Independent Montreal metal band proves it's possible to make money on tour

by Tyler Munro

December 4, 2014






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Maybe you think Pomplamoose’s money hemorrhaging sob story was a marketing stunt and maybe you don’t. But one thing that seems to be consensus among people who’ve read Jack Conte’s story about how the band made more than $100,000 on tour and still failed to turn a profit is that their budget raised some real concerns: $26,000 on equipment? $12,000 on parking?

More than a few bands have responded, but today and perhaps most pertinently, Montreal metal band Endast has written about how they broke even on a 35-day, 27-show tour.

“We’ve played over 1300 shows in that timeframe and learned every lesson the hard way,” wrote singer James Arsenian. “Nobody taught us how to tour, we just booked shows and drove.”

We’ve grown a lot as a band and seen some moderate success but absolutely NOTHING like Pamplamoose. To this day, our turnouts still fluctuate wildly from one city to the next from forty people to four hundred and so every tour is a calculated financial risk.

But still he explains how his expenses, ranging from gas for their van to food to cuts for management, still came to less than their eventual profit.

Our profit is small, but it’s a hell of a lot more than Pamplamoose made on their last tour.

Here’s how Arsenian breaks it down:

Gas: $4472.93

They drove an 8 passenger van from 1989 “packed so tight it was ready to burst,” only parked where it was free and avoided toll roads whenever they could.

Tour Manager: $600

We have a very small budget for this, as you can see, so for this tour we chose someone who is self-employed and doesn’t have to worry about leaving work for five weeks. We struck a deal where we would pay him a nominal fee to essentially cover his rent while we were away and we would feed him and shelter him while we were out.

Food: $1947.43

Each member got a $10 per diem and they did their best to pool their resources towards a larger, communal mean.

“There are days where we don’t technically spend anything on food, and days where we go over that budget,” writes Arsenian.

Hotels: $997.81

Like most working class bands, Endast rarely stay in hotels. They brought sleeping bags and air mattresses and, when they couldn’t find a friend or fan’s place to crash at, slept in their van in the nearest parking lot.

Merchandise: $1570.75

To clarify, this is what it costs them to create their merchandise. Their key point: “Old merchandise doesn’t have an expiry date on it.”

Management: $820.85

They ended up firing their management team after their tour.

“They are good people who mean well and do great work but as an underground metal band we were simply not a priority for them,” writes Arsenian, who calls it an expense the band could have easily avoided.

TOTAL EXPENSES: $10,389.77

And here’s how their revenue broke down:

Guarantees: $6090.00
Merchandise Sales: $5675.00

Their guarantees only average out to $225, which the band calls “cringeworthy” when you factor in how long it can take to drive between Canadian cities. They made about $210 a night off of their merchandise, and their sponsors helped keep their gear in check.

Ultimately, they brought in a total revenue of $11,765 for a profit of $1375.23

Read it all over at Right Hook Mics.

Tags: Music, Cancon, News, Endast, pomplamoose, wtf






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