Some Simple Concepts For Better Engaging With Fans At Shows

from the ditch-ticketmaster dept

We recently wrote about the live music market, noting that lots of people seemed to agree that the massive additional fees and surcharges seemed to be a huge problem -- and most of those fees seem to come from Ticketmaster. So it's interesting to see that some are finally looking at ways to get around the old way of handling tickets. Shane Richmond at The Telegraph recently discussed his experience going to see The Pixies in London, where the band used some rather straightforward and simple tools to make the concert-going experience a hell of a lot more enjoyable:
As soon as I got the email I went to the Pixies' website and bought tickets. The tickets -- not a receipt but the tickets themselves -- were emailed minutes later in PDF form. I printed them off on the day of the gig and they were scanned at the venue by an iPhone-wielding staff member.
Apparently, this was all done via a new Topspin app. In this case, The Pixies had apparently used Topspin to put together an email list -- starting from scratch and got it up to over 100,000 pretty quickly -- and then sent a single email out announcing the show, selling the tickets directly. You can see the iPhone scanning operation below:
At Hypebot (the link above) Rogers noted: "100% of fans acquired via Topspin, all marketing direct-to-fan via Topspin, every ticket sold via Topspin, and every person entering the venue after being checked in by the Topspin iPhone application." While that's nice buzz for Topspin, certainly other tools could be used to do the same thing (or something similar). The really interesting part is the lack of Ticketmaster.

But, perhaps even more interesting is some of the other aspects of how the band then took a few very simple steps to make the concert going experience even more enjoyable. Going back to Richmond's post:
Anyway, a couple of weeks before the show I got an email from the Pixies:
"If you're reading this email, it means we'll see you at TROXY London for two shows in June. We're looking forward to it. What songs do you want us to play? Reply and tell us."
Just before the show they emailed again thanking everyone who sent requests and saying that they had a setlist they thought we would like. Now for all I know, some guy who works for the Pixies might have dealt with all the emails and the band themselves may never have looked at them but it doesn't much matter. The engagement -- even if it was an illusion -- helped to build my excitement about the gig.

A few weeks after the gig, the band emailed again, this time sending me a link to a download of two songs from the gig I went to. So I now have a very nice souvenir of the show too.
Now, I'm sure that some will respond to this with a "so what?" There's no whiz-bangery going on here to make all this happen. This is all pretty straight-forward and simple. And, that's part of the point. None of this needs to really be "new," it just needs to be done well, and that means focusing on the stuff people like, such as making things convenient and making people feel like they belong, and minimizing the stuff people hate, such as excess fees and surcharges and feeling like an afterthought rather than a valued part of the community, and you can really do an amazing job connecting with fans (and, oh yes, giving them a reason to buy).
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Filed Under: engagement, experiences, live shows, pixies
Companies: ticketmaster, topspin

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2010 @ 6:48am

    I wonder if producers had any idea of the number of people that simply didn't go to their shows because of Ticketmaster fees? Count me as one of them. There are hundreds of events in this area that I go to without such fees added that I actively seek out.

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