Just when you think you've got it all nailed in place...along comes a quirky event and all the nails pop out! And I guess that's the not-so-good, the bad, and the ugly about planning a tour. Today I learned the REAL reason why I haven't been able to secure a gig at a venue I've been wanting to play during a southern tour for some years. For years, they've fobbed me off with one reason or another instead of just coming clean and giving the real reason - which is actually a very valid rationale that I fully understand. If they'd been upfront at the start, I could simply have wiped them off my list and saved myself a lot of effort over a long time.
Many of the musicians I play with on and off will say "I don't know why you do it ..." or "I couldn't be bothered". But the reality IS when you are an independent muso with no agent or corporate support, the world doesn't beat a path to your door to hear your music! You've got to get out of the loungeroom and take the music to new audiences.
The internet certainly opens up new scope for getting your music out there - but my typical audience do not spend their lives online trawling for new music. And online listeners might listen to bits of songs but they're not likely to pay attention for the length of a live set - too many other distractions. For a lyricist like myself, you want your listener to hear the words, you want the words to make a difference to your listener.
There's nothing like bringing new music to a live audience - it's the best way for a songwriter to give a new song the taste test. A live performance allows you to actually see what sort of response the song is getting and enables you to identify how/where the lyrics or melody need tweaking. And of course, if your material isn't engaging enough to hold an audience for a full set, then you're not getting it right!
I wish there was a better way than the tremendous effort that goes into putting a tour together.....but so far, I haven't found it.
ah well, the joys of a creative life! [and I wouldn't have it any different]