The following information is purely to offer a helpful insight into the band’s thoughts and mindset going into the tour and to offer to actual facts and figures relating to the tour immediately after its conclusion.
We believe that honesty is the best policy and don’t believe in pretending we are something we are not, or acting like a bigger band than we actually are. We are in this for purely the love of the music, and we hope the following figures will both give the audience a unique insight into what it takes for a band our size to tour and hopefully help other bands in planning their own tours in future.
- Firstly, why Scotland?
Scotland over the last couple of years has become almost a second home territory for the band and we have fallen in love with the country. It’s a long way from our homeland of East Anglia but also somewhere we enjoy coming to and a place that doesn’t see us on a regular basis to make the fact we were playing three shows there more attractive to a potential audience.
- Secondly, why tour at all?
We have been toying with the idea of “going pro” and to be able to really understand what that would cost, what sort of audience draw on our own we really are and how much we could potentially earn (and how many people we could draw out) we had to take the risk on this tour. This wasn’t about making money but looking to the future, to see if we could plan, manage and run the entire tour ourselves without the help of management, booking agents or the support of a label.
It’s also getting to the stage in our career where we need to be moving forward, away from pub and small club venues and onto bigger things if possible. To achieve this we need to take a few risks as the band moves into it’s 8th year and third album, with Rage now in his 30’s and age being a deciding factor in entertainment about who gets picked up and pushed and who doesn’t it’s now a case of do for ourselves or die.
The music is always first and foremost over money but we are passionate about what we do and would love to do this full-time. If we were able to focus on our music we would be able to do so much more in terms of writing, performance and in the studio but sadly this is a luxury afforded to only a minority of people in the music business and not even a luxury afforded to many bands signed to major labels these days due to bad contracts and poor record sales.
We hope you find the following facts and figures of interest…
- General Expenditure: £311.00
- Accommodation: £220.00
- Management/Staff: £0.00
- Vehicle Hire: £0.00 (Provided by Vauxhall)
- Fuel: £70.00
- Venue Costs: £150.00
- Social Media Advertising: £1,297.73p
- Posters/Flyers: £68.00
- Other: £100.00
Total Tour Cost: £2,216.73
- Fee/Door Split: £200.00 (+£50 still owed)
- All Merch Sales: £454.20p
Total Tour Income: £704.20
Total Tour Loss: £1,512.53
Now on the face of this the figures look incredibly negative, however given the size of the band there are some positives to be drawn from the exercise when you look at the total reach and what was achieved on those nights. As we stated, this tour was not intended to be a money-making exercise.
Obviously with merch there’s other costs in terms of production not included in these figures, so we have not made £704.20 profit on the merch items sold, this is just purely the income for the tour.
We didn’t ask for any huge fees from venues due to the fact we couldn’t promise we could draw in the numbers to warrant them and it turned out we were right to make this assumption. We are not in the business of harming venues by charging them and not drawing the numbers through the door. We believe in keeping venues alive, so all bands have the chance to play and do what we do, rather than make a few quid which would mean nothing in the long run and only damage the future of the scene for bands coming up.
Due to the costs involved we were not able to pay any of the support bands, however on the other hand we did not charge any support band a buy on fee (common practice in the music industry, to cover costs) and every band played and was able to sell merch without being “taxed” by any of the venues.
Social Media, Advertising & Audience
- Total Reach: 279,802 people
- Perth: 20,094 people
- Glasgow: 26,219 people
- Edinburgh: 31,290 people
- Scotland (Whole): 141,100 people
- General (Non Promoted): 61,099
We targeted fans of NWOBHM, Classic Metal, Judas Priest, traditional Metal and the like on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter during the course of the advertising campaign. Some of these adverts were targeted specifically at Perth, Glasgow and Edinburgh while others targeted Scotland as a whole. This has been ongoing for the last two months.
As you can see the not promoted, nonspecific reach is significantly lower.
As stated above £1,297.73p was spent purely on social media advertising, which is comparable to roughly two adverts in a major magazine such as Metal Hammer, but to a less specific audience then we achieved here.
