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IHM Road Tips Vol 1: 5 Reasons Why Musicians Should Document Tour Sales

Posted By : IHM, Posted On : June 28, 2013

The following blog post assumes you have great music and a solid live show before hitting the road. Not sure? Contact Bram, head of IHM Artist Relations & Support about a show evaluation,, on twitter @bram_rocks or call 877.994.6446 xt. 2.





Want insights from music industry pros on how to make the most of your shows? Sign up for our free IHM Road Tips series here today!  Here’s just an example of what you’ll learn from the first instalment:



The live show is a way for bands to meet their fans and a way for fans to truly experience a band’s vision. For many bands, touring and live shows are not only part of the game time, but the foundation of financial success. It is the only place where musicians control 100% of the revenue (this blog will continue to harp on that final point as a rally cry). Yet selling music and merchandise at shows remains an inexact science. But with show sales potentially the main revenue source for a band, it would be wise to make it an official process. Here are five reasons why:

Knowledge Is Power…and Leverage

The most important part of documenting a band’s nightly tour sales is exactly that – knowing. This precision can used as leverage in future negotiating deals. Instead of saying “We’ve played in city X”, get right down to the numbers. Bands should know exactly how much they sold at every show to prove their popularity and reach at the negotiating table. Do not just estimate – get this point exact.

Selling: Faster and More Efficient

This is self explanatory. Most bands play a show, sell their music before and after at a merch table, and count the bills at the end of the night while estimating the amount of CDs and vinyl they sold. But there is a better, faster and more organized way to approach the live show. Spend more times on things that matter.

City by City Tour Comparisons

A band venturing outside their familiar city to hit the road for the first time can be discomforting. Bands can sell out shows in their hometown but go back to playing empty bars in other towns. It feels like starting over again. But after while, a band develops a following in markets across the country. The ability to see how much merchandise and music a band sells every night is powerful in this regard. Bands can plan to bring more or less merch on a given night. It would be wise to continue to tour these cities while trading in less successful markets for new ones.

Expectations and Goal Setting

With numbers in hand, bands can set more targeted goals of growth every live show. Merch and music sales also reveal an underlying meaning. Why did a band sell so much merchandise on a given night, and how can that success be replicated? What can a band do to kickstart stagnant music sales in their hometown?

Precision, Precision, Precision

The overarching of documenting numbers is to know exactly where a band stands both from an industry and insider perspective. Though sales data should not guide a band’s artistic direction, it can be a revealing piece of the strategic, live music pie.

IHM Road Tips Readers get one month free when you register for IndieHitmaker monthly live venue reporting services. Click toSign Up for the Newsletter Now and receive your immediate discount code.  Code lasts for a limited time only!





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