Category: Unfinished Mail

December 1st, 2020
empty opry
In 2019 I saw 172 shows. I came home late and woke up early and every night was an adventure. I was working with 5 photographers and working on getting them access every day. Before COVID hit I’d seen over 30 shows for 2020 and was eyeing some great shows to come. Then the world stopped. 
 
2020 is not the year the music died. It is something else. This year I’ve listened to more music than ever before but lost the live element. The streaming world has come in and I’m watching pre-recorded, or pre-staged shows. There isn’t as much stage chat and you feel a gap of the interactiveness of a live show. I miss the clubs. I miss the obnoxious drunk singing in my ear. I miss the overzealous teens rushing to the front of the stage. I miss the sweaty insanity of a sold out night. I miss the chance to talk to the band live and buy merch. I miss that moment when you exit a hot club to a chilly outdoors. 
 
I feel Zoomed out. I miss seeing my friends in the club. There is a magic to live music. You see both the good and the bad. Some of the best nights have had improvs and mistakes that make it human. 
 
2021 is the hope of live music…eventually. Will bands tour? Will fans come out? Will live venues survive to have them? 
 
My December issue is always my best of the year. I judge a lot by live performance. You can do anything in a studio. What you can do live changes it. This year it feels like a virtual extravaganza. I have more music to choose from but less of the soul of seeing it live. 
 
Happy holidays and let 2021 be the year it comes back better than ever. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC 

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November 1st, 2020

Letter From The Editor November 2020

terrified-woman

 

Normally when I start a new issue I’ve been building up all month and have notes and leads to follow. Not this month. I feel more like I’ve survived a storm and am holding on to debris as I sort everything out. Sadly the storm hasn’t passed. Today is Halloween. I look forward to Halloween and watch scary movies. I’ll do that tonight after the work is done.

November is coming down to the first week. Forget Thanksgiving. Forget Veterans Day. In the US, Election Day(s) have been fought over for years now. I’m a Politico. I read multiple news sources when I wake up. I follow city races. I follow state races. I follow national races. In October I’ve seen multiple platforms dive into the election. FEMMUSIC is not a political site so I haven’t saturated you with my opinions nor made every post a political message. That is not to say that we don’t have themes that reverberate in FEMMUSIC. FEMMUSIC by its nature is about equality. FEMMUSIC is not about white men, nor white women. It is about music and trying to shine a spotlight on voices you may not have heard. Music is not a neutral platform. Music is a megaphone to the world of our views, our heartbreaks, our values…whether you dance to it or not. FEMMUSIC will always let the music play.

The Terror this November is the paranoia, fear, anger, sorrow that has made us all lesser beings. We have been bombarded from morning to night with messaging, ads, txts, calls, saying that the world will end if you choose the wrong candidate. We’ve been bottled up and subjected to this for months. We’ve been living in our own echo chambers. We worry about whether we will sing “Hallelujah” or “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” when it ends. I’m an optimist. I believe the sun will come up on November 4, and 5th. The planet won’t fall off its axis and leave us spinning into the unknown. The world will survive and so will we. The music will play.

Take a deep breath. Exhale slowly. Repeat. One day this will be a memory.

Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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September 30th, 2020
Letter From The Editor
Death of Ego
 
Is there sunlight? Is it day? It is night? The days have blurred together so much it is hard to tell what month it is. All we know is it is still 2020 and things are still bad. Last week SXSW announced 2021 would be virtual. Last year when they cancelled the world stopped. Now it is one more festival to watch on a monitor instead of in person. 
 
The title of this month’s Letter comes from an interview I saw with Phoebe Bridgers. Artists live to express themselves and without the energy of an audience it is all static. When your ego is based on that feedback, you are unsure of yourself in this time. The clichés of WWII perseverance have grown old as well live behind closed doors. Sadly all the forecasts I see say no live music until 2021. Keep writing. Keep producing. As the winter comes the days will be shorter and the nights longer. Use the dark to your advantage. Your ego is as much who are you, as what you do. 
 
