’re in a band, finances can be one of the last thing you want to deal with.
Tracking data can be a pain, and seem pointless… But, whether it’s finance, your experience, or another seemingly useless note tracking as much data as possible will help you boost your chances of booking shows.
How is that, you ask?
Listen now to find out what minor changes you can make in your habits to have a major advantage over many other DIY bands.
What you’ll learn:
Click here to join the discussion in our Facebook community.
To help keep Bandhive going, we sometimes use affiliate links. This means that if you buy something using one of the links below we may get a small commission. This absolutely does not affect what you pay for any of the linked items – your price will be the same whether you use our links or not. This trickle of income is what helps us keep the free content flowing!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
5 Things You Can Do To Avoid Becoming THAT Band At Shows
How You Can Use Competitive Marketing To Get Thousands Of Fans
How Your Band Could Get Paid At Shows
National Association for Campus Activities (NACA)
Welcome to Episode 11 of the Bandhive Podcast.
And here we are again with the podcast. My name is James. I am one of your co host and I have here with me the awesome Aaron Gingras of Suburban Samurai.
How's it going today, Erin? Good afternoon. What's going on today? It's been a great day, and I'm just stoked that we're about a month ahead on these podcast episodes now, which is very, very cool makes my life easy. And I just wanted to say that I really appreciate everything that you and Matt are. Other co host to Thio be a part of this podcast. Awesome. Thank you, and I'm excited to be a part of it. Yeah, at any time it's always great to have like minded people helping other artists with their musical careers.
This week we're talking about data and specifically what data points you should be tracking for every single show you play from day one. Barron. Your brain has like an encyclopedia of all the shows you've played, and I know that's mostly in an Excel spreadsheet somewhere. But can you tell me off the top of your head how Maney shows you've played? Total? I think it this point. The next show that sub Sam plays, is 143. Okay, so 1 43 this is your fifth years a band. So on average, that's a little more than 25 shows, closer to 30 shows per year.
And granted, we're just starting your fifth years a band, the anniversaries in, like March or April. So actually, that's 1 43 really over four years. So that's, you know, quite a bit higher. That's more like 35 shows year, which is really awesome for a D. I y band. I like the way that average sounds, and I sort of run through that, like, mentally quite often, because again, I really like that sounds. But I think the first year we were playing shows was 2015. Our first show is, I think I can't believe I remember this.
Yeah, right. March 27 2015. And I, I think we did 11 between March and December 31 of that year. Just totally local. And then a few. I think the first state we dipped into outside of Vermont was main eso like nine and state and to out of state. Um, on the 2016, I think we did 51 then I think 20 weeks. Yeah, that was a lot. And then you are a big jump. Not a lot for some people, but from, like, 11 toe 50. Whatever is a lot for that's 40 more shows. Yeah, and then 2017 and 2018. They were, like, mid to high thirties.
A piece. I forget which ones which. I think there was, like, 35 like, 38 or something. And then since we just wrapped up 2019, we actually just did six shows. I don't know if we'll get into that and like, another episode, but few reasons behind that. Basically, we're experiencing a bit of force down time off with road. Due to some transportation issues, we're tryingto source a new van. But then we're also taking advantage of the down time to write and record some new stuff. So we did kind of the bare minimum to keep the blood flying.
But six this year. Yeah, And if you want to hear more about that Van Gogh back to episode number three of this podcast, which was one of the first three, were released on one day. Just go to Bandhive dot rocks slash three. That is the number three not spelled out again. Bandhive dot rocks To listen to that episode where we talk about putting down old yeller. Well, that's a good name. Yeah. I can't believe you never thought of that. Especially then once when you talked about, you know, putting her down.
I was like, how How did you not know? And it was yellow. Yeah, well, exactly. That z Poor van. I wonder if it was Rabies. Rusty? Rabies? Yeah, that's the same thing. I mean, Rabies, tetanus, whatever. So enough about that today. We're talking about the data points. Like I said, we're gonna split this into a few different sections. First, we're gonna have objective data versus subjective data under objective. We're gonna talk about numbers. You should be tracking and the fact based experience and then under subjective, we're going to talk about what you experience and I want to start by stressing that the reason to track all of these things is to make more money like, Yeah, it's cool to look back and see what you've done.
