Very practical session from Songkick – the UK based site that lets you know when you’re favourite bands are gigging.
Nicely handled by Ian Hogarth (CEO Songkick) all alone which made a refreshing change from the endless panel format.
Basically, the internet has brought fans more choice, made it easier for unsigned acts to build a fanbase and saved the music industry by stimulating the rise in sales for live events. Interestingly (my favourite insight from the session), as ticket sales have gone steadily up in the last decade, the proportion of sales from top selling artists has markedly declined – meaning what the internet has really enabled is support for the wierd and wonderful, a much more diverse music culture which we used to feel was strangled in the old days when major labels were in the ascendency.
So we know the obvious sites – ticketmaster, eventbrite, myspace – but for new artists and unsigned acts with limited resources, there’s a crazy confusion of new tools coming out all the time. So which ones work? Which to choose?
On the demand side (ie bands can attract support, build their fan base and show promoters how popular they are to get gigs) there’s tools to help you find gigs – Songkick itself, but also Pollstar – sites like Eventful where fans can demand gigs and bands can build up a head of steam by building sign up (which works for all events, not just music and can applied to say, touring theatre) – and sites where artists/promoters can find and choose their optimal venue, send a request to play there, and make the case by getting their fans to lobby – eg. Gigmaven, which is only available in NY so far, but one to follow and surely London will be soon if it gets take up.
And for the really smart there’s Next Big Sound - a data tracking analytics site where you can track how your fans engage with you online, across all social media. How many plays you’re getting, who’s mentioning you and when, numbers of plays, views, comments, which you can also compare with other bands, and use to show venue owners and festival promoters why you should be on the bill.
Then there’s selling tickets direct to your fans – either by promoting your own events (which most bands hate, but this makes it easier) or by supplementing what the venue is doing for you by flogging your own ticket allocation (sometimes the key to getting a gig in the first place). Being in control gives you better data (you know who’s bought and you have their address) and better margins. Check out Ticketfly, Topspin (a retail channel you can embed in your own site), and Crowdsurge.
The music industry is (like with many things) leading the way in the concept of social commerce - fans want to follow their bands, they want to belong. To make it nowadays, ambitious bands can do this for themselves and a plethora of tools are there – it’s more about being judicious about which to use, resisting the temptation to migrate to the next new spangly thing to come out, and putting the time in.
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