I’m still eyeing some online festivals for the end of the year and the music keeps coming. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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September 1st, 2020

zoomed-out

In March the term “Zoomed Out” meant nothing. In September it is more than a buzzword. In a normal week I’m catching 2-3 webinars about our industry. These focus on the big questions of music festivals and venues, to the important questions of generating revenue by streams alone. I watch Indie Week, Mondo, Music Cities Together and continue to search for more. It keeps me plugged in to where we are worldwide and if/when we can see each other at shows again. On top of that I’m trying to catch the music festivals that are streaming, or FB Live shows. Many days it feels like I never leave my computer.

In our brave new world I feel like I’m getting an education on a world we are still discovering. It is filled with more questions than answers. The vast majority have the answer – next year. Maybe. Possibly. The music keeps flowing and expanding as my inbox is filled daily. What happens next is the question we all want to know.

Sincerely,

Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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August 1st, 2020

Letter From The Editor – August 2020

Hot summer_

 
The summer has been heating up across the board. From the increase in COVID cases, to the increase in protests, the world continues to turn in a fiery mess. July has been a busy month for music, and I’m beginning to get the October releases. A few days ago Taylor Swift dropped her latest album which means anyone else who did was ignored. I also heard word of Kylie Minogue dropping a new album soon too. You can see the oxygen leave the room when big releases are put out. Swift’s videos had millions of watches before being 12 hours old. 
 
You may notice a theme this month. I have 2 country tracks that came in late but were instantly appealing. In July the Atlantic had a wonderful article on the lack of diversity within country music. I will admit that partially influenced bringing you Reyna Roberts. 
 
August continues to look to be hot. I don’t expect COVID, the protests or music to die down anytime soon. Stay safe and keep listening. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz

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July 1st, 2020
editor's desk
 
Today is Juneteenth and June has already seemed to be half a year long. When June began we expected our focus would be on PRIDE month. The narrative changed with the George Floyd Protests. June is now a celebration of many things from Black empowerment to LBGTQ rights and recognition. July, I have no predictions on what the narrative will be. The constant stream of companies, artists, and people trying to defend their legacy and embrace a world that has been here continues. From Black Out Tuesday to Black Lives Matter there has been a recognition that change will happen. Not when. Not if. 
 
The only constant has been a steady stream of music. I wake up every day to a new track or video from an artist I know or need to know. Music won’t stop for a pandemic or protest. There are still music videos made before lockdown that have high production value. I expect soon we will see a time where animation and homemade videos remain. Live shows are coming back slowly and there is the question of whether they will be safe. Right now only the largest promoters have a plan that is expensive. For those that think the virus is done…we still have a ways to go. 
 
July is typically the big festival month. I’m trying to preview streaming events as they come up. They are coming together quicker than ever. 
 
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay united. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

Posted in Unfinished Mail

June 1st, 2020
Mental-Health-AND-Music
 
I write this exactly halfway through May and am getting ready to post Janet Devlin’s interview. At the same time, I’m looking at doing an interview with Liza Anne. The common theme is mental illness. Last year we interview Elohim about her struggles with anxiety. There was a time when speaking about mental illness in the industry would be frowned upon. Everyone was expected to be the ideal version of themselves (the 50’s) or a superstar (the 80’s). Showing weakness destroyed that myth and made you human. In the days of #MeToo mental illness is normal. 
 
As we enter a new phase of new normal we’re all suffering cabin fever. Life has been put on pause but the mind keeps moving. The new normal may be here for a while and we all need to be here on the other side. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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May 1st, 2020
Hope
This weekend I watched Global Citizen’s One Earth Together at Home. It was inspiring and hopeful and different from any other global concert I’ve seen. I remember Live Aid, Farm Aid, Live 8, and Live Earth. It was mindblowing to see concerts on huge stages with thousands of people being broadcast to the world. It was a feeling of unity and togetherness. Together at Home was different. The stories that were inspiring were from the front line workers: the doctors and nurses. The songs, many of them covers, were hopeful but lacked the energy of a live show. Today there is more talk of what an artist’s home or studio looked like than the message. That was not the case in 1985 when I saw Live Aid. 
 
