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Crowdsourcing A Live Show Lets Fans Spread The Word About How Awesome You Are

from the neat-ideas dept

We recently wrote about a new feature from Songkick, called Detour, that can be used to crowdsource a concert to guarantee for a performer that it’s worth going to a show there. Songkick now has another example, which is even more interesting. This one isn’t just about pre-proving a profitable demand level for a show, but about engaging with fans, finding new fans and really getting people engaged. It involved the band Hot Chip, who had an open day in their European tour, and was hoping to use it to play a “smaller” town — one that many tours for similarly popular bands were bypassing. Songkick found 3 towns that the band hadn’t headlined before — and then let the three towns compete. What’s interesting is how people in one town — Folkestone — went above and beyond to make it happen:

What happened next though was incredibly exciting. A bunch of superfans in Folkestone decided that they were going to make it happen. As one fan said, “Most bands don’t come to this part of Kent, they tend to stop at London.” They got super proactive and started to email all their friends and even petitioned the local radio station and newspaper. It exploded and went completely viral in a matter of hours through fan to fan word of mouth marketing, Hot Chip sold out. Check out the sales curve of pledges for the show, the huge viral spike is when fans started to self-organise.

Songkick has some interesting data points:

Some interesting things we learned:
– 70% of the people who pledged had never seen Hot Chip before. Detour is really creating new fan to artist connections.
– 66% of the attendees found out about the show through their friends (The rest from Songkick and Hot Chip)
– 1 (amazing) fan emailed over 2000 people they knew to try and spread the word.

In other words, such a platform isn’t just about fans getting an act to show up somewhere, but also about getting fans to spread the word, to evangelize and to help build the fanbase much bigger. One thing we’ve definitely noticed about successful crowdsourcing campaigns is that they tend to create a sense of “ownership,” which means that supporters have incentive to get their friends to support things too, which is a different form of “viral” marketing. Songkick notes, also, how far fans will go to support acts they like:

I think the thing that really blew me away was the level of self-organisation amongst fans. In a world where half the music industry is still focused on complaining about file sharing, people often forget that fan is short for fanatic. Hot Chip’s fans are incredibly passionate about them and figured out a way to self-organise to make this show happen

Now, there is one caveat that Songkick doesn’t mention that could be worth exploring as well. While it is great for those in and around Folkestone, does it upset those in Stoke or in York who are fans, but who didn’t “win?” It seems possible, though hopefully they went into this understanding that was a possibility. Either way, we see that doing these kinds of things isn’t just about pleasing existing fans, but finding more fans as well.

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Companies: songkick

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Comments on “Crowdsourcing A Live Show Lets Fans Spread The Word About How Awesome You Are”

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23 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Inconclusive information here.

If the band announced the show in that area, and promoted it through their best fans, and pushed them to do the same, the show likely would have been a similar success. The chart shows less than 180 tickets sold, and the write up claims 450 people in the audience. So there were at least 270 regular ticket buyers.

Perhaps it’s more a case of a band no realizing that they are popular enough to support these sorts of shows.

Also, you have to ask the question: If they did a show in a nearby area, how many of those people would have gone anyway? Would a larger, 900 – 1000 seat location between the three destinations have brought even more people?

You just don’t know. It seems the band has quite a following even without this promotion.

Big Al says:

Re: Re:

“Would a larger, 900 – 1000 seat location between the three destinations have brought even more people?”

Just an aside – Folkestone is in the South East, Stoke is in the Midlands and York is in the North.
The ‘central’ location (that all could get to fairly easily) was London, where at least one show was already being held. More geographically, Stoke is more centrally placed, but favouring York. York fans could get there given a couple of hours, but Folkestone? forget it.

Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Inconclusive?

Really?

Everything you say is true, or plausible. I don’t see how that detracts from the success of their experiment, nor how it somehow invalidates the conclusion that fans can be a bigger driving force for success than promotion, if they are allowed to be.

Also, the POINT of the concert was to hit a smaller venue, so that local fans would be able to attend. So, no. A central point would have defeated the purpose, as Folkestone and York are ~250 miles from each other, and Stoke a similar distance from either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t know the geography of the area well enough (and there are many variations of Stoke in England). If there was demand enough, perhaps the band would consider EACH of those locations for a show?

