Stronger venue, patron affinity
The times they are a changin’. Recently, we have seen the headlines splashed across mainstream news outlets about Amanda Palmer and Louis C.K. turning the recording and ticketing industries upside down and appeal directly to their fans. Now MTV has launched a new platform for any band to tap into that same powerful dynamic.
Can the savvy promoter or venue owner also make use of new strengthening-of-ties trend? Is it possible for an event locale to enrich the relationships they have with patrons to provide a better experience and improve ticket sales?
This post is a first in a series - In the coming weeks we will be writing much more on how you can strengthen your relationship with your patrons.
Band & fan affinity
Parent company of the MTV networks, Viacom, announced their new platform for musicians called artists.MTV. The long tail of bands often struggles to be discoverable by current and potentially new fans. Even the more well-known successful acts can flounder with all the different media distribution and social platforms. Just a few years ago, a band could merely have a Myspace page and effectively reach out to fans. But now they have to manage Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, et al, knowing a fan’s attention is diverted across a span of music-centric services.
MTV wants to address the issue with its new artists.MTV service. Viacom vice-president Dermot McCormack describes his intent in this post-Myspace world of 2012:
No one had stepped into that space to provide quality, trusted information around the artists you love, curated in a loving way. We saw a need in