We are living in “interesting times.” I’ve gone from barely sleeping and out every night to asleep early and well-rested. The artists I love are doing live streams to stay alive. I’ve made it my mission to put out resources for artists (not just musicians) on free money to make it through this crisis. On Wednesday one friend I know asked if I’d heard of anyone getting local money from these resources. I haven’t. There aren’t press releases for that. I think most artists desperately want the money but don’t want to admit to being in a dire situation. It is a matter of pride and self-worth. It is also a message of hope. If one artist hears that another got money from an organization it brings hope that their application can be accepted. If you know people who have received money from local, state, private organizations (including those on FEMMUSIC COVID-19 Resources list) please tell me. I want to show those signs of hope so others can see. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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April 1st, 2020

Letter From The Editor – April 2020

CDC-coronavirus-image
 
At the end of 2019 I decided to discontinue my “Unfinished Mail” column. I was running out of things to say and I didn’t feel it added anything relevant to FEMMUSIC. Then 2020 happened or more precisely, COVID-19. The world has been turned upside down in way unimaginable to everyone. I know many friends out of work. Years ago I started Live World Magazine as a way to expand FEMMUSIC. It never took off. Live World describes how I am. I live for live performance. The music, the energy has fed me through some of my hardest times. Now the clubs are silent and we live in a fear of social contact. 
 
There are some changes to FEMMUSIC during the pandemic. I’ve suspended the Festival of the Month section until we have festivals again. I will continue to have the COVID-19 Grants and Resources for Artists links for as long as they are necessary. I’ve slowed down during the crisis. Being cooped up never really fit me so I feel like I’m working through my own depression. That said, the show will go on. The music doesn’t stop and neither will I. I continue to hunt for new artists and will bring them to you. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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December 5th, 2019

Unfinished Mail –  December 2019

Year End
It’s December or my case the week before Thanksgiving. FEMMUSIC like all music magazines makes our December issue The Best Of The Year. It is never an easy decision. I like to think FEMMUSIC is a place for the underdogs. The artists coming up. This year there were a ton of releases. Yesterday the Grammy Nominations were put out and even they accurately reflected a diverse year, which is rare. I’m behind on all the albums on my own wish list. 
 
It’s now the first week of December and a cold and I have been in combat for two weeks leading to a very late deadline. The Best of the Year will be up soon. For now, finally, December 2019
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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November 1st, 2019

Unfinished Mail – November 2019

snowy-concert

It’s November and I’m sweating deadline again. October is supposed to be slow. This one wasn’t. I’ve been to nearly 20 shows and been working on a lot of projects. As I write this we’re getting over our first big cold front of the year and I feel like I’m thawing out. The end of the year usually means things slow down. I expect by January I’ll be begging to see a show. My calendar next year already stretches to October and I have tix in hand for shows in January and February. 
 
We’re busy working on a big project for next year. It is in a similar vein to our Tour Managers & Women in Studio Production pieces. 
 
In the meantime, stay warm. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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October 1st, 2019

Unfinished Mail – October 2019

autumn-music
I write this on September 27 which is much too close to the deadline for the new issue. It’s been a rough month. I had surgery on Friday the 13th and felt like I lost a week because of it. Losing a week during the summer is insane. Our industry moves too fast for that lax time. The good news is the October issue is here. The bad news is November is breathing down my throat and it’s a busy one. November marks our previews of 2 Australian Music Festivals – Australian Music Week & Melbourne Music Week. We also have work of some great female shows in NYC in both October and November. 
 
