Our feature Balance Sheet helps break down taboos around money in the music industry by peeling back the curtain on the life of a touring musician. Today, Winter’s Samira Winter breaks down the income and expenses from five west coast concerts.
Born in Brazil, educated in Boston, and big in Japan, Samira Winter of indie rock band Winter is no stranger to the road. But after releasing her 2020 album Endless Space (Between You & I) at the height of the pandemic, she felt anxious to get back on the road again.
“I was eager to get out and start playing shows again after the pandemic so we pulled together a last minute tour,” she tells Consequence. With no booking agent and a 2009 Toyota Sienna, she plotted a five-date summer trek along the west coast.
It took staying on friend’s couches and selling old merchandise from a previous album cycle, but Winter managed to turn a profit. Read on to learn how she made a profit of $640.
I’m pretty well versed on touring the west coast at this point. This was probably my fourth or fifth time up the coast with Winter. This run was a total of five shows starting in San Diego and ending in Seattle. It was a co-headline tour with my friend’s band so we were able to simplify a lot of the logistics. We took my 2009 Toyota Sienna minivan and split the gas costs evenly as we went up the coast, which was a huge help. My part of the gas added up to $160 out of a total of $320.
Our last show was in Seattle and I had to fly to Australia the next day to play a solo tour. I left my car with the other band and they drove it back down. Sadly, this was probably the last run for my minivan since the engine lights turned on and the battery died on the way back down. I covered the repair expenses and they covered the fuel to get it back to LA.
08/11 — Los Angeles, CA @ Genghis Cohen
08/12 — San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
08/17 — San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
08/19 — Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
08/20 — Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
New battery: -$105
Engine repair: -$250.
My bandmates and I coordinated ahead of time and found friends to stay with along the coast which really cut lodging costs. In Portland we stayed with our friends who just bought a house and owned the coolest collection of esoteric books. I’m a light sleeper so I always bring earplugs, an eye mask, and some nighty-night tea.
I definitely rely on caffeine as soon as I wake up! We usually grab a quick coffee and breakfast to go before hitting the road. I like eating healthy whenever I can even though it can be hard. We kicked things off on a strong note on the first night and had Ethiopian food to celebrate. While on the road I prefer eating local but I’m also down for something like Panera, Chipotle, and sometimes Subway. I also love the oatmeal with blueberries from Starbucks. Some venues offered us meals or buyouts of around $15 which really came in handy. It was seven days total so I spent around $25 a day on food, beverages and snacks plus $25 on the Ethiopian dinner.
Food and snacks: -$175
Ethiopian dinner: -$25
We had a day off in Portland and had a really great time swimming in a river. I love finding pretty nature spots whenever I can! I’m not much of a drinker but I really appreciate it when we get to hang out with our friends and listen to records at their place or go out dancing.
We are all friends and have played in each other’s bands before so everyone was down to help each other out. I paid each member (bass, drums, and guitar) $80 per show and all of them were playing two sets a night.
There’s so many little things that add up for a tour even before it starts. My guitar needed a tune-up which cost $110 and the tour poster cost $200.
Band members: -$1200
Tour Poster -$200
I was eager to get out and start playing shows again after the pandemic so we pulled together a last minute tour. At this point I didn’t have a booking agent, so both bands went directly to venues for deals which we split evenly. Each band would walk away with around $200-$500 per show.
Luckily I didn’t have to make any new merchandise for this run. I sold t-shirts from my last album cycle (which was released during the pandemic) as well as some special edition vinyl and tapes. I made $1425 in merch.
Merch Revenue: $1,425
Concert Revenue: $1,440
Music Expenses -$1,510