For artists, touring can be an expensive proposition and when you're living on the road, expenses can pile up quickly. That said, there are also a myriad of money making opportunities there as well. Here rapper Kosha Dillz offers tips for saving and making money on tour.
- Rental Car choice and length. Believe it or not, your vehicle has a huge amount of input on saving money. In this situation, I think we rented a min van for a 3 person crew. Camera person, drummer, and Myself. Even though we are jamming out for 5 weeks, we did a drop of a weekly rental car. If you rent a car by the week, there is always a weekly price vs a daily price. Make sure you don't take it out for odd numbers because you will lose from 70 a day or a 35 a day charge. for a few extra days.
- Plan to stay at peoples places vs getting hotels - Out of the 12 days on the road so far, we stayed in two hotels. That means we saved a range of 70 a night times 10= $700 + taxes in each place. Not only do you have money, but you might get some free grub and also build close relationships with people.
- Meal Prep - Believe it or not, if you cook your meals and bring a foreman grill, you will eat healthier if you want and just have to take time . It will take you about 13 hours to cook two meals a day for one month ( i didn't do that but this is from shopping and cooking to sealing and all. Bring a cooler and you are ready to go, but you have to change the ice and you will be healthier .
- Tip Jar - There is no shame in the tip jar and no shame in asking, especially if you like to give our merch based on donation. Imagine having all that extra money that you weren't gonna have for gas? It makes people feel good giving to a cause and also. Imagine $10 in tips a night for 27 nights. That is $270.
- Hire the right people who understand - On tour, the biggest thing we operate on is FEAR. We are concerned with hiring an extra person, losing money and needing a merch person, or a tour manager when we can do it ourselves. For the #keepitkosha rap tour, I hired my friend and drummer in Jon Longley, who has so much touring experience and can also drive. Doing that and knowing he'll drum and drive is like double duty. Since he is in the band, he also helps promote and invite people out, even though he doesn't have to. This saves me time and energy, which both equal money. Now that we will make money money, I can pay him more next time.
- Co-Sponsorship - You have the opportunity to create content for a lot of people. For my meal prep i worked with a company (sarahsorganicgourmet.com) because I couldn't afford to pay regular price for 14 days. CopyCatsmedia also does some co-promo with me on 400 posters and I got 500 free stickers from jakprints.com with their logos on the back of my die-cut pickle stickers. That all helped me save hundreds of dollars, and people love themselves stickers.
- Street Performing - There is no shame in not taking a day off on tour. Rest is impeccable, but being able to make extra income on the day off tour, helps you earn the next gas tank. By the end of the tour, I will make $300-500 dollars busking. It is a great way to sell extra merch.
- Making the show bigger and merch table brighter: My last tour I was a solo person performing and making around $100 a show. This tour I have a smoke machine, stage set up of these amazing hollywood letters I got from Nick Metropolis (similar to scrims on warped tour) and I bought a light for my merch table (which was $10) and added some little Chistmas lights around a miniature suitcase (they cost 7 bucks at target). I have been banking around $200-$300 per show.
- Pack Light - The less you have the more you can move. Tour is about selling the merch, so make sure you pack more of that vs less. Pack light and bring your favs but be one with the road trip and pick up things locally at goodwills or thrift stores. People get excited you rep the local life and it'll pay off in the merch portion at the end of the night.
- Create amazing content to share - Your online store is still open when you are on the road. The more you get in emails and content to share at each show, you will be making more cash. Just because you are on the road doesn't mean your hustle still isn't global.
That is what I got for now. Are you on the road too? Maybe we can meet up. Maybe you wanna come to a show? Check out my tour dates on bandsintown as well as my tour promo video with mike tyson and eminem + and a tour recap video i just released today
Do you have any tips that you can add? I'd love to hear them!! It'd be awesome :)
Kosha DIllz is an independent rapper who has charted on Billboard in 2016 with his release what i do all day and pickle, and also crushes his live shows. He busks regularly as his day job, and once toured with snoop dogg in Holland. Every year he curates his own official SXSW showcase called OY VEY! and picks all the acts and sponsors personally. Reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how to tour and how to play SXSW successfully!. Also if you have large sums of money you wish to give him. Check out his video w/ Matisyahu. as well.