There would be absolutely no point in us doing this any other way as say fans of the current big bands such as Slipknot, Babymetal, Avenged Sevenfold, Sleeping with Sirens and more are not likely to be interested in our music, so the key here was looking at our most likely audience to draw as many out as possibly who might actually like our music.
We also didn’t just purely rely on social media advertising as we had flyers distributed at Wildfire Festival this year, which is Scotland’s only true Rock & Metal Festival. Wildfire was also kind enough to provide us with free accommodation after our show at Ivory Blacks in Glasgow.
- Total Audience Numbers (Rough Estimate): 98 people over 3 shows
Again on the face of it, to draw less than a 100 people overall to three shows (roughly 33 people per gig) after such an expensive advertising campaign could be seen as a huge failure. However if you look at the following figures you can see some positives creeping in. These figures do not include people in the audiences from the other bands.
- Advertising Cost per Audience Member: £14.95
- Income per Audience Member: £7.19p
- Percentage of Social Reach attending gigs: 0.3%
In terms of advertising costs per audience member, we were only £7.76 short of breaking even on each person coming through the door. This means that a fair of audience members were also happy enough to part with cash for merch (and after the door charge) after the band’s performance which is a good indication of how they rated the band’s performance on the night.
To have broken even we would have needed to find £1,512.53 from somewhere overall, which was impossible in the end given the numbers attending and with us not charging a larger fee on those nights.
One thing it does highlight, particularly in terms of Facebook, is the services almost total failure to generate advertising spent with them into actual people through the door and sales to justify us using them in the future. We will be looking to meet with them to present these figures and explain the problem with their service, including their forced restriction of organic reach which is outright harming bands at our level and will eventually drive them away from their service as soon as competition comes along.
Despite the heavy financial loss we have incurred during the tour, as an experiment in itself it was a huge success and certainly from a performance and audience satisfaction standpoint it was an overwhelmingly positive experience.
The feedback has been favourable with many people questioning why we are not on a Major label, why the medium and large festivals overlook us and why we cannot draw huge numbers to shows.
We were fortunate for Vauxhall’s help in supplying us with a van and a tank of fuel as part of their endorsement, Wildfire Festival for distribution of flyers as well as accommodation as well as Bannermans for also providing us with accommodation. If we hadn’t have been able to achieve this, we would have had even larger costs and bigger losses. The Green Room did offer us accommodation but due to the lateness of access to it and the fact we had been awake since 4am with the show concluding late into the night we needed to rest as soon as possible so we were in good playing shape for the day after.
We were also very lucky to have Alex Odinson Smith, of Harbour Radio in Great Yarmouth with us, who worked for free throughout the tour running our social media, merch table while acting as roadie which was a huge help to the band.
At the moment all the costs fall purely on us to cover, and not being wealthy people we simply do not have the resources to compete, not even with the medium size bands on the circuit even if the music is good and the performances are solid. In the end of the day, music is a business and entertainment. You will only ever get out of it what you can afford to put into it in the long run.
Heavy Metal, and it’s audience is not unlike any other form of entertainment. The majority of the Metal audience will pay a lot of money to see known, successful artists play and also buy their merch, rather than take a gamble on something they don’t know. They also often prefer larger venues that bands like us do not have access to and of course seeing acts whose songs they know from TV, radio and have seen in magazines being promoted for many years priors as well as on festival slots. In this, Metal is no different from pop music as a pop group that nobody knows wouldn’t draw until it was picked up by a major (or in their cases created by the label from scratch).
Kaine does not have this luxury and will unlikely ever will, unless by the chance of a miracle we are signed to a major label/management or if we were able to spend more money than we presently do on building the bands profile.
The conclusion is, we are still a way off being able to “go-pro” and draw numbers out to justify fees and bring in merch sales. It was fun to do our own tour but it’s unlikely we will do another, or a more expensive tour anywhere in the future purely due to the costs involved.
Published with kind permission from KAINE
Original article can be found HERE