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Cashless touring: Top artists hit the road with Centtrip

Tony North, co-founder and Centtrip Music CEO, explains how Centtrip makes it easy for tour managers and accountants to look after artists' finances efficiently and in real time while on the move.

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Tour managers have enough to think about when their artists are performing in a different country every week without needing to worry whether they received the best exchange rate or if they have enough local currency to pay their crew. That is what they call on accountants for.

Cash management is one of the biggest headaches for tour managers as they need to have sufficient funds to pay crew per diems (PDs), as well as suppliers, fuel and a host of other expenses, in the currency of the country they have travelled to. On large international tours, the constant requirement to convert currency can be time-consuming, is often exorbitantly expensive and introduces security risks from carrying large amounts of money.

“Looking after an international touring artist is like looking after a complex, international business,” said Chris Panayi from C.C. Panayi & Co LLP. “Even for medium-sized clients, we may be talking about £5–10 million turnover and a small army of crew following them to set up all the equipment and ensure that the show is presented in a professional manner. We provide support to touring artists and their managers and look after all the complexities of cross-border travel and logistic aspects while they are on the move.”

Tour managers also have to keep in mind the rules on declaring any sums of cash of €10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) when entering or leaving the UK. And when the artist returns home, their accountant has to convert cash back into domestic currency, which can also introduce complication and costs.

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Cash or card?

At Centtrip Music, our specialist division, we have built world-class technology to make ‘cashless touring’ a reality for international artists and reduce the requirement to carry cash dramatically.

“Being able to keep financial transactions easy and manageable in a cashless environment while on the move through numerous countries is invaluable,” said an international tour manager who uses Centtrip products and services for their clients. “On any large tour there are lots of moving parts and my time is not best spent overseeing things like cash transactions. The fact that I can keep on top of all things financial via an app on my phone is game-changing and benefits everybody on the tour.”

Tour managers can use pre-loaded Centtrip multi-currency Mastercards® to pay crew PDs and all other expenses in the currency of the country they are in. They can load individual cards from a mobile app or online via a Centtrip multi-currency account, which takes seconds and is easy to do. Also, by providing access to the live currency market, touring artists can avoid overpaying for converting currencies. With Centtrip, managers and accountants can also keep track of all transactions in real time, saving time on reporting and reconciliation, which used to take months after the tour.

One tour to adopt the ‘cashless’ approach was Robbie Williams’ six-month tour last year with shows in 18 countries. Centtrip Music provided more than 100 multi-currency cards to the travelling crew that allowed to manage a complex array of international currency transactions with ease.

Centtrip Music now represents more than 300 of the world’s top international touring artists, many of whom have embraced this new way of operating global tours.

“One of the artists we represent is Craig David who has undertaken a significant amount of international touring in recent times,” said Colin Lester, Founder and CEO of JEM Music Group. “We have switched our whole ‘on the road’ operation to ‘cashless touring’ and have used Centtrip to manage the currency conversion of our foreign touring income. This has provided huge savings on fees and charges and has put more profit on the bottom line, no question.”

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