I’ve been having this discussion a lot recently. Placement in non-traditional areas. The exercise group Peloton recently was sued for copyright infringement. They have music in their service and haven’t been paying for it. These are stationary bikes, etc… I also received a soundtrack for a book recently and even heard of a wine and playlist combo. When we talk placement we usually mean TV & movies. Getting a song in a popular movie usually causes movement in the industry. What does placement in a good book do? Books have trailers as do comic books. Can you get your music in there? Think outside the box and get placement in places where your fans live. That may change with your demographic. 
 
Fall is officially here so we begin the period of early sunsets and long nights…filled with music. My 2020 calendar is already exploding with shows. Fall traditionally means the wrapping up of touring season and the beginning of recording season. What have you learned over the summer? What songs have played out well? What needs work? 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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September 1st, 2019

Unfinished Mail – September 2019

 
worst day ever
 
Earlier this month I was talking with a singer-songwriter who has been going through changes. She has taken a retreat and is finding herself and her music again. She is someone who often acts as a motivator for other people so it was surreal to talk to her about motivation. I find motivation comes from darker places. When she was blogging about a bad day I thought about my worst day and how life compares after it. It is a reset. The coldest darkest day when the clouds envelop the room and it is hard to breathe remind you what the sun looks like on a cloudy day. 
 
Later this month I will be having surgery. I plan to be updating and may be updating more if I have the illusion of time. I’m relatively relaxed about surgery. I had my worst medical experience a couple of years ago. After that, nothing I’m hearing sounds bad. I don’t see sunlight but I’m not drowning in the rain. It is a simple thing to remember. When it is at its worse, life does get better through perseverance. It can always be worse. Seeing your worst day gives you perspective to make most days much better.  
 
It is September and my calendar is busier than August. Even with surgery, I plan to be out a lot. The fall season is getting busier than ever. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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August 1st, 2019

Unfinished Mail – August 2019

big fest
 

It’s mid-July as I write this and I’m preparing for a 3-day music festival at the end of the week. That means sunburn, drunks and plenty of good music. This summer has been one that has been different in the world of music festivals. All summer I’ve been watching the implosion of Woodstock 50. There have also been fires, fraud, shootings and banning of liquor at festivals this summer. Locally Peoples Fair, a summer festival we’ve all grown accustomed too didn’t happen this year. On top of this, I read weekly of Live Nation or AEG taking over festivals worldwide. 

 
Music festivals are gathering places. They are where people go to enjoy music and each other. They are a nightmare to produce and put on. They can be profit machines but often are plagued by problems with logistics, and management. I also watch festivals worldwide for a number of other issues. Are they booking women artists? Are those artists given the same marquee space/poster space as men? What are the festivals doing to combat sexual harassment? It is not enough to say you have a “zero tolerance” policy towards harassment. It means you must actively engage your audience when they are buying tickets to be aware of the situation and the resources available. Where is the safe space at the festival where, if an event occurs, the victim and her rights can be protected. I know too many women traumatized by the treatment after an event as much as the event itself. 
 
The music industry likes to have blinders on when it comes to sexual harassment. It willfully ignores the #metoo movement in the studio, in the label, at the festival, at the awards. The old boys network of the music business will crack in the future. It is ordained by the next generations coming up. When Gen Z is in power they will not tolerate the excuses of the boomers. 
 
Next month we hit the end of the summer. I will be having surgery so hope not to have to rush the issue. Fingers crossed. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-in-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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July 1st, 2019
Why Am I Still Doing This?
Oops! We screwed up. For months we’ve been telling people that FEMMUSIC’s 20th Anniversary was in August. We were wrong. It is now. July 2019. After 20 years senility must finally be setting in. Over the course of this month, we will be adding tidbits to the website. They are our history. Every time I look at the history of FEMMUSIC the story gets longer as I realize more elements made it come into being. I did not expect it to last 6 months let alone 20 years. Now I look back and forward and am amazed at what we’ve done. 