What about the ticket sales? 180 on the graphic, and 450 attendance. That suggests that there was more demand than just that. Perhaps poor marketing means that their management chose a night off instead of a show, which might not be so good.

“I don’t see how that detracts from the success of their experiment”

Nor do I, however, I am not rushing to draw any conclusions from it either, because it cuts both ways. The band should be happy to have this support, and should be surprised a bit to discover that their actually support was more than twice what this experiment suggested.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“I don’t know the geography of the area well enough (and there are many variations of Stoke in England).”

If people simply say “Stoke”, they usually mean Stoke-on-Trent, a city in the Midlands. So, it seems that they chose one town in the north, middle and south of England to see where the most interest lay.

“What about the ticket sales? 180 on the graphic, and 450 attendance.”

What about them? A lot of people don’t use or have never heard of Songkick. Is it a problem that more than one outlet for the tickets was used once the venue had been chosen? Remember it’s not just that the tickets sold through Songkick that’s the point here, it’s that if those 180 hadn’t sold there wouldn’t have been a gig for the others to attend in the first place.

“That suggests that there was more demand than just that.”

Maybe, maybe not. It could also suggest that there was a decent enough fanbase in the Folkestone area to support this kind of show, but they may not have had known about it without having made this happen.

Also, notice the quotes in the article. It’s made very clear that Kent doesn’t get a lot of decent acts (presumably due to its relative proximity to London, although travelling to the capital from Kent for a gig may still involve significant expense and effort). A lot of people buying tickets may not have been attracted by the band itself, but the mere fact that there was a decent sized gig in the area – in other words new fans may have been generated by the gig being there.

As you say, we don’t know. However, this is definitely one of the things I’ve been saying for a while – a band that actually communicates with their fanbase might get a lot of information back that they never knew – such as where that fanbase is actually concentrated. It’s a win/win sitation, and it’s something that actually allows fans to put their money where their mouths are to get something they want.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

My thoughts. And I don’t really think the size matters here, over 2/3rds of the ones who pledged did so because of all the word of mouth. This is simply pure win. Now let’s be pessimistic and assume that only 20% of those who got to know the band for the first time in this crowdsourced experience become real fans and less than 10% become engaged fans. Bloody hell that’s fantastic!

I guess our friend there raised good points but he’s focusing on the size and we have already seen that making millions is not really what musicians really want today. Sure they need the money but it will come naturally once they build their fanbase.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The real question here is how much time and money did the band spend setting up and promoting this gig?

If a handful of fans can mobilize all your promotion and sell out your gig, you’re saving time and money and walking into a situation with an enormous amount of goodwill, as opposed to charging fans more to cover your publicity campaign so they can drive an hour to see you and leave their friends and supportive community behind.

Jenni B. (profile) says:

Jeremy Messersmith from Minneapolis (whom I started following on Twitter after seeing him at a SXSW day party) is doing something even more intimate. After releasing his new album on a pay-what-you-wish basis on Bandcamp, he started a “supper club” tour. Fans have volunteered to host the show at their house, with other fans bringing their best potluck dish. They sound insanely fun.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The point of the article. You missed it. Completely. The band didn’t promote themselves, they let their fans promote for them by offering to play in venues that they wouldn’t normally book due to low volume. Sorry that you can’t see the total win in this for both the band and the fans, but it really is there.

PaulT (profile) says:

“does it upset those in Stoke or in York who are fans, but who didn’t “win?””

Hmmm… I’m torn on this point. On the one hand, if they were upset maybe they should have made a better job of telling their friends? It must have been annoying to be a Stoke-based fan since they were “winning” until Folkestone made their final push.

On the other hand, I’m sure they would have been annoyed anyway. The band’s other gigs are all concentrated in the south (London and Southampton) with just only DJ gigs in the north (Manchester). Travel costs would have put most off from travelling, and Folkestone would actually have been more difficult for northern fans to get to. Oh well, maybe next time…

Joe Botha (profile) says:

This model is useable

So, to stimulate ticket sales, all that needs to happen is for a band’s itinerary not to be cast in stone. (At least in the smaller towns and cities.)
It can’t be too difficult to have a system where f you want them to come to YOUR town, not the one 20 miles on, you have to get your vote on.
This naturally organises townsfolk into communities, thereby generating interest.

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