Music Business

How Much Do Musicians Make On Tour? (2023)


How much do musicians make on tour? Touring is a crucial aspect of a musician’s career, but have you ever wondered how much they actually make from it. In this article, we will take a closer look at the financial side of being a touring musician, exploring both the expenses and revenue streams involved.

Expenses and Overhead Costs

Being a touring musician comes with its fair share of expenses. From travel and accommodation to food and equipment, musicians have various overhead costs to consider. Additionally, they might have to pay their tour manager and crew members, further affecting their bottom line. One of the biggest expenses for touring musicians is travel. This includes flights, bus rentals, or even just the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance. Accommodation is another significant expense, as musicians often need to stay in hotels or rental properties while on the road.

Food is another essential cost, as musicians need to eat while traveling, and eating out can add up quickly. Additionally, musicians need to consider the cost of equipment and gear, such as instruments, sound systems, and lighting.

Hiring a tour manager and crew members also adds to the expenses. Tour managers handle the logistics of the tour, while crew members help set up and break down equipment at each show.

To cover these expenses, musicians often rely on income from ticket sales, merchandise sales, and sometimes sponsorships or endorsements. Additionally, many musicians rely on advances and guarantees from venues or promoters to help cover some of these costs.

In recent years, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Patreon have also become popular ways for musicians to raise money from their fans to help cover the expenses of touring.

Overall, being a touring musician is an expensive endeavor, and careful financial planning is essential to ensure that the tour is financially viable. Many musicians work with booking agents, managers, and accountants to help manage their finances and ensure that they can continue to tour and make a living from their music. 

Revenue Streams – How Much Do Musicians Make On Tour?

Venue Capacity and Ticket Sales

One of the primary sources of income for musicians on tour is ticket sales. The revenue generated depends on the venue’s capacity and the number of tickets sold. Artists like Taylor Swift, who perform in large arenas and stadiums, can make millions per show from ticket sales alone. In addition to ticket sales, musicians also make money from merchandise sales at their shows.

This can include t-shirts, posters, CDs, and other items with the artist’s branding. Merchandise sales can be a significant source of income for musicians, especially for independent artists who may not have the same level of ticket sales as a mega-star like Taylor Swift.

Another source of income for musicians on tour is from VIP packages and meet and greet experiences. Fans are often willing to pay a premium price for the opportunity to meet their favorite artists, get a photo with them, and receive exclusive merchandise or perks. This can be a lucrative source of income for musicians, especially for those with dedicated fan bases.

In addition to these primary sources of income, musicians on tour also earn money from sponsorship deals, licensing their music for use in commercials or movies, and from streaming and download royalties. Overall, touring can be a significant source of income for musicians, but it’s not the only way they make money. 

Performance Fees and Guarantees

Many musicians earn money through performance fees and guarantees. These are negotiated amounts agreed upon with the promoters or venue owners. The fee can vary depending on factors such as the musician’s popularity, demand, and the scale of the tour. For established and well-known musicians, performance fees can range from a few thousand dollars to millions for a single show. T

he guarantee is the minimum amount that the musician will be paid, regardless of ticket sales or other revenue generated from the event. In addition to performance fees and guarantees, musicians may also earn money through merchandise sales, VIP packages, and other revenue streams from their live performances.

For newer or lesser-known musicians, performance fees may be lower and guarantees may be less common, especially if they are performing at smaller venues or as opening acts for more established artists. However, as they build their reputation and fan base, they can negotiate higher fees and guarantees for future performances.

In some cases, musicians may also receive a percentage of ticket sales or a share of the overall revenue from the event. This can be a lucrative source of income for successful artists, especially for larger tours and festivals where ticket sales can be substantial.

Overall, performance fees and guarantees are important sources of income for musicians, and negotiating favorable terms is essential for their financial success. As they become more popular and in-demand, they can command higher fees and guarantees, allowing them to earn a comfortable living from their live performances. 

Additional Income Opportunities

Musicians can also explore other income opportunities while on tour. These include merchandise sales, where they can earn money from selling t-shirts, CDs, and other merchandise. Additionally, artists can earn royalties from music streaming platforms like Spotify.

How Much Do Musicians Make On Tour
How Much Do Musicians Make On Tour

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do musicians earn money while on tour?

Touring musicians earn money through various revenue streams, such as ticket sales, performance fees, merchandise sales, and royalties from music streaming. Ticket sales are one of the primary sources of income for touring musicians.

Depending on the size and popularity of the artist, ticket prices can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars for VIP packages. Performance fees are another important revenue stream, as musicians are typically paid a set amount for each show they perform.