But really, the number one reason is to make more money. Not that having this data itself will pay you, and it's not really data that you can sell or would even want to sell. But it will let you analyze what shows were the best for you. And ideally, over time you'll notice a pattern, and then you can say Okay, you know, whenever we had this T shirt, we sold more merch than any other night. So this T shirts really popular. What can we do to make other T shirts that are like this, but not exactly this?
And try to improve the designs we have and get more people to buy merch, even if it's not that specific shirt. Totally. When you start collecting data, it's just another tool you have in your toolbox, and it's going to help you make the step from kind of throwing everything you've got at the wall and seeing what sticks toe like, sort of being able to produce more with less. It's just yeah, way to inform yourself. And it's never ever gonna hurt. Even if all the data like everything about the data is bad, that's still super helpful because it lets you know what you should avoid or what you should do less, or what you should do more of.
Yeah, and one thing on that note is, I don't think I've talked about in the podcast before, but I want to introduce something called the 80 20 principle. And basically what that says is that 80% of your income or success, or whatever metric you want to use comes from 20% of your effort. So, for example, you could say that, you know, you tour a bunch and you play shows in bars, clubs and colleges, and you might discover that colleges pay the best out of all of those you know, you don't get a door split.
It's a flat guarantee, but overall, your average pay is much more than it is for the other shows. But they're only 20% of your shows. So what you could dio is pursue MAWR College shows go to things like NACA, which is I don't know what it stands for anymore, but they have showcases for artists regionally to play in front of a bunch of college students who are on their campus activities, boards or whatever the equivalent is at their school and try to get hired and that way, make more bookings in front of college audiences.
Make more money that way. Or you might see that you know what your merch sales at college shows air awful. And even though you get paid less at the club or bar shows, you make a lot more in merch at those shows. So it all has trade offs. But you can look at it and basically make yourself more efficient and figure out what makes the most sense for you. And you can do the 80 20 principle. It's not a trick, but you can apply the 80 20 principal too pretty much anything the way that I think about it, a little bit different.
But you know, the first thing comes to mind on. Perhaps it's not what you intended But when you said 80 20 the first thing that pops in my mind is 80% threat. 20% execute. Yeah, it s I mean, they're definitely similar ways to think about that. It's not quite what the 80 20 principal would entail, but I do like what you're saying there because it is true. There should be e not the same but disproportionate amount of prep to execution. And I mean, that's what tour managers dio 80% or more of what they do is preparing for a big tour.
And then 20% is on the tour because they'll spend extinguisher. Yeah, a tour manager will spend a year prepping for a one month tour like That's just how it goes, at least with the big levels. I mean, for smaller tours, you're probably not going to spend an entire year working 40 hours a week prepping this. But you know, like the arena level, this stuff gets planned out even more than your like, 18 months in advance. And then you're planning the next two tours after that already. I mean, Aaron, I'm sure you know the drill from having been in production for so long. Yeah.
At a certain point, whether you're aware of your team, has it or not, they sure as hell have a calendar with the whole year on it. And things change, things pop up and things go away. But, um, yeah, quite a bit of prep goes into it, um, months and months, the bare minimum. So that being said, we should probably get into this episode because I got sidetracked with the 80 20 principle and how long it takes to plan a tour and all that kind of stuff. But it is something that is very important for people to know.
So the first thing that you should track for every single show, aside from the hopefully obvious stuff like city date, venue, all that kind of stuff, which should be common sense. But, I mean, I'm gonna point it out just in case is the deal details and outcome. So obviously, that's going to include how you are paid and how much you were paid. So, for example, you know, if it was a flat guarantee or a plus deal, which is a guarantee and a split or a versus deal, which would be the greater of your guarantee or your split with promoter, which, if you don't know what a promoter split is.
I released a video a long, long time ago about how you could get paid. It shows that will be linked in the show notes. At Band I've dot rocks slash 11. That is the number 11 not spelled out band. I've dot rocks slash 11, and I will link that video there so you can learn more about how you could get paid. It shows and the different types of deal structures. So obviously, the deal is one of the things you want to track. And then, as part of that, you'd also want to track any cover charge or ticket costs that are associated with the show.
So at first, if you're just doing barge or something, there might be like a five or $10 cover charge. But as you grow, you'll start to see rising ticket prices, which is to be expected, but you might also see multiple different ticket prices. So if you're playing a club like for example, House of Blues, Boston has the G A floor and then they have a mezzanine and then they have a balcony, and each of those sections has a different cost associated with it. Now that venue holds. I want to say 2475 people.
