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Career Overview: The Advance Person travels to each city on a tour, days or weeks before the band and crew arrive, in order to quality-check facilities, accommodations, and promotional material.
Career Salary Range: $25,000 to $48,000
Become an Advance Person
While technically part of a tour, the Advance Person travels on a schedule days or weeks ahead of the band and crew. He or she goes to each city and event location early to make sure that everything is just right and ready for the band’s arrival and the live show. No job is too small for the Advance Person, and they might check to make sure that promotional posters and billboards are up and looking great. They might also deliver press packages, photos, and promotional copies of albums to the press and to Promoters in each concert city. In anticipation of the arrival of the Sound Person, the Advance Person checks the acoustics of the venue, and even ensures that there are plenty of electrical outlets available for the concert’s setup.
The Advance Person will also make sure the venue’s seating is properly set up and that there are enough fully accessible entrances and exits. He or she might look up the driving distance between concert cities, check for best routes, and research what types of transportation options each city offers. The Advance Person then relays all of this to the Production Manager, Tour Manager, Tour Coordinator, or Management office, so they can adjust any plans and schedules as needed. Some bands have fan clubs in certain parts of the country, and the Advance Person interacts with them as well. For example, sometimes the club will throw a party in honor of the band coming to town. When that happens, the Advance Person might make sure to deliver press passes and souvenirs to be given out accordingly.
A successful Advance Person is independent, responsible, and thorough. As the first tour professional to arrive in each city, the Advance Person is essentially their own boss, and it’s up to them to arrange their day in a way that gets the most accomplished. The Advance Person must also be a people person, spending much of their time interacting and negotiating with both professionals and non-professionals related to the show’s production. In addition to all this, the Advance Person must remember that they represent the Artists they’re working for, and has to have a keen sense of decorum at all times. This is true even if he or she is technically working for an agency, rather than directly for the Artist. Of course, it helps for an Advance Person to enjoy traveling, as well as being alone much of the time.
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An Advance Person can earn anywhere from $25,000 to $48,000 per year or more. Of course, their travel expenses are covered by a per diem or expense account. They are usually paid weekly while they are traveling. When a tour is complete, they might continue working for a reduced salary or be kept on retainer.
For an Advance Person, employment prospects are not as good as they used to be. Since communications technology has grown so radically, it’s easier than ever to get things done without actually traveling. Much of the Advance Person’s job can now be done at a fraction of the cost using the Internet, cell phones, video conferencing, email, and overnight shipping services.
Working as an Advance Person can eventually lead to a position as a Road Manager or a Tour Coordinator; determining which one of these is an option could depend on the type of company they are working for. Of course, as he or she gains experience and networking opportunities, the Advance Person can also increase their income by taking on more prestigious and well-known artists as clients.
Education and Training
There isn’t any formal education required to become an Advance Person. There are some bare necessities though, like a driver’s license and clean driving history.
Experience, Skills, and Personality
Because the Advance Person travels without the rest of the tour, they need to get used to a somewhat lonely lifestyle. Other qualities that are non-negotiable are dependability, being on time, the ability to work independently, and being a problem solver. Of course, the more experience one has within the music industry in general, the better.
Unions and Associations
There are no major associations specific to Advance Persons.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Luck plays a big part in landing this position, as you either get a job through contacts or by being in the right place at the right time. Be sure to let Musicians, groups, Management, and Booking Agencies know that you’re available and willing to work.
- Also consider advertising your availability in one or more music trade publications.
- If the above fails, gaining experience in a related position outside the music industry can be useful.