It’s overly simplistic to suggest that bands make money – and lots of it – when they tour, he says in an article posted this week. In the case of Pomplamoose, a multi-instrument-playing duo consisting of Conte and Nataly Dawn, their recent tour of 24 shows in 23 cities across the United States required up-front expenses of about $24,000 before the first sound check.
They went on to sell nearly $98,000 in tickets and more than $29,000 in merchandise, accounting for 72% and 22% of their income, respectively. The band also secured a sponsorship from Lenovo of $8,750 in the form of cash and three computers to produce an accompanying light show during concerts.
Overall, Conte writes, the tour cost $147,802 to produce, with an income of $135,983. That’s right – their 24-show tour cost Pomplamoose $11,819. Conte isn’t complaining.
“But this isn’t a sob story,” he says. “We knew it would be an expensive endeavor, and we still chose to make this investment. We could have played a duo show instead of hiring six people to tour with us. That would have saved us over $50,000, but it was important at this stage in Pomplamoose’s career to put on a wild and crazy rock show…. The loss was an investment in future tours.”
This is a band that produces two videos per month to post on YouTube, collects donations through a Patreon page and “did not take weekends off” all year. They’re working hard to make and promote their music. If musicians make money through live shows and selling merch, it would seem Pomplamoose should’ve been operating in the black at the end of their tour.
Instead, Conte says, the band hasn’t “made it.” Not yet.
“We are the mom and pop corner store version of ‘the dream,’” he writes of independent artists. “If Lady Gaga is McDonald’s, we’re Betty’s Diner. And we’re open 24/7.”