So you're probably not gonna have to concern yourself with venues like that right now. But it is something good to be aware of in the long term. And the same way that maybe had different floor or section of the House of Blues would have a different ticket cost associated with it. If you're going on tour, you're most certainly going toe have a different, um, you know, coverage. Even if it you're just dealing with a door charge like it's probably gonna be different city to city. Oh, definitely.
People seem to be stuck on five or $10 which that's what shows have cost for, like, 10 or 15 years more, probably 20 by now. I recently found a show poster I did for a gig in high school. I was probably 15 years ago. Five bucks. Yep. And that's what shows cost now. Yeah, that's honestly insane with inflation. And I'm not trying to say that my high school band should have been charging $5 because we probably shouldn't have been, but I just wanted to bring that up. That was back when there was a dollar menu.
Yes, let's put it that way on that note. One thing you should always do when you're booking a show is ask about pay before the night of the show. Just say, Hey, can you pay us? And you know what? Even if you're willing to play a show for free, at least you've asked. And if the answer is no, they'll tell, you know, But it never hurts to ask, because the worst thing that can happen is they say no. The best thing that can happen is they say, Yeah, we can pay you like How much do you want?
Or, you know, our budget is $200 or whatever, like at least throwing the question out there and making it known that you feel confident in the show you're playing that you think you deserve to be paid. That is so important, I will say kind of. But in the more that you can bring into that conversation, the better. And that could be something as simple as you know, having already done your homework and, you know, trying to go to the venue, website, or social media, you know, looking at flyers or other advertisements for other, like, similarly build shows recently, Preferably.
And just seeing, you know, what the ticket price would be for those. And, I mean, you're not going to know what those artists were paid. You're probably not going to know. But at least you could kind of walk into that conversation. Sort of with some sort of semi educated guesses to how much the venue, Um And you may spill out charging for your show. And then you can kind of maybe walk backwards from there and say, you know, hey, is there Ah, house nuthouse. Minimum. Are you expecting to for the house to make X number of dollars?
Um, what are you comfortable with? So more informations? Never, never a bad thing. Yeah, agreed. But something else that I'm going to throw in there is that the more data you have, the better you can sell. So if, for example, you look up and say, Last time we played Rochester, New York, 200 people showed up. And of those 200 the promoter that show estimated that 80 were there to see us. You can tell the venue that your booking now in Rochester, New York, saying, Hey, can you pay us? Last time we played Rochester, we brought about 80 people out. Totally.
That's a negotiation point. That's really what that is. And chances are that since both venues air in Rochester, the to Booker's know each other and you can say, Hey, if you know so and so over at whatever venue, hit him up and he'll confirm that we brought in 80 people for you. That's not just like a tactic to use, like against the venue, either. Like, I'd caution people did not think about it that way. I actually it would benefit you, but it would also. It's also gonna benefit the venue for you to disclose.
You know, if you did well, last time you were in that city, like if it was Rochester to disclose that, And so that way they know. Oh, maybe this is the show where we kind of don't wanna, you know, hit the snooze button or we don't wanna kind of just, you know, give them the basic package. The you know, 17 year old doing the sound. Or, you know, maybe you want to pay attention to it and capitalize on it. And yeah, we could really make something of it.
Yeah, totally. And one thing to add to that is you should bring that up before you even get to payment and contracts and stuff like that. That should be in your initial pitch. Like if you don't know the person and you're doing cold outreach, just say, Hey, you know, here are our staff from last time we played Rochester. We're looking for availability on, you know, the week of June 23rd to 28th. What have you got for us? And that way they already have an expectation of what you are bringing.
So that is a rather extensive sidebar on why you should always ask about payment before you finalize any agreement for the show and something else that you should track in your data is what the merch deal waas were you allowed to sell yourself which most of the time you will be. But sometimes they're like a union issue or something, and the venue will provide their own people to sell, in which case You probably have to pay for those people to sell. Building off of that. A lot of venues will have ah, hall fee, which basically means they get a percentage off your sales and it could be just a flat fee across everything.
Or it could be, you know, for example, 15% for soft goods like merch, but only 10% for CDs and vinyl. It all depends on the venue's policy. And there have been times where I walked up to settle with a venue and, uh said, Hey, so who do I pay out one time? Literally. The guy just said, How much do you make it like, Oh, we only made 60 bucks. Don't worry about it. I was going to say I've definitely been let out of a few of those asses Well, and that's totally at the discretion of, you know, no one wants to be the bad guy.
