Songkick Lets Fans Build Andrew Bird's South American Tour For Him

from the the-world-is-changing dept

Over the last few weeks, we've been talking about Songkick's new "Detour" feature, which artists are using to set up shows in "off the beaten track" places, where they'd be unlikely to tour normally, but via Songkick, they discover there are enough fans to make it worthwhile. Considering how often we hear from musicians that touring is such a crap shoot on whether or not you'll make money, it's great to see more tools spring up to help take away that risk. There are a few interesting side effects of all of this. First, beyond just taking some of the risk out of touring, it's also helping artists find different fans they can reach via touring. That doesn't mean they drop existing places, but that they can expand their opportunities. But the second, and perhaps more interesting aspect, is the social one -- in which fans have been using Detour to bring in more fans. That's because one of the ways that Detour can be used is to effectively have a competition, in which cities compete to see which one has more fans willing to crowdfund an appearance by an act they love.

The latest to jump into the Detour pool is a pretty big name artist: Andrew Bird was unsure if it would make sense for him to do a South American tour, but is now using Detour to make sure it's financially viable -- and to figure out what cities he should visit on the tour.
"I've been wanting to go to these countries for years because I'm a fan of their rich musical traditions. Songkick Detour seems like a brilliant idea as it gives me a sense of connection to the people before I go there."
There's a competitive element to this. There are twelve cities (in nine countries) competing (the twelve were picked by going through Songkick's data, to see where Bird had lots of fans -- sometimes in surprising places) for six open slots for shows in February of next year. The setup is basically that the first six shows that have fans crowdfund 250 tickets get the open slots for the gigs. It will be interesting to see if fans in the different cities rally to encourage fans to buy in to get the concert.

These efforts remain very experimental, so who knows how well they'll succeed long term, but I love the fact that we're still seeing unique innovations in different aspects of the music business. Obviously, for many artists, touring has become a bigger part of their revenue stream lately -- but it's also one part of the business that many artists complain has extremely high costs and risks. The system has been inefficient for years, allowing the business to bleed musicians. So it's encouraging to see more attempts to improve the efficiency of the concert business -- and doing so in a way that gets more fans connected to bands, and allows acts to find "out of the way" places to play live, while minimizing the risk of doing so.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 23rd, 2012 @ 7:27am

    It's not, if he's "unsure if it would make sense"...

    "for him to do a South American tour, but is now using Detour to make sure it's financially viable" -- It's all about the music, isn't it? In the old days, such checking was all done by bookings agents, and they probably had a better grasp of local conditions and so on.

    "Obviously, for many artists, touring has become a bigger part of their revenue stream lately" -- Wait. I thought online streaming was now a big and effortless source of income...

    "-- but it's also one part of the business that many artists complain has extremely high costs and risks." -- Yeah, that's because of physical expenditures. Usually, you ignore "sunk (or fixed) costs", Mike! What's up with worrying about them now?

    "The system has been inefficient for years, allowing the business to bleed musicians." -- What, touring "bleeds" musicians? Surely there's an easy way to avoid that!

    Now, listen, folks. Music is not a productive activity. So if you're getting even subsistence from it, shouldn't complain. Believe it or not, billions of people toil every day at jobs they don't like: quit thinking you're entitled to be paid for traveling around the world having fun playing music. It's a basic flaw in your world-view, and leads to much angst avoiding that truth.

     

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  2.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 23rd, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Re: It's not, if he's "unsure if it would make sense"...

    PS: Michael Feldman of NPR show, "Whad'ya know?" has been doing this for years (as I heard him say), arranging ahead of time with fans for place to stay, meet local people, cadge meals, and so on.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2012 @ 8:14am

    Re: It's not, if he's "unsure if it would make sense"...

    So let me get this straight: You are claiming that the financial viability is easier to discern behind a disk rather than through asking how many fans are willing to come? It may have been true, but that is a question of some very questionable accounting rather than the actual cost/benefit.

    Please stop your dishonest ramblings. You are making Chicago in the 20īs look like city of angels compared to the world you live in...

     

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  4.  
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    out_of_the_mind, Oct 23rd, 2012 @ 8:29am

    Re: It's not, if he's "unsure if it would make sense"...

    "Obviously, for many artists, touring has become a bigger part of their revenue stream lately" -- Wait. I thought online streaming was now a big and effortless source of income..."


    Batshit.... crazy. See:

    "The system has been inefficient for years, allowing the business to bleed musicians." -- What, touring "bleeds" musicians? Surely there's an easy way to avoid that!"

    Too many meds today.

     

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  5.  
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    Chancius, Oct 23rd, 2012 @ 8:32am

    I Love Songkick

    I'm a DIY musician and I absolutely LOVE the idea of Songkick! I've done small tours before with previous bands and it was really a crap shoot when it came to the draw we would have at a specific venue and region. No booking agent can know exactly how many fans an artist has in a specific region and also can't promise that they'll all come out for a show. With Songkick, musicians can get assurance that they aren't wasting their time or money playing a gig or one they've never been to before. It's really a win-win for everyone. I can't see a problem with this!

    Free album download at www.facebook.com/chancius

     

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  6.  
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    Chancius, Oct 23rd, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: It's not, if he's

    Actually, yeah! Numbers don't lie, people do! More accurately, numbers don't make mistakes, people do! If someone asked me which I'd rather go with when planning out my tour, I'm going to go with the method that can most accurately inform me of what kind of actual draw I will have rather than speculation or possibility there of.

     

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  7.  
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    Claudio - Bad Panda Records, Oct 23rd, 2012 @ 9:23am

    This makes me hopeful about live music industry. Love the Detour direction, starting from what Songkick already is.

     

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