Archive for the ‘Touring’ Category


Is it possible to be successful in music if you don’t tour?

June 10, 2016


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A lot has changed in the music business over the past decade.

Year ago, an artist could write a couple amazing songs. Demo them. Get a manager. Get a record deal. Go into the studio. Record an album. Release singles to radio. Become a huge star and tour the world.

But this is 2016.

Things are different.


From what everyone tells me, fans don’t buy CDs at shows. (Does anyone even press CDs anymore?)

If you’re lucky, a fan will buy your album on iTunes. Or at least a single.

So it begs the question – with album sales dying…and digital sales not making up the difference…can you make money if you don’t tour?


I admit…it’s a loaded question.

But the answer is – yes and no.

I think the #1 way to make money as an artist these days it to play live. After all, fans can’t steal your live show.

Sure, there’s YouTube. And Vine. And Snapchat videos. But nothing beats the experience of seeing an artist live. Raw. In the flesh. Being in the same room and hearing that voice. That amazing voice that you better have these days if you want to become successful.

You can sell merchandise at shows…if you make some cool t-shirts or art or necklaces or whatever other creative merchandise ideas you have.

You can pitch and license your music to film/tv. Maybe get lucky and get a song in a major TV commercial or movie trailer. But that world is more competitive these days than getting to the NBA playoffs.

So, what’s an artist or band to do?





Sure, you need a social media following.

You need followers on Youtube and Twitter and Snapchat and Vine and Facebook likes.

But without killing it live, in your home town, and then other towns, you really aren’t going to make any money or gain fans.

And sure, you can focus on songwriting, producing and recording and write and produce songs and records for other artists.

But is that the same as getting up on stage, singing your own songs and having hundreds (or thousands) of people singing along?

I don’t think so.



Note: If you need help promoting your music via PR or if you need help placing your songs in film/tv, hire us! It’s a relationship business – and with 15+ years of film/tv relationships, we’re really your best bet for getting your music heard by the right people!

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent PR ~ True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

~Artist Management~Music Licensing~Music Publicity

“Anything worthwhile in life requires time, patience, and persistence.”
–Cheryl Richardson


Is Your Set List Like This?

March 4, 2015


Got any to add?

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent PR ~ True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

~Artist Management~Music Licensing~Music Publicity

“Anything worthwhile in life requires time, patience, and persistence.”
–Cheryl Richardson


Do you tour or play out? Then you need to read this….

April 21, 2014

Do you tour or play out?

What do you think about this article? 

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

~Artist Management~Music Licensing~Music Publicity

“Anything worthwhile in life requires time, patience, and persistence.”
–Cheryl Richardson


Some Tips For Making Your Live Show Amazing

August 8, 2013
I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of live concerts during my life.Perhaps I’ve even come to one of your shows?

I’ve seen hundreds of superstar artists from The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay and Muse and Madonna to Arcade Fire and Pitbull and Ke$ha and Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera and Beck and gosh, just way too many to mention.

Of course, I’ve seen many “mid-level” artists at 5,000-7,500 seat venues.

But I’ve also seen hundreds and hundreds of independent, unsigned bands and artists play at small clubs in and around Los Angeles.

Here are just a few helpful tips from what I’ve learned over the years:

1)  One of the best things you can do as a live act is to ENTERTAIN your crowd. In fact, as a performing artist, that’s pretty much your ONLY job and reason for being up on stage. Remember, even your friends and family and significant other drove through traffic and probably paid to park their car AND gave up a slew of other options for their evening to see you perform. Your fans may love you on YouTube or record (mp3?) but when they come to see you perform, they want a SHOW. So, entertain them!

I know, you’re an artist, and you’re obsessed with chord changes and making sure you don’t hit a wrong note or key or God forbid, break a string on stage. And you think your fans care about your songs as much as you do. But, until you’re Coldplay, they don’t. So focus on the crowd and don’t get in your head too much about the sound and such. Trust me. We hardly notice any technical issues unless there is major feedback or something.