And, ah, lot of times those hall fees are built for the band's They're going to sell, you know, 2000 or $3000 of Merchant night. And so when that venue then has a local show come through or the opening acts for a big show. The venue is not gonna gouge those bands and say, You know what? No, it's okay. Like you're not making thousands of dollars a night like whatever, but that's just part of their standard contract. Either way, it's good to note that in your data. And if somebody is super nice and lets you out of that note that as well, totally also get their name just in case, because if a week or two down the road the promoter says, Hey, by the way, you guys never told us how much you sold emerge like you didn't give us our cut, You can say, Oh, yeah, we were told that we didn't have to worry about it.
That's why we didn't do it. We're really sorry about that Next time. You know, when we asked, let us know and I would hesitate to throw anyone under the bus. But if they do pressure you and say, Hey, you owe us money. At that point, you could say, like, Hey, I'm really sorry, but so and so told us Night of we asked her to pay, and they said, Don't worry about it. Or conversely, if you have that person's name, and then you see that person's name pop up.
Next time, you know, on the advance for the next show, you're going to play there That's gonna let you know if you know you're gonna have Ah, good night or, ah, difficult night or a night somewhere in the middle to Yeah, great point. And actually, that's something else that I would track to. And this would be under a subjective experience, most likely, but just the names of the people you worked with. So that way, if you go back, odds are you're not gonna remember people at the venue you played six months ago and a string of 12 shows.
But if you have it written down and you meet someone you could just be, like in your head Oh, yeah, they were my list. Oh, hey, good to see you again. Like thanks so much for your help When we played here in July, you know, that was really awesome. Address them by name. Yeah, that's not totally dishonest, but like brownie points, and it shows that you cared enough toe like remember them for whatever they did. Yeah, and even if you don't recognize them Just having their name on that list.
Then when you go to introduce yourself and they're like, Oh, yeah, you know, I'm Mark. You could be like, Oh, Mark, did you work that show like that? Sounds really familiar. Where you here six months ago we played and they might not even remember. But if they do, you can pick. Oh, yeah. Thank you so much. Like, that's awesome. Or you could say, Oh, well, is there a different mark who worked here? Because I know there was Mark who did stand for us last time. No, You're dealing, Mark.
Oh, yes. So it was definitely you cool. Thank you. Totally. And that is another reason Thio track this data. The next big thing that you should be tracking, though, is the attendance of the shows which we already kind of hit on because we were saying you can use those numbers to get more shows. Then we're gonna come back to merch sales and inventory. Now, the reason you want to track thes two separately is because of comped items, discounts, things like that. With sales, you would track how maney items you sell at full price, and then your inventory would track your inventory going in and your inventory going out.
Ideally, your inventory going out will equal your inventory going in minus sales minus camps. But if it doesn't, you got to do some figuring out there and see where your items went. Because either, you know, the bass player gave a shirt to somebody and that was telling you, throw the bass player. It's always the bass player. Sorry, Mitch. Uh, yeah. No, it Z always the bass player. Or but I've also made the mistake of one time I had logged all my cash sales and because we were using an app for credit card sales I was going through was like, Wait, so we're missing three shirts like what happened?
And then the singer of the band pointed out, James, you're not missing any money. It's on the credit card, so that's a good point. Just one of those things to watch out for two is if you think you're missing money, check the credit card. I've check your square app or whatever app you're using, breezing right through this because merch is something that we'll probably have to do an episode on in the future, so I'm not going to spend too much time on that. Next on our list is tracking your income and expenses for each show, which is called a profit and loss statement.
That way, you can basically see what it cost you to play the show and what you are paid, including your merch income for that night Thio Play the show. This will then let you build a profit and loss statement for the entire tour so you can see what your average waas, because it's super easy to divide that by how many shows you played. And you could even just put that into Excel or Google sheets the formula for it and you can see what shows were outliers. So the shows where you lost the most money or earned the least, and the shows where you earned the most money.
That's all very helpful toe have. And honestly, I would suggest that you should have a financial tracking spreadsheet for all of these things, and I happened a have one for bands doing up to a 14 or 15 day tour. If you go to Pinnacle pro sound dot com and click on Artist Resource is you will see the ultimate D i Y tour budgeting Guide for bands or something like that. The title is really long and I can never get it straight. What order those words actually go in. But just go to Pinnacle Pro sound dot com, and you can download that guide for free.
