Pomplamoose Details The Cost Of Being An Indie Band

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In a surprising display of transparency, Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn aka Pomplamoose detailed what it took to run a 28-city tour of the US. The bottom line? The band made $135,983 in income… and incurred $147,802 in expenses. Essentially, they lost a little over $11,000.

But what does this mean for a modern Indie band? Conte writes that all is not lost. First, obviously, is the indebtedness phase but, if you’re doing things correctly you can make money doing what you love. He wrote:

Being in an indie band is running a never-ending, rewarding, scary, low-margin small business. In order to plan and execute our Fall tour, we had to prepare for months, slowly gathering risk and debt before selling a single ticket. We had to rent lights. And book hotel rooms. And rent a van. And assemble a crew. And buy road cases for our instruments. And rent a trailer. And….

As someone with an interest in Indie creation – writing, primarily – Conte’s data is fascinating. As an artifact of the touring process it is amazingly valuable. You could use his post as a blueprint to musical success, following it step-by-step in order to plan, implement, and sell a tour. As an artifact of the Indie thought process, whose message is that we no longer need large actors to smooth out the risk of the creative process, the post is inspiring and impressive. And, as a feel good story, it’s great to know that even though they lost money, Conte and Dawn actually make a monthly income from the band, something any artist would love to claim.

“The point of publishing all the scary stats is not to dissuade people from being professional musicians. It’s simply an attempt to shine light on a new paradigm for professional artistry,” wrote Conte.

“We have not made it,” he said. “We are making it.”

The best part is that bands like Pomplamoose can finally share milestones on their road to success and, more important, Indie writer, artists, and musicians can learn from their experiences.

Full disclosure: I saw Pomplamoose on tour in NYC and they were awesome.