2)  LOOK into the crowd! That’s right. Nothing is going to keep people’s eyes on you more than a lead singer (and band members) that are looking at them. Of course, don’t stare or be creepy. One tip is to look at the top’s of people’s heads.  It will look like you are looking at them but will be far less distracting!

Have you ever been to a show where the lead singer didn’t look at the crowd? I bet that got boring pretty quickly. Besides, that whole shoegazing band thing is out…and I’ve yet to see a huge band perform that wasn’t looking DIRECTLY into the audience and fan’s faces directly!

3)  A key to being entertaining on stage is to be ENERGETIC. I can’t tell you how many artists I’ve seen perform who just stand there with their guitar (or sit behind their keyboard) and just sing their songs without any real energy.

If we come to see you perform, we want a SHOW! We’re not sitting at home watching TV! If we come all the way out to see you perform tonight, you better BRING IT on stage.

Now maybe you can’t run around the stage but you have to just exude energy.  Move around if you can. Dance if you can. Just move around! I can’t tell you how boring it is to see an unknown act perform at a club and just have every single band member just stand there behind their instrument. And don’t get me started on band members who just look at the floor or at their instrument instead of looking into the crowd!

If you need some examples, check out my favorite band of all time, Keane. Watch this live video – . See how much energy the keyboard player has! He’s literally bouncing up and down WHILE HE’S PLAYING! Watch the lead singer, Tom, as he sings — he’s got his hands in the air and even when he’s not running around on stage, he has his feet tapping and moving. Sure, he doesn’t have a guitar in front of him – but maybe that’s the key to making some songs different — put down the guitar or come out from behind your keyboard or guitar and just sing — and do it with some ENERGY!  Watch that video! You’ll see that even the drummer, Richard, is bouncing around as he plays up there.

After all, you wouldn’t go to a spinning class or dance class if the instructor just stood there, talking, with no energy, right? You want someone in front of a group of people to LEAD you and be INSPIRING! So, do the same for your fans! You are the instructor AND the artist and they will dance if you dance. They will move if you move. Watch the crowd the next time you’re up on stage. Their energy will match yours. You want a better crowd? Put on an AMAZING live show full of energy and fun and see what happens!

4)  Make your stage outfits INTERESTING. Don’t let the band just wear “whatever” to the show. I’ve had lead singers instruct the other players to wear all black or white. At least do something so you look like you’re one unit, not 4-5 girls and guys who just threw on whatever they felt like 5 minutes before leaving the house.

But, you’ll say, “ABC band just wears a t-shirt and jeans on stage” and sure, many do.  But keep in mind, those artists are already HUGELY successful so people are coming to their shows to hear HIT SONGS they’ve heard on the radio for YEARS.  Until you have a roster of top 40 hits, you’ll need to do something more interesting on stage than wear what you wore to work earlier in the day – or just a boring t-shirt you found in your closet the night before.

Are you a 70s rock band with a 70s fashion style? Great!  Are you goth or 80s or what?


A bad image is better than a “blah” image or no image at all!

5)  Do a COVER SONG.  Come on.  Even superstar acts who have sold MILLIONS of albums do cover songs.  Here’s just one example of Sara Bareilles covering Beyonce –

Throw one in towards the end of your set.  Trust me.  People will like a new arrangement of a current (or old) hit.  Just make sure it’s a song your target audience will know!  I once managed a band who decided to open (bad idea) with a U2 cover song at music festival in front of 10,000 people.  Problem was, most of the crowd was so young, they had no idea who U2 was or what song they were singing!  Do something current or REALLY well known and you’re sure to leave them wanting more!

6)  ENGAGE your fans.  Get them to sing along with that cover song.  Or one of your own!  (Hey, at least let them sing the chorus).  Trust me, if you can get ME to sing at one of your shows, you’ve done a good job.  The audience is likely getting a bit bored towards the end of anyone’s set so leave them with a GREAT feeling from singing along or asking them questions during the show.  Even using, “How’s everyone doing tonight?” is better than just singing song after song.

