I just did a swing of shows in New England with MC Observa and Coach K. While I was up there, the homie, DLabrie, out of Oakland had just finished doing a couple of shows in the area, and wanted to hop on some of our dates. Naturally, we made it happen. Crazily, our first show was randomly with another “tour” friend, Lejend, and his fiance, B-Marie out of Dallas.
After the show, we all crashed at my hotel room. I know cats are thinking, “Damn, y'all had all of those people in one hotel room?” The correct answer is yes, but there’s levels to it. The first level is that I upgraded my room to a two bedroom suite, and Observa canceled her room once I realized everyone was going to be crashing with me anyway. Second level is that when you’re touring, you have to save money anyway you can. If that means someone is sleeping on the floor, then that’s what it means.
At some point in wee hours of the morning, we started to reminisce and tell old tour stories. After all, I’ve been playing shows with Dlabrie since 2006; which means, we have a lot of fucking tales, and we love to debate about the them because we obviously have conflicting accounts.
One particular time though, we agreed on what happened, but we disagreed with the method. It was on one of the “Bring Your ‘A’ Game Tours,” a series I ran from 2005 to 2010. We played a couple of shows in Texas with a hip hop legend that will remain nameless.
After the Austin show, the legend walked up to my merch table, told me I was dope, and grabbed a CD. I said, “Hey bro, great show. That’ll be $10.” He put the CD down, said thanks, and moved on. DLabrie felt like I might’ve come off a little disrespectful in my delivery. Which in hindsight, maybe it was possible that how I said it was a little raw. In all fairness though, I was thrown the fuck off by dude just assuming that I setup and sat at this merch table just to give it away.
DLabrie also believed that I should have just given him a CD, because the cosign on social media could’ve meant much more than $10. I totally disagreed with that thinking. As a rule, I don’t give away merchandise at my shows. Why, you ask? Well, there are a lot, but here’s my top 6:
The exceptions to this rule are:
These are some of the rules that have allowed me to have a 17+ year career as a touring indie music artist. There are folks that have been in the business as long as I have that have a different approach that works for them, like DLabrie. Ultimately, you have to figure out what is best for you and your family. The only advice I would give when doing that is to think about your goals, the mind of your target fan base or buyer, and your annual bottom line.
This was a Public Service Announcement.
Quanstar is an American underground hip hop artist, indie filmmaker, comic creator, and self published author from Atlanta.