Merchandise sales can also contribute significantly to a touring musician’s income. T-shirts, posters, CDs, and other branded items are often sold at concerts, providing an additional source of revenue. Many fans are willing to purchase merchandise as a way to support their favorite artists and to have a tangible memento of the show.
In addition to these direct sources of income, touring musicians can also earn royalties from music streaming platforms. While streaming payouts are often relatively small, they can still add up, especially for musicians with a large and dedicated fan base.

Overall, touring musicians rely on a combination of these revenue streams to support themselves and their careers. By diversifying their income sources and maximizing their earning potential from each show, musicians can create a sustainable and successful career in the music industry. 

2. Do musicians earn a fixed salary while on tour?

No, musicians do not earn a fixed salary while on tour. Their income varies from show to show, depending on factors like ticket sales and other revenue sources. Some musicians may receive a guaranteed amount for each show, known as a guarantee, but this is not always the case. In general, their earnings on tour depend on their ability to draw a crowd and sell tickets, as well as any additional revenue from merchandise sales and other sources.

Additionally, expenses such as travel, accommodation, and crew salaries are also deducted from their earnings, so the actual take-home pay from each show can vary greatly. Overall, musicians’ income while on tour is not fixed and can fluctuate based on a variety of factors. 

3. Are musicians responsible for their own expenses while on tour?

Yes, musicians are responsible for their own expenses while on tour. They have to cover costs like travel, accommodation, and equipment rental from their earnings. In addition to those expenses, musicians also have to consider costs for food, merchandise, marketing, and any additional personnel they may have with them such as a tour manager or sound engineer.

It’s important for musicians to carefully budget and plan for these expenses in order to ensure they are able to sustain themselves while on tour. In some cases, musicians may also seek out sponsorship or partnerships to help offset these costs. Overall, being financially responsible while on tour is crucial for a musician’s long-term success. 

4. Can musicians earn additional income from touring?

Absolutely! Musicians can earn additional income from touring through merchandise sales, royalties, and other opportunities that come with performing live shows.

Merchandise sales are a significant source of income for many musicians while on tour. Fans often buy T-shirts, posters, vinyl records, and other items as mementos of the concert experience. This can be a lucrative revenue stream for musicians, especially for those with dedicated fan bases.
Additionally, musicians can earn royalties from the live performance of their music. When their songs are played at a concert, they are entitled to performance royalties, which can add up to a substantial amount, especially for popular artists.

Moreover, performing live can also open up opportunities for sponsorship deals, endorsements, and collaborations with other brands. Musicians may also be able to secure licensing deals for their music to be used in commercials, films, and other media as a result of their exposure from touring.

Overall, touring can be a great way for musicians to diversify their income streams and capitalize on the demand for live music experiences. It also allows them to connect with their fans on a more personal level and build a loyal fan base, which can ultimately lead to more opportunities for earning income in the future.

5. Do musicians earn more from touring or album sales?

It depends on the musician and their popularity. While touring can be a significant source of income, some artists also make substantial earnings from album sales and streaming. For smaller, independent musicians, touring may be their main source of income as they may not have the same level of album sales or streaming revenue. It also depends on the size of the venues the musician is able to book and the ticket prices they can command.

Live performances can also provide opportunities for merchandise sales, such as T-shirts, hats, and other branded items, which can further contribute to a musician’s income.

In addition, performing live can help to build and maintain a dedicated fan base, which can lead to increased album sales, streaming numbers, and future touring opportunities. It can also lead to other opportunities, such as licensing deals for TV, film, and commercials, and other forms of brand partnerships.
Overall, while touring can be a significant source of income for musicians, it is just one piece of the puzzle, and successful musicians typically rely on a combination of revenue streams to sustain their careers. 


Being a touring musician involves financial considerations. While the income from touring can vary, musicians have multiple revenue streams to rely on, including ticket sales, performance fees, merchandise sales, and royalties. Despite the expenses and uncertainties, touring can be a rewarding endeavor for musicians, allowing them to connect with fans and showcase their talent on stage.

Additional Reading

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Listen to our ensembles: Breve Orchestra, Breve Music Ensemble, Breve Low Brass Ensemble, Breve Woodwind Ensemble, and Jermaine Harris on Spotify.

Breve Music Studios publishes music for Breve Orchestra, Breve Low Brass Ensemble, Breve Music Ensemble, and Breve Woodwind Ensemble.
Breve Music Studios publishes music for Breve Orchestra, Breve Low Brass Ensemble, Breve Music Ensemble, and Breve Woodwind Ensemble.