I (digitally) sat down with Kyle Weber, one half of the brother-Weber founders of Indie On The Move, to discuss their excellent booking resource for DIY musicians. As I wrote in Booking Your Own Tour: A How-To Guide, I used their site when booking recent tours and found it to be extremely valuable in gaining venue contacts and first-hand musician reviews.
Ari: Who founded Indie On The Move and what inspired this?
Kyle: Indie on the Move was founded by brothers Kyle and Bryan Weber who still run and maintain the site today. Before starting this endeavor, we toured full time in the band ZELAZOWA, from Philadelphia, PA, playing over 600 independently booked shows in the US and Europe between 2006 and 2009.
The inspiration just kind of came about one day when we were thinking about how much venue information we had and how cool it would have been to have that information at our disposal when we first started touring. So, we just organized the ZELAZOWA tour notes, published them, and made the site interactive. We initially launched with about 950 music venues and today we have over 5500 thanks to our incredible community of users.
What was the goal when initially starting IOTM? Has it changed since it's launch?
The initial goal was to simply provide a community based rolodex of music venues, booking agent contacts, and venue reviews, but since our launch in 2008, we have added a bunch of additional features to enhance and expedite the tour booking experience - show/band availabilities, classifieds, festivals, press, radio, cross platform media (photos/videos), maps, directions, and more. The core goal has not changed at all, but rather has been added to.
What were some early obstacles you found in creating the site? Obtaining venue info? Getting bands to contribute?
Fortunately for us Myspace was still kind of around and relevant when we first launched, so we used that pretty successfully to spread the word grassroots style (obviously that would not work today). I would say the initial hurdle was not so much obtaining the venue info either, but instead finding the time to get all those little details about every single place and present it in a nice fluid manner. Creating an easy, user-friendly site has been a focus of ours since day one. Once we got the info up and people started to see success, they were more than willing to give back to the community that helped them.
Was there a "breakthrough moment" where you knew IOTM was starting to catch?
I can't think of an exact day or moment, but I guess it was when my friends and band contacts started hearing about the site from others and telling me about it. Just the other day I got a text message from someone vacationing in Key West saying that the band playing at the bar they were at knew about and loved the site. Ha. Small world; made my night though. We always love hearing positive feedback.
How do you obtain accurate venue info?
We usually start with the information that is presented to us - sometimes it's a user writing in, sometimes it's a show or availability being listed on the site at a venue that we don't have, and sometimes it's us stumbling upon new information while surfing the web. Then we check out a venue's website and whatever information we cannot find there, we obtain by calling and speaking to either a venue representative or directly to the booker.
How often do you update your venue info? Who does this and what's the process?
Once a venue is included in our database, we regularly check and verify the info in a couple of ways - utilizing triggers built into the site, confirming their web presence, calling, and emailing. We realized early on that we were only as good as the information that we were presenting. That is why we spend so many hours every week on this specific task. Bryan and I are the main "venue checkers", but get assistance from other members of our team as well as from our community (that is the beauty of making the site interactive).
How often do we update listings? As you know, there are some places that have had the same booker and policies for 15-20 years and there are some that get a new booker and new policies every couple of months. So, it just depends on the venue.
What are the future plans for IOTM?
We are always coming up with new ideas, but unfortunately, I cannot divulge any of the details as of now. Just know that we are constantly working towards making the show and tour booking process better, faster, and more efficient.
How can bands best use IOTM? What are the top features?
Being that it is what the site was built around, I have to say that our venue database is one of our best features and one that our users use the most. But really, all the different sections of the site are included because they enhance that core building block.
Looking to play in LA and couldn't land a gig by contacting the bookers directly? Post a Band Availability informing the community that you are available and seeking a date in LA. You might also find that a user or a venue posts a show availability that fits into your tour for that exact LA date.
Successfully booked a 50 date tour, but now need to get the word out? Check out our press and radio.
Anything else you'd like musicians booking their own tours to keep in mind when using IOTM?
If you are just starting out and not sure where to begin with this whole tour booking process, check out the "Touring Tips" page here. You will find a handful of general questions that will help you get the ball rolling. And of course, don't hesitate to reach out via the "Contact Us" button at the bottom of every page of the site if you have any questions. We make ourselves available to help out any way that we can.