7)  TALK between songs. Ya know, to make sure we haven’t fallen asleep or aren’t tempted to check our phones for messages or new Facebook posts.

Don’t talk  between every song though.

Write out some funny jokes or funny stories. Practice them in front of your friends or family (or strangers) to make sure they are good – and make sure they are honestly reacting!

Most successful touring artists use the same stories over and over – just like comedians because they know what will make a crowd laugh from past experience. If you want to do well touring, make sure you are entertaining BETWEEN songs as well as DURING the songs!

8)  Before your last song and before you get off stage, be sure to tell everyone you’ll be at the merch booth right after the set to sell CDs and shirts and mention that you’ll sign autographs! Not only will this dramatically increase your merch sales, it will also bring goodwill to you as fans will tell their friends not only how great the show was but also how NICE you were to them after the show. And yes, be sure you are NICER than Mother Teresa. No one likes a snobby or rude artist.  NO ONE!

9)  I know what you singer/songwriters are going to say. You’re going to say that you can’t dance or move around on stage because you’re singing sad songs and your show and music isn’t about a performance. Well, just keep in mind, that’s fine. But that’s also why you don’t see many singer/songwriters playing large venues like Staples Center or Madison Square Garden. Katy Perry went from gigs at Hotel Cafe to wearing outlandish outfits and singing pop songs. I grew up on Tori Amos and she just played piano – but she was a crazy bird and told silly and funny stories between songs and she, like Regina Spektor here – was just so gorgeous and captivating to watch that she didn’t need much else. But these gals are the exception to the rule.

10) Oh, one more thing. Be sure you warm up your voice before your show.

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Did you like this email?  Write back and let us know!

Thanks and until next time!


Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. #320
Beverly Hills, CA  90210

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True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. #320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 – Read my music blog for advice on making it in the music business

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There are two ways to “break” as an artist

January 12, 2012

1) Tour


2) Tour

The only real exceptions to this rule are:

1) “radio” bands

2) pop stars who break through success on a TV show or movie first (think Disney kids).

Now, before you start getting your guitar strings all in a tizzy, hear me out. Yes, there are ALWAYS exceptions to the rule.

But, generally speaking, if you don’t tour, how do you expect to develop a following?

And if you don’t develop a following, how do you expect to make a LIVING from your music?

Touring. Touring. Touring.

“Why is touring so important?” you ask.

Good question.

Many reasons:

1) Touring is the only real way bands develop a fan base. 

Sure, back in the day, there was radio and videos on MTV and now we have all the social media outlets like Facebook YouTube and such, but being in a room, in person, in front of people, singing your songs and playing your music is still the best and only way to develop a true and loyal fan base. As great as social media is, we are still human beings and nothing beats a live concert and meeting the artist afterward.

After all, would you rather get an email from your favorite band or singer? 

Or get to meet them after their show? 


Sure, you may even be clever enough to create a YouTube video that gets a million or more hits. But YouTube videos are here today, gone tomorrow.

If you play a show, even if only 10 people are in the room, and you have a nice chat with them after the show, and they like your music, I guarantee they will tell their friends not only how GREAT a band you are, but also how NICE and COOL you were to them after the show. So, when you go back to that town or city, you should have MORE people there the next time. Sometimes you have to start small to get big. 10 now, 20 later. 40 down the road. Then 80. Then 100. Then 200. Then 1,000. You get the idea….fan bases can develop exponentially over time. But it takes TIME. So if you don’t start today, you’re never going to get there.

2) If you don’t tour, how do you expect to ever get signed?