It's a whole guy that I think it's like a 12 or 13 page e book on how to use the free included Excel spreadsheets. If you don't have excelled, don't worry about it. You could just upload them to Google Drive as well. Or Google Sheets, which is free and I'll but in and say, I know there are some people who are, uh, fans of Excel and not Google Sheets or the other way around. One thing that I've done for the last few runs, Um, I've been a hardcore junkie for Excel and not so much Google sheets, And then I've basically got the same set of for all of the data that I track from my band.
I've got a copy on Excel, but I'm sort of starting to lean towards, um while I'm on the road recording everything in Google sheets. Um, when I wake up in my, you know, bunk wherever we are, and I've got a few hours before we need to do anything, I mean, ideally, you'd be recording everything the night of, Well, it's fresh in your memory. But whether it's the night of or the morning of or the morning after Google sheets is a really great way where as long as you have service or a WiFi connection of some sort, you know, that could truly be like a living, breathing document.
So it's jumping on that I'm actually moving my stuff out of Excel over into Google Sheets. Yeah, because Excel is now on Lee available on a subscription. If you have 265 and they have gone so far as to say that if I don't get the subscription, it's going to stop working. Even though I have a lifetime license for office for Mac 2011, they are now saying, If you don't switch over, your software is going to stop working next time you update your computer. So all of my stuff I have been uploading to Google Sheets and doing it in there excel conduce, um, more complicated stuff that Google sheets can't.
But for all intents and purposes, you can use Google sheets for pretty much anything I was going to say, like there is something you know for me, sort of being slightly paranoid when I wake up in the morning like truly owning your data whereas like, you know, at the end of the day, there is that fear that if it's often a cloud somewhere, you know, But then just kind of hearing what you just said about what Microsoft is pulling with Excel. At the end of the day, you don't have it Doesn't sound like you have complete control over that either.
Yeah, and it's the thing. Like I get that they aren't going to support it anymore, and that's why the update is gonna break it. But at the same time, they sold a lifetime license for it. So that means like, hey, you should update it. You know that Z not like, you know, Windows seven, like you have the license for Windows seven and you can use it forever as long as it's compatible. They said, we're going to sell you this software. You're allowed to use it forever. Now they're saying, You're not allowed to use it anymore.
You have to upgrade. To me, that's different. If they were saying, you can still use it as long as compatible. Sure, that's fine. But if they're saying, Oh, you're not allowed to update your computer because otherwise you lose the software a little wonky. Yeah, it's something that they could dio and without getting into too much detail back in 2011. It's something that what's breaking it now eight years later, which is not that long of a time, is something that in 2011 was already common technology, and they should have been compatible with it now.
They should have been compatible with it then because it was already common technology. That's why I'm switching over to Google sheets. And on your point, you can always download a copy from Google Sheets. So for anything vital, I would absolutely do that, and I forget what format it is. I don't think it's Excel format, but it's a format that excel can open, and there's also open docks so you can use their programs. Although I don't think there is clean and speedy as Google sheets, but there are options out there.
Main thing. You have your data and, as I was saying earlier, have your data and at least three places on your computer, in the cloud and on a physical back up. So that being said, all of this financial tracking will show you your take away, which is the total earnings, both gross, which is before taxes and expenses, and net, which is after taxes and expenses. Those are two very important numbers toe have, because if you have anybody on your team who is getting a percentage, they're either going to be getting that percentage on gross or net.
Their contract absolutely needs to specify that. If it doesn't specify that whoever wrote that contract should not be writing contracts that's just know and something that is important to watch out for two is Net can have different definitions as Ken Gross. So in any kind of contract, it's important to specify what gross or net is considered as per that contract. Just so there's no gray area whatsoever. I think that's about it for numbers, though I know he breezed through that moving on, we have the fact based experience.
So what are some things, Erin that you would track? As far as the fact based experience, which means it's objective, it's not taking into account personal opinions is just This is what happened. And that's how it waas. I think it's anything outside of how much you made, how much you spent who showed up. You know what you sold the who, any of that. So that could be how the loading went. Location was load and difficult was load out difficult. I could stand from, you know, something is silly as well.
