Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's Easy To Lose Money On Tour

Pomplamoose image
Every heard of the band Pomplamoose? This duo gained some measure of fame a few years ago by doing ingenious videos of cover songs that made them YouTube stars. The pair eventually landed a number of high profile television commercials as a result, but the band's regular income still comes from videos, where a makes around $6,000 for each one produced.

Pomplamoose recently decided to embark on a 23 city tour to capitalize on its online fame, and leader Jack Conte wrote about it on his blog, covering all of the band's expenses and income. Here's what he wrote:

$26,450 for production expenses including gear rental, lights, van and trailer rental, road cases and backline.

$17,589 for hotel and food expenses for the 28 days on tour plus a week of rehearsals.

$11,816 for gas, airfare, parking and tolls

$5,445 for insurance

$48,094 for salaries and per diems

$21,945 for manufacturing merchandise, publicity (radio, venue and Facebook ads)

$16,463 agent commission
TOTAL $147,802

$97,519 in ticket sales
$29,714 in merch sales
$8,750 sponsorship by Lenovo
TOTAL $135,983

That means that the band lost $11,819 on the tour.

If you look at the expenses, it seems like the band thinks it's better known that it is (I bet you can't name one Pomplamoose song) and spent like they were a couple of levels up from where they actually are. For instance, considering that the band was playing mostly 400 to 600 seat venues, bring their own lights was unneeded, and buying new backline and road cases for the tour probably should have been filed under personal musician expenses.

Then the fact that the band stayed in hotels when most bands at this level are still couch surfing, the fact that they seemed to have paid their sidemen and crew above market level, and the fact that the band paid for radio and venue ads (isn't that what a promoter's supposed to do?), and you have a net loss when the tour could have made money.

Don't fret for Pomplamoose though, as this can be seen as more of a promotional tool for them than anything. Jack Conte is the founder of the successful Patreon crowdfunding site, so it seems that ultimately the band can absorb the loss without the bill collector pounding on the door.

It does goes to show that it's just as easy to lose money on the road as it is to make it, so watch those expenses.

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