I just came from a weekend of catching a TV festival and different concerts every night. Even at my most exhausted on Sunday, I was still with fire in my eyes for the next act. Tonight I go to a dive bar to see some bands I’ve never heard of. After 20 years I still consider it my passion to find new acts on the way up. I’ve become an advocate, activist, pain in the ass to many people over time. From day one FEMMUSIC has had competitors. I am glad to see every single one. There is more music available than ever before. If I had a staff of 100 I couldn’t begin to crack what it out there. I live and breathe music every day. 

 
FEMMUSIC would not be possible if not for the people supporting us. When I first launched the website I made a point of a hidden page of thank you’s. I have to begin by thanking David Barber who is my webmaster, photographer, mentor, partner-in-crime. After 20 years we haven’t killed each other and still continue to do this. A huge thank you to my current group of photographers including Veronica Lee, Justine Johnson, Becca Martinez, David Barber, Will Elmore, and Lisa Dibbern. I also have to thank every writer and photographer we’ve worked with in the past. It has been my pleasure to see them evolve and grow and find their passion. 
 
I’m not sure what the next 20 years will hold but as long as I can stand up and badly dance I will be going to shows and finding new artists. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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June 1st, 2019

Unfinished Mail – June 2019

magic
It’s June and my calendar is a mess. There are 3-4 festivals to look at, a couple of individual shows and tons of artists. My eyes are heavy and my body hurts from another long night. I wish I could tell you how many shows I’ve been to since starting FEMMUSIC. It numbers in the thousands. Ironically this is the first year I’m actively tracking which shows I attend for my own tally. At the end of May, I’m in the low 60’s which means I’m behind from where I normally am. 
 
When I go to shows I love talking to the audience and meeting new people. I was recently at a show where I met a superfan. He was spending his vacation following a band through 10 days worth of gigs. He’d already established himself with the band, their openers, and the crew. He was having fun. When I talk with photographers and other FEMMUSIC people what we seek is MAGIC. A show that exceeds your expectations by leaps and bounds. Describing that magic is tough. Oftentimes it is the band’s interaction with the audience, the energy of the performance, and some unknown. I will often laugh when a band says “This is the best audience on the tour”, “This city is better than all the others we’ve been through.” A MAGIC night stands out. An average night is not “the best night of the tour.” It’s said as boilerplate language. Instead of trying to compliment the audience, play a stronger show. 
 
It is summer and shows are now sold out. My calendar hit December this month. That is the furthest show I’m eyeing. By the end of June I will be well into 2020. New recording continue to amaze me. In my opinion this is a good year for music. 
 
It’s sunny. It’s warm and there is music playing somewhere. Go out and see it or go out and make it. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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May 1st, 2019

Unfinished Mail – May

Concert Etiquette 
 
It’s May which means festival season is here. It is also time for our annual reminder of concert etiquette. Whether you’re at an outdoor show or an intimate venue, playing nice with your neighbors is appreciated. 
 
1. Talking – Did you come to the show to see the artist or to talk? If you’re going to talk through the entire night you’ve wasted your money and offended people around you. Go to a bar, go to a restaurant to talk. At the show more people than you WANT to hear the show. 
 
2. Screaming – Why are you screaming the artist’s name? Why are you screaming song names when the artist hasn’t asked for requests? The artist knows their own name and has a set list that most likely has your favorite song in it. If the artist asked for requests, then you can scream your favorite song. 
 
3. Singing – Congratulations! You know every lyric to every song that the artist is going to play. The people around you however paid to hear the artist sing them NOT you. If the artist invites you for a sing a long then feel free. 
 
4. Filming, txting, social media – Did you pay money to see a show through a 3″ screen? I didn’t. I want to experience every note and emotion in wide screen, full life. To do that I do not need to record every second of the show, photograph every second, or txt, instagram of FB everyone I know to prove that I was there. Surprisingly neither do you. It used to be if you wore the tour t-shirt the next day at school you proved you were there. Now you can instantly make your friends jealous by sending photos, clips from your phone. Just because you can…doesn’t mean you should. Experience a show LIVE not on a 3″ screen. 
 