Say you want a record deal. Or just someone to “invest” in your music (that isn’t a parent or family member). Say you give me a CD and I send it to one of my label or “investor” contacts — and they LIKE it. Well, the very next question they are going to ask me is, “How’s the live show?” So, if you don’t tour, there is no “live show” and no fan base. A label’s level of interest goes from HERE….to well, here…because labels know what all of us in the industry know – TOURING BUILDS A FAN BASE. It is an ESSENTIAL part of your career and key to your success.

3) When you play live, you get to meet with and network with other artists and bands. 

And guess what the #1 way an artist gets an opening slot on a tour is? Yup, that’s right. Their friends. That’s why Taylor Swift takes Kellie Pickler out on tour with her instead of a million other artists: because they are friends.

4) If you don’t play live, you’re probably not getting a performance on a TV show.

I was just talking to one of my contacts who works as a booker on a major TV show. He said, “Do you think I’m going to send a camera crew of SEVEN out to film an artist who isn’t AMAZING live?” Of course not.

You may not need a huge fan base to get on a talk show, but if you aren’t playing a show in the next few weeks, how is the booker even going to come see you live to evaluate your show for its TV potential?

5) The only way to get “better” live is to play out often and tour.

How do you get better at something? Practice, practice, practice!

For years I managed a band that had incredible success in the music placement area (thanks to some well produced songs and an amazing promoter in yours truly). And we had tons of label interest. However, whenever we would showcase for the labels, which we did time and time again, after the show it was crickets, crickets, crickets. Our lawyer said, “I think the band isn’t getting signed because of the live show.” They sounded fine live. But there was no energy. The lead singer had no charisma up on stage. No spark. The band played out but they never even went on a real tour. They just played locally and in Los Angeles a few times. So the live show was just “ok” and “ok” isn’t enough to get signed. And A&R guys and labels and even a savvy investor knows that the #1 way to break a band is ON THE ROAD. So, if you want to get better live, play out often and go on tour!

6) Touring is part of your “job” as an artist.

Yup, you heard me. You don’t want to be like Steely Dan, do you? It’s SO hard to get attention these days, so if you don’t tour, you’re cutting out a HUGE way you can get noticed. After all, I’m sure you’ve all had friends tell you, “Dude (dudette?), you HAVE to see this band play live. They are AMAAAAAZING!”


You want to be that band.

If you’re an artist who is not playing out and not touring, well, that’s like a painter that says they only use 1/2 of the colors. Or a chef that only knows how to make a few dishes. Sure, you can do it, but it won’t be much of a painting…and you won’t be much of a chef and it certainly won’t be a very good restaurant if you only make one or two items. Sure, you’re still an “artist” if you don’t play shows. But maybe you’re really just a “songwriter” and not a “performing artist.” Do you want to be Diane Warren? Or U2? Each have made millions. But who do you think has made more?

7) You want to get signed? What do you think happens after you make your record?

You tour!

I know we talked about that earlier but it comes up a lot.

Artists say to me all the time, “Oh, but I’ll tour IF I get signed to a label” or “I’ll tour WHEN I get signed.”

Here’s the rub.

Labels don’t want to hear that.

In fact, I bet most labels would laugh if they heard an artist say that.

They don’t care.

Put yourself in their shoes.

You can choose to sign any artist in the world that is unsigned.

Pool #1 has 1,000 artists who want to get signed who are touring, have developed a fan base and are working their butts off.

Pool #2 has 1,000 artists that have either 1) never toured or 2) only played a handful of dates here and there.

Now, put yourself in the shoes of the A&R guys and President of the label.

Why would you even LOOK at artists in Pool #2 when there are already TONS of amazing artists in Pool #1?


What happens after you sign to a label and make an album?

The label puts you out on the road.

Now why would they do that with an “unproven” entity? What if they sign you and you hate touring? Or the band gets along great in the studio but not on the road? If they only sign acts that tour ALREADY, they’ll never have to worry about these problems, right?

8) Money

How do you expect to make any money if you don’t tour?

