‘The Working Class Can’t Afford It’: The Shocking Truth About the Money Bands Make on Tour

The glamour and allure of the music industry often paint a picture of fame, fortune, and endless success. However, behind the scenes, the reality for many musicians, especially those in the working-class bracket, tells a vastly different story. While touring is often hailed as a lucrative endeavor, the truth about the money bands make on tour may come as a shock to many.


The Illusion of Wealth:

On the surface, the life of a touring musician may seem glamorous, with sold-out shows, adoring fans, and the thrill of performing night after night. Yet, beneath the glitz and glamour lies a harsh reality: for many artists, touring is not a path to riches, but rather a financial struggle to make ends meet.

Rising Costs and Shrinking Profits:

The costs associated with touring are substantial and continue to rise, placing a heavy burden on bands, particularly those without the backing of major record labels or substantial financial resources. From transportation and accommodation to equipment rental and crew salaries, the expenses can quickly add up, leaving little room for profit.

The High Price of Success:

Even for bands that achieve moderate success and are able to secure tour bookings, the financial returns may not be enough to sustain a livelihood. In an industry where streaming services have drastically reduced revenue from recorded music, touring has become one of the primary sources of income for musicians. However, the financial rewards are often disproportionately distributed, with the lion’s share going to promoters, venues, and other stakeholders in the industry.

The Working Class Struggle:

For many working-class musicians, touring is not just a career choice but a necessity to support themselves and their families. However, the financial strain and instability of touring can take a toll on their mental and physical well-being, leading to burnout, stress, and disillusionment with the industry.

The Myth of Success:

The perception of success in the music industry is often skewed, with the focus placed squarely on fame and fortune. Yet, for the vast majority of artists, success is measured not in record sales or chart positions but in the ability to make a living doing what they love. The harsh reality is that for many working-class musicians, the dream of achieving financial security through touring remains elusive.

The Need for Change:

Addressing the systemic inequities within the music industry requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including artists, promoters, venues, and fans. Fair compensation, transparent business practices, and greater support for independent artists are essential steps toward creating a more sustainable and equitable ecosystem for musicians.

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