Question: Should My Label Pay Tour Support?

This advice given here is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice. The specifics your deal may be different.

Answer:In an ideal world, a record label would offer tour support to help all of their musicians. After all, touring is an important part of record promotion, so a successful tour is a win for both label and artist. Why shouldn’t labels help foot the bill?

Now, let’s talk about the real world. Major label artists usually receive tour support, but things are a little trickier for indie artists. Many indie labels simply don’t have the money to pay for putting out your record AND for your tour. It often falls to indie artists to foot the bill for their own tour.

That doesn’t mean it’s all bad for indie musicians. Indie labels may not be able to offer financial tour support, but they often provide “in-kind” support. It’s not unusual for an indie label to book a tour for an artist on their label without taking an agent fee. That means that you get to keep all of the money you make from the show instead of sharing 15% or so of it with someone else. They may also be willing to deal with you on merch to sell at the shows, like giving you more free CDs than a major label would give you, so you can sell merch and put some money in your pocket.

Whichever situation you find yourself in, tour support is something that should be discussed during contract negotiations.



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