With CD sales falling, ticket sales (and merchandise sold at shows) are one of the only ways to make money in this business. How much did U2’s tour gross in 2011? North of $300 million. Sure, you’re not U2, but most artists make their living on the road.

9) You need or want a booking agent

Booking agents don’t care if you have a record deal or not.

But what they DO care about is, “How many people can you draw to this show next month in Toledo?”

A key to success is getting a great booking agent on your team.

And you can do that, even without a record deal.

But you need FANS…

And how do you get FANS???


10) You want press?

If you want any real press, you need to tour. Most local and national newspapers and weeklies don’t care much about you unless you’re coming through town soon.

11) If you don’t do it, someone else will

While you’re sitting at home, crying that it’s “too hard” or “too expensive” or “pointless” to tour, other artists and bands are slogging it out on the road and developing fans, one by one.

Think of it this way.

Even if you’re a solo artist or band, and you played for one fan every night, if you played out every night, in a week you’d have 7 fans and no doubt have sold 7 CDs/shirts. In a month, that’s 30 fans and CDs/shirts. In a year, 365 fans and shirts. Of course, any place you play should have at LEAST 5-10 people so do the math.

Sitting at home = no fans.

Playing out = fans every time you play.

Of course, you have to be savvy about touring. Use social media to promote your shows. Don’t know anyone in a city? Find some people online, or buy targeted ads on facebook for the cities and towns you are going to play. Make great and ENTERTAINING YouTube videos to help grow your fan base. Ask your fans to bring their friends and promote your next shows.

12) It’s fun

Yes, playing your music live, in front of people and not a YouTube camera, is and should be FUN. You should ENJOY and LOVE being up on stage, getting to perform for people every night. Getting to see people’s reactions to your songs, your energy on stage, your lyrics…that should all be PRICELESS. After all, isn’t performing one of the reasons you got into the music business in the first place?


Now, I can probably add some items to this list but 12 reasons should be enough. Maybe you can think of more??

I understand that many of you can’t tour because 1) you have a day job 2) you have a spouse and/or kids to support 3) gas is really expensive 4) the economy “sucks”

I suppose that’s why so many artists that get signed are so young. Because when you live at home and have no responsibilities, you can go on tour.

However, even if you have family and financial obligations, you can still play out.

My friend’s brother is married with kids in New Jersey yet they still play out almost every weekend.

Sure, he’s doing it for fun and not to get signed. But if he can do it every weekend with a wife and kids to support, so can you!


Now I know I can’t “talk” you into touring.

Artists either “get it” and tour and play out as often as they possibly can. Or they don’t. And no amount of me trying to convince you, especially over an email is probably going to change your behavior (although secretly I hope it will).

Just know that the artists “making it” today are touring. Why, even Katy Perry went on Warped Tour when her first album was breaking. Sara Bareilles rode around in a van even after she was signed to Epic to promote her first album. Everyone tours.

So if you’re not reading this email from the back of a smelly van somewhere…

(Please feel free to forward this email and this email alone to members of your band or other artists you know. But please do not post it on a web site or blog without asking permission. Thanks!)

Copyright @2012 True Talent Management. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without author’s prior consent.

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management ~ True Talent PR

9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320

Beverly Hills, CA 90210 – Read my music blog for advice on making it in the music business


I have a confession to make….

June 15, 2010

Touring is important.

Everyone in the business says it is.

And I’ve repeated this mantra for YEARS.

And to be honest, I never QUITE FULLY understood exactly WHY touring is SO important for a band or artist to do.

It just made sense.

I mean, all the “successful” and “superstar” artists you see broke through touring.

But just RECENTLY it dawned on me just WHY TOURING IS SO IMPORTANT.

Because touring is really one of the only proven ways to create DEMAND for your music.

Sure, you’re an artist.

You write songs in your bedroom, living room, on airplanes or what not.

People should just “discover” your amazing songs on myspace or on the Internet and buy them, right?


Well, that’s a nice dream.


Life doesn’t work that way.

