Touring musicians rejoice – new site to provide with vast database of venues
SaskMusic along with the Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations (CCMIA), and other MIAs, have launched TourHub, a website that provides touring musicians with tools such a venue database and social media integration for event promotion.
The idea behind the site, to provide a massive national list of venues that host bands from out of town, is sheer genius and is worth a round of applause alone. The interactive elements – linking to social media, providing visual maps of the tour and details such as contracts and merch – are likewise amazing.
“It was a national initiative,” explains Derek Bachman of SaskMusic. “The ownership is the music industry across Canada. Saskatchewan musicians have the same needs as other artists.
“Artists were wasting a lot of time chasing after rooms that might not even exist anymore,” he continues. “So every province is updated with a current list of venues. That is the biggest bonus of the site is that you get a local knowledge of everywhere across Canada that you could possibly visit.”
During the unveiling ceremony in Saskatoon at the Two Twenty, delegates from SaskMusic hilariously reiterated the warning: “just because you tell the website, and everyone, that you have a show at a specific venue doesn’t guarantee that you have a show – you do that with the promoter.”
Concurrently, I cringe at the thought of someone invariably confirming a show in cyberspace and not in real life.
“It doesn’t book a tour for you and it doesn’t do something that artists weren’t doing already,” adds Bachman. “But it makes all these things easier.”
TourHub essentially relies the continued use and input of users”
Hopefully SaskMusic and CCMIA haven’t overestimated the savviness of touring musicians. TourHub essentially relies the continued use and input of users. If it is neglected the site could conceivably fail.
However, the assorted collection of local musicians in the audience – John Antoniuk of Smokekiller, Jen Lane, Paul Kuzbik, The Karpinka Bros. and more – all agreed that they would use the site. Concurrently, Saskatoon’s Zachary Lucky is currently on Tourhub – feel free to track his progress and tour on the site.
One of the more advantageous features of the site is the merch calculator. Using the site you set your merch types and costs and the site breaks it down for you. So, when you sell four CDs and eight T-shirts in Winnipeg at the Lo Pub you have a record of the money made. The site calculates all your sales and the money you should, in theory, have at the end of the tour.
Any touring musician will tell you that this is the part that gets messy in real life.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t take into account the deals that invariably are given to good-looking-but-cheap people. But this really isn’t the site’s fault – chalk it up to drunken musician failure.
Another point of very mild contention is the integration of Google maps. Likely one of the best interactive maps out there, unfortunately it doesn’t provide you with a way of scouring Canada by area for venues in small, out of the way places. It would be hugely advantageous to look on a map and see all the venues between Edmonton and Vancouver in small towns – sometimes these off-the-cuff shows are the best. There doesn’t seem to be much of a way to find these shows at the moment – again, this could very well be chalked up to the infancy of the site.
TourHub is ultimately a really good idea, and laid out in a thoughtful way. There are a few things with the site that could already stand to be updated, and staff from SaskMusic have said that they already have the next phase of the site planned.
All that’s next is for musicians to actually start using it, which should prove to be wildly interesting.
“Touring is always a challenge – it is a DIY approach,” says Bachman. “This is a way for artists to build in other markets and to make that as easy as possible for them.”