We had to bring everything up three flights of stairs and, you know, for us, that's difficult all the way. Thio, you know, we'll know the venue is in the heart of the city. Finding parking was very difficulty. We weren't able to manage to build that into our negotiation with the venue. Eso you know, therefore, there wasn't a financial cost, but it was a time suck. Um, any, you know, incidents or other noteworthy events like, you know, negative or positive interactions with staff and really just a shy away from saying how you how you felt about it.
Um, because it's more subjective, but it's really just, you know how how, the night or the day, whatever you're doing, how it unfolded, Um, and how it was affected by anything outside of what you made or who you sold it to, Where all of the other bands on time or late or early Did you arrive on time? And, you know, the venue staff took 45 minutes to get there. And so the nights running late and therefore maybe, you know, not as many people chose to stick around for your set.
Um, it could really be, you know, anything outside of a finance perspective that may have played a role in the outcome of the finance. Maybe that's that's a way to look at it for that shore of the next show. Yeah, and that's where the kind of thing like if somebody at the venue said You don't have to pay cut of your march after all, that's the kind of thing that would be under fact based experience, totally. For whatever reason, maybe it was it just did not come up in.
And all of the emails you had with the promoter or the, you know, production person before the show. But when you got there, you know, it was everything that you thought it would be and more. You know, maybe they just got a bunch of video equipment and they're willing to tape your set, you know, and and kind of let you use that, Any extras, Um, that you're able to walk away from. So definitely not just a negative, Um, and a negative thing. It could be super positive to, But anything that would inform your decision should we go there next time or not, or even something like, You know, if you're at a slightly larger club and they have nice green rooms or they have showers or they have a laundry machine like that's the kind of stuff like the amenities, that's something to write down.
And that way, you know, for next time like, Hey, if we're playing Pittsburgh, let's go there because they have a shower and a washer and dryer like dude that z living it up. That's the life. I think I'm gonna actually move, considering what you were saying, these, uh, this next one up from subjective to objective because you were talking about it was a good or bad night. And I realized that a band taking an hour and 40 minutes to load their stuff off the stage is 100% objective fact, awful like it is subjective that it made people feel awful.
But it is objective that it was not a nice thing to Dio. And this stems from a Facebook comment one of my friends made quite some time ago. I think it was like August or September, but I remember the story and his band was playing a show, and one of the earlier bands took an hour and 40 minutes to get their equipment off of the stage, which is absolutely bonkers and awful, so that would make it a bad night. But, you know, maybe the person who runs the venue or somebody else there said, Hey, you know what?
You guys look hungry like, let me make you some food and they made you an awesome home cooked pizza or pancakes or who knows what? That would be an objective, good experience. I mean, unless you hate pancakes and pizza for some reason. But if that's the case, you're probably not in a pop punk band. Yes, I do Just name on the podcast. I had Thio like How meme is an action word now? Yes, yes, it is. So yeah, And plus I mean, if you're on the road touring, it's probably because you hate your hometown so the pizza goes right with it.
That's good. Please don't start crying, you know? So, yeah, that's the kind of thing that would borderline be subjective, but it's also objective. It's like the host made us food is the objective portion of it, and the subjective portion is it was delicious. Bass player hated it because all he eats is Mac and cheese. That's I feel like I should stop ragging on bass players that za by episode. Next time we'll choose somebody else. The vocalist gotta be the vocalist because I mean way has done that for mass episode.
His intro. Episode seven Drag on the Vocalist Anyway, Matt, are awesome Podcast Go host. If you want to check out the intro slash interview we did with him. Go to Bandhive dot rocks slash seven. That is the number seven. If you spell it out, you will not get where you are looking to go so moving on. Aside from the objective side of your experience, there is the subject of side of your experience. So that would be things like the general reaction you had, which is just kind of like your gut feeling like this was fun.
This was awesome, or that venue seemed like it was, you know, on Skid Row and we didn't feel safe. And, you know, we made sure somebody stayed in the van at all times because we didn't want somebody to take your van stuff like that, you know, And that can apply to people who play the show or run the show. You know, the promoter could be friendly or sketchy or mean or like the nicest guy in the world. And that's actually also something that should be under the objective data, specifically numbers.
