An interviewer recently asked me a simple question: "Why are you touring?"
I gave a short answer, but really, there are plenty of reasons an artist might decide to go out on the road and perform concerts night after night.
It might be simply a matter of economics. At a point in history where people are not buying enough music to allow artists the sole vocation of creating music, concerts are certainly a factor. People can support an artist by purchasing a concert ticket and maybe a T-shirt at a show. This gives confidence to promoters who have to wonder if the gamble they make on an artist is a good one or not. If fans don't show up for concerts, artists will take their nomadic circuses elsewhere, since promoters don't usually gamble on the same act more than once.
Then there is the record cycle. This is the space usually three months before a record releases, and six months to a year after its release. Artists tour and perform specific songs to promote the new albums, bolstering sales and awareness—all while solidifying a brand with images and a performance aesthetic that helps define who the artist is and wants to be.
Some artists tour because they are in demand. The tour is more of a response to a cultural awareness or exposure that placed them in the public conscience for a given moment—i.e., striking while the iron is hot. Others tour to build the necessary army of fans who push the artist into the public conscience.
Other artists tour with a transactional mindset—to capitalize on their success, ride the wave and suck as much life as possible out of their fifteen seconds of fame. It's akin to a professional athlete who knows they only have a few solid years of wear and tear on their bodies, so they push ...1
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Jars of Clay: Why Tour? Why Now?
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