5. Drunk/Stoned – How much of the show will you remember when you are drunk or stoned? How much will EVERYONE around you remember you if you are drunk or stoned? How many will record it and send it on social media with the quote “Look at this idiot!” Congratulations! You can get drunk or stoned anywhere. Guess what? Nobody cares. People paid money to see a show not to see you behave like an idiot. 
 
These are a small few of the list of concert etiquette items that appear at every show, every summer. It is a funny thing that if you treat people around you with respect, they will treat you the same. If you don’t…then you can be forever immortalized on social media for being “that ass that ruined the show.” If you paid money to see a show…see a show. See, hear and experience with every sense. If not, why are you at the show at all? 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

 

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April 1st, 2019

Unfinished Mail – April 2019

 
In Flux
 
As we go screaming into April, my mind is still stuck in March. March, of course, was Women’s History Month and also International Women’s Day. As usual, on March 8 my inbox was flooded with songs to celebrate International Women’s Day. This year I viewed it like seeing the Christmas displays after Thanksgiving. It was pushed too hard and felt over-marketed. Since International Women’s Day we’ve posted some of the videos we received but not all. It’s a funny thing about empowerment. It shouldn’t be forced. 
 
At the same time, I received word that the Titwrench Collective https://www.facebook.com/titwrenchfest/ is in flux. This collective has done an annual festival for a decade. They are one of many organizations I’ve seen dedicated to getting women musicians heard. 
 
March also found me moving from my apartment of 15 years. That may be one reason April may have delayed interviews and articles. I’m hoping by the time this posts I will be safe and secure at my new apartment ready to conquer the world. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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March 1st, 2019

Unfinished Mail – March 2019

Bishop-Briggs-at-Grandoozy-Festival
 
 
Spring is coming this month and with it the full return of the festival season. In the past 2 weeks, I’ve been flooded with album and show announcements from some of my favorite artists including Tacocat, Weyes Blood, Charly Bliss, and others. The news is coming so quick it is impossible to keep up with. It is mid-February and I need another month to do the March issue. This month is SXSW which is most of the music for the year bottled in one location. Every year I take great pride in previewing what is to come. These days I’m on information overload. It will be the trend from now until November. 
 
If you’re a musician you should still be applying for festivals, and finishing any recording to be released in March, April & May. Booking should be in high gear. 
 
Next month we will be on the cusp of summer and will be previewing festivals in Canada & Washington, DC. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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February 1st, 2019
Overstaying Your Welcome

 
I recently caught up with another music journalist. One topic we both came back to was when is it time for an artist to leave the nest. We mean tour. In 2018 I saw a number of bands evolve to playing venues, festivals, and sometimes any gig they could get. After a while, it looked like they were playing the same venues constantly. When Summer turned to Fall this routine wore on me. It was the same set. There was nothing new. It also felt like a saturation level had been reached. There are only so many times you can ask friends and family to come out before you need new blood. If you’re not getting that new blood, it may be time to take a risk. 
 
Touring is an intimidating part of the music industry. It means leaving your comfort zone and embarking on a new adventure in areas you’re not known. Touring is also expensive and can take a long time to make a profit if any. It exposes you to audiences that have never heard your music and can work to build your fanbase. That does not mean every gig is a winner. It also means that if you try a new market, you may need to return many times until you ‘re known. There are numerous books & apps on touring that go through the logistics from promotion and booking to hotels and insurance. The one question they can’t answer for you is when. When should you hit the road? 
 
When is a personal question. It involves everything from finances to how confident you are as a musician. The money is the easy part. Expect not to make any but gain new experiences and new fans. Touring can be in-state and regional. It does not mean touring out of state immediately. What does your e-mail list & FB tell you about your fans’ locations? If one city beyond your own keeps coming up, it’s time to play there. 
 
Touring is the grand adventure. Don’t stay locked in a cycle of the same fans and venues locally when you can spread your wings to another place. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Alex Teitz
Editor-in-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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