Tour:Smart is a comprehensive, 562 page guidebook providing nuts and bolts advice for independent musicians who want to succeed at performing on the road. Author Martin Atkins is a veteran of the alternative music business, having performed with bands like Public Image Ltd., Ministry, Pigface and Killing Joke.
With the advent of digital music and the lessening importance of being signed to major record labels, performing and touring is more essential than ever for musicians trying to make a living. Atkins explains touring can lead to improved record store placement, more reviews, and better website traffic.
He details factors to consider when planning a tour like geography, climate, and distances. He further discusses the pros and cons of various forms of transportation, what to pack, and whether to bring scenery and stage decoration. He also gives pointers on how to interact with law enforcement while on the road.
Atkins explains how to work with promoters to get booked and whether to hire agent or go it alone. He further goes into information about contracts, choose an opening act, and selling merchandise. Touring provides a great opportunity to promote oneself. Tour:Smart gives practical information on how to get press coverage and how to handle oneself during interviews.
On a very practical level he gives warnings about sex, drugs and alcohol, and also provides health and eating tips while on the road. For women musicians there is also a chapter entitled "Being a grrrl on the road." Finally there are a few chapters on touring internationally.
The Library offers a few copies of Tour:Smart that can be borrowed as well as a copy for reference that is always available whenever you visit the Library.
Tour:Smart: And Break the Band by Martin Atkins (Smart Books, 2007).
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