If the promoters, like, screws you over in some way, absolutely make note of that. And don't play there again unless there's a different promoter. And even then, you know, I would bring it up. Say, Hey, last time we played here, the promoter screwed us over. He did not pay our guarantee This time. I know you're not that promoter, but Please. Can you pay us in advance? We're not going to pay the show if you don't pay us at least 50% in advance. And for me, if I were to promoter having promoted some shows, I would be hesitant to do that, although at the big level of 50% deposit is normal.
But I would also say Okay, you know what these people are having trust issues with this venue Because of my predecessors issues. Let me see what I can dio to reassure them that I'm not that guy. But anyway, the subjective experience can also include things like your schedule. Is your schedule crazy and jam packed? Was it a terrible decision to drive from, you know, like San Antonio, too Arkansas, and then play a show? I don't even know how far that is. I don't remember. I have to find out, like eight hours or something.
Was it terrible to drive eight hours and then play a show? We'll probably because you're all gonna be exhausted and their regions where you have to drive eight hours to get to the next city. But maybe that's not the place you should be touring, right? away. If you're on the East Coast, stay on the East Coast. There's no place easier to tour than the East Coast because you literally can't drive more than an hour without hitting a city of at least like 15,000 people. And, you know, maybe I should say two hours.
But like Burlington, Vermont, down to, you know, West Lebanon, New Hampshire, where Dartmouth ISS like that's a college town that's about two hours apart. Dartmouth has probably 10,000 plus students. Burlington has UVM, which is like 20,000 students. The first case in the world three hours gets you to Boston. Oh, totally. Or 2. 5 to Montreal. You know, that's like you can go from Boston to Montreal on 5. 5 for six hours, and there are several cities in between. First, you're gonna hit Manchester, New Hampshire, and then right near there, there's Concord, New Hampshire.
Then you're gonna hit the barrier Montpellier area, which is pretty small. But I mean, we've got about 30 40,000 people in the area as a whole, and we have some venues that do decently. And then, of course, there's Burlington, which the Metro area has most of Vermont 600,000 residents. I would say like at least 200,000 people live in that general area. But it might even be more, I don't know, because Burlington Properties 40 k So the whole Metro area has to be quite a bit more when you count like South Burlington, Shelburne, Essex Just yeah, ST Albans.
Even because that's only like, 35 minutes up the road. And then you get candidate and I don't know what's there. Aside from Montreal, I think it was like farmlands. Just you? Yeah, it's like you cross the border and you drive through nothing for an hour and then you're in Montreal. That's how it goes, I will say on the schedule point and just sort of thinking about it. I ran into something cool. It sort of served as like an exercise in both, looking at a situation objectively and subjectively, just in terms of like how I felt about it, and then what actually did or didn't do for us, it was probably, I think, a year and a half ago I had been working on, like probably six or seven shows were the kind of band where you know, if I wherever I'm able Thio no days off.
You know we're out there like get our get our money's worth or, you know, get our experience is worth sort of a thing And so we were heading south, But we were, you know, sort of living in Burlington. I think we're probably starting. And you know, Albany, you know, kind of we're touring south wherever the first couple of gigs were lined up. The first I think two or three ended up going away, which was, Ah, super bummer when I've only got, like, seven shows, that's that was rough.
But we made the decision to totally day drive all the way down to Baltimore and just pick it up. That's a long try. Yeah, on dso I think that ended up so subjectively I'd say it depends on I think we would have all rated that experience differently subjectively, depending on who you ask. But then also, when you ask, like in the thick of it. Yeah, I kind of got old pretty quick, but sort of looking back on it now, you know, fuel tolls. We ran into a lot more expense with both of those things, like upfront, right at the beginning of it.
But it was neat, because that kind of I think it was the first time that we had done that heading south where we just, you know, drove for 13 hours and then, you know, had all of our shows, you know, three hours apart on DSO It was a little painful up front, subjectively, but objectively, if we were willing and able to sort of, you know, power through that, um, objectively. Once we were kind of there, it was like we were in the Northeast. Everything was, you know, three hours apart is comfortable.
Yeah, and so definitely don't be afraid, Thio, like, you know, address and and sort of think through the tour that you just wrapped up the day or the week that you get back. But, you know, maybe look back on it one or two tours, you know, down the line. And definitely I think it be worth it to continue to revisit those experiences because your opinions of them may change. That's a great point. And that is the thing about subjective opinions. They aren't always the same. Like there have been tours that I really loved.