The reality is, even with the Internet – and amazing things like youtube and myspace and facebook, you STILL need to CREATE DEMAND for your music. (Well, if you want to make ANY money from your music, let alone a living from it…)

ANYONE can write a song, record it and throw it up on myspace (and millions have).

But what separates you from THEM is touring.

What separates a REAL artist from just an artist making music for fun or as a hobby, is TOURING.


Now of course there are the exceptions to the rule.

Mainly for teen idols (Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, etc) and pop stars (Britney, etc).

But not many….

Are you Miley Cyrus or a Disney kid? Then you probably don’t need to spend years on the road touring….or do you? Taylor Swift when interviewed on TV recently said she took “any” gig she could get before she was signed. ANY gig! Are you doing the same?

Plus keep in mind that those young artists often spend 5-10 years trying to get their big break through auditioning for TV shows and going on likely hundreds of commercial auditions, paying their dues in other ways, like in crummy TV shows or pilots or small indie films before their big break.

Most actors were at it for 5-10+ years before getting their “big” break. If you don’t believe me, go to, and type in your favorite actor’s name and see all the bit parts they had in crappy indie projects before they became famous. Brad Pitt, for example, did quite a few “small” projects before his big break – The Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz’s of the world (i.e. hitting it “big” without “too” much effort) are far less common than 99% of actors! Even Megan Fox did a ton of small TV shows for YEARS before becoming an “overnight success” by being cast in “Transformers” – – but does she or anyone talk about this in interviews? Of course not! She’s a STAR and they want to sell you on the fairytale aspect of that – not the reality that even movie stars slugged it out for years on crappy TV shows!

I know, you want music to be EASY.

But the reality is, if you want fans, you need to EARN them by TOURING and winning them over at a show ONE BY ONE.

Doing meet and greets after each show – signing autographs, being charming, talking to them! Being a real, genuine person! So they’ll tell their friends and your next show will have double the turnout as the last one! Even a show of 10 people can turn into a show or 20 or 30 next time if you meet each fan and they tell 2 friends and bring them to the next show. That 20-30 then can turn into 50 and 75 and 100 and…well, I think you get the picture!

So if you’re making music for fun as a hobby, don’t worry about touring. It can take YEARS to break this way and you probably have a day job and/or family and can’t do it anyhow.

However, if you’re young, driven or just simply REALLY want to “make it”, YOU HAVE TO TOUR.

If you have the hope or dream of EVER getting signed by any label, they likely will want to see you perform LIVE!

And there is no shortcut to becoming GREAT live!

A multi-platinum producer who worked with many huge superstar acts said to me, “there is no ‘shortcut’ to becoming GREAT live – you just have to get out there and perform and your live show should improve on its own, like anything in life does with lots of work and practice!”

So unless someone in your family has left you a million dollars to market and promote your music career, you’re gonna have to do it the “old fashioned way”. (And ironically, ALL of the artists I’ve seen that have had rich parents “help” them with their money, are no further along than artists I see who have not a dime in their bank accounts. In fact, the DRIVE that should be there for an artist who came from nothing should make them work a MILLION times harder than any artist who is handed money to tour or promote their music somehow.)

Nothing works better than hard work.

So there you go – figure out a way to tour and if you write GREAT songs and put on a GREAT live show, one day soon you will likely be very successful!

This summarizes it well:

Touring is important, not because we are “artists” but because we are musical artists. Touring and local dates have been the lifeblood of every professional musician/songwriter the entire history of American music. The symphony and opera are not a part of the landscape of the American musical heritage. American music is dance music and bands going back to the earliest American history are dance bands. The acts you mention as exceptions are also make their money from touring. Miley toured more than half of 2009 and her Dad is constantly touring. Labels and publishing companies make money from record sales and licensing. Artists make money from selling tickets.

Justin K

True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

~Music Marketing~Music Licensing~Music Publicity

“Do, or do not. There is no try.”
— Jedi Master Yoda