How To Plan Your Own Music Tours (Without Management)

How To Plan Your Own Music Tours (Without Management)

Written by Jaron Lewis

The music industry has changed. Gone are the days when musicians could focus all time on songwriting and perfecting their performance. Record companies and managers are no longer shelling out money to form musicians and bands into stars, but rather shifting their focus into seeking out groups who are already displaying potential.

This means that as a musician, not only will you be polishing your lineup, but you’ll also be your own manager (until you hit the big-time, of course). Like with anything, putting in the work will result in a great reward, so check out these tips about how to plan your own music tours (without management):

Develop A Local Audience

You have to start somewhere. Play local gigs anywhere you possibly can until you have a decent following, whether you’re getting paid or not (obviously, get paid if you can). Put in the work to advertise heavily (social media, physical materials, at local establishments, etc). This first step develops your foundation

Establish Your Group

It may not be the most exciting part of your music experience, but make sure your band’s website, social media, and anything else that promotes you is consistently updated. The most professional beginner bands use what’s called an electronic press kit (EPK), which basically keeps every item that promotes your band in one convenient location that’s easy to show to potential venues.

Plan Ahead

You might be pumped about your own tour (and you should be), but start diy tour booking at least six months ahead of time. Don’t overlook the importance of mapping out your tour so that you can schedule social media promotion in that location.

Try to pay attention to other big events that may be going on during your performance in a certain town, and avoid those scenarios if possible; doing prior research can save you from some real bummers.


Part of the benefit of planning ahead is that you’ll be able to predict how much money you’ll need for food, travel, lodging, etc. Don’t start your tour if you’re worried about having enough money to get by – get creative with your fundraising. Try crowdfunding online, and definitely save as much cash as you can from local paid gigs. Told you that local audience was important.

Local Musicians

Building a network of contacts is never a bad idea. Having buddies in the industry can be mutually beneficial; ask other local artists to either be your opening act or your main event (if they’re “bigger” than you… for now).

Too Intimidated Or Busy?

There’s no shame in hiring a music tour booking agent, if you can afford it. They have a ton of industry contacts and take a lot of the guesswork out of the process for you. Their advice is usually invaluable, and can help you and your band use your time wisely while avoiding many rookie mistakes.

As an aspiring music group, your goal is to make it big. If you think you’re ready to be the opener for a big artist, don’t be afraid to ask them. Make sure your band is solid, the show is nearby, and send them an efficient email. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!



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