Looking back, I'm like, Why did I enjoy that? You know, like, yeah, when I think for that, like, Baltimore example, Um, I think we ended up just kind of the four shows that we did Dio you know, they landed somewhere between, like, Baltimore. And I think we have the other ones in Virginia, like Richmond and Norfolk. And so at the moment, like, obviously, that tour didn't do quite as well as I had hoped, because they were, you know, we just didn't have as much of it. Um, But in the long run, the next time that we went back to Richmond and Norfolk, you know, we were going back to those places.
And so, in this sort of ah, weird way, um, the first one was a little painful, but that's sort of served as an investment for next time. And also, there's something to be said for the amount of leg work that would go into a tour, especially a d. I want you are planning it, and then I'm sort of backing out of it. You're moving forward in the way that we did. We were able to not put any of those relationships that we were working to build on the back burner until next time.
I think there's something to be said for, you know, sort of taking it in stride and sort of powering through it. And I'm sure half of the people who we met on that tour couldn't have given less of a crap. But you know, the few people who we, you know, we kind of met and were friendly with and, you know, telling a few stories, too, about how we get there or whatever. The people who would recognize that would recognize that and be like, Wow, you still came down here.
You know, that's awesome And chances that, you know, I don't have it in front of me. I can't tell you who we played with. But, um, I'm sure that, you know, those were the first people that I contacted Next time we went down there, Yeah, and I think that whole thing is part of the attitude of the show. Must go on. Some artists would have admitted defeat and said, Oh, well, the first three canceled. So, you know, we're just going to cancel the others ourselves. But that's not what you want to do.
You don't want to have that reputation. And I know you guys hardly ever cancel shows unless it's absolutely necessary. And other bands cancel shows left and right, and that truly does set you apart. Once people get burned, that's it. They're not gonna wanna book you again. So again and plugging it again. I'm so sorry. Go back to episode number three, which is called Something like Five Things to avoid doing. So you don't become that band. Just go to Bandhive rocks slash three. Just a quick recap to wrap things up on this episode about data points that you should track at your shows.
The reason you are tracking all of these is to help you earn more money or to spend less money. For example, if you are driving down through New York and you know the New York through A has a bunch of tolls, but you could drive down on what is it? Route 91 or whatever, the one that goes through Springfield, Massachusetts, and then Connecticut. And down that way, which has fewer tolls until you hit the bridges and then there's always tolls, but Onley in one direction on many of them.
You can kind of make a note of which routing was best for you or which routing was best for you. And that way say, Oh, you know what? You know this one is a little cheaper, but there's a lot more traffic and you know, that's a pain with the van and trailer. So you know, next time let's go that way it costs a little more stuff like that. So, yes, that will help you make more money because you're not spending as much money. But it will also in the big picture, when you have thes records of which shows you earned more, which shows you earned less where you sold more merch, things like that that is all huge, and that can also help You know how much merch you need to pre order for your tour so you don't sell out while you're on the road.
And that's one thing that we didn't even cover under the merch sales and inventory thing is, those numbers will let you look back and say, You know what? Our most popular size was small, with second most popular being medium. So we should focus on those sizes and we probably don't need as much large. And we really only need, like, three extra large and small. We don't extra small. We don't need as much either. But we really gotta focus on small and medium. So making sure you've got inventory to sell so you can record sales.
Yeah, And I bet you could tell me off the top of your head what your most popular shirt sizes. It's medium and large, medium and large. They're Ugo. And that's the kind of thing where now, you know, if your your tours, if you go back and look at those numbers medium and large, you need to have the most of those. And I would assure you that differs by genre and even within genres for different artists, that's going to be different. I mean, if you're like one direction, you're probably gonna sell mostly small and medium, and depending on where you two are, too, because if you two are outside of the States completely different Oh, yeah, But I mean, then you get into having different shirt sizes, too.
I mean, because you're probably not going to ship your shirts from the States you're gonna find like a local manufacturers have them make it. But yeah, that is a great point. Like if he's sorry us If you tour outside the US, your shirts are probably gonna be a little smaller. Anyway, that about does it for this episode of the band, I've podcast. Thanks so much for listening. If you have any questions about the data points that you should be tracking, feel free to email us support at Bandhive dot rocks or join our Facebook group to find that just go to Bandhive dot rocks slash group again that is banned hive dot rocks slash group As always.
Thanks so much for listening. We hope that you'll be back for the next episode next Tuesday at 6 a.m. Eastern. As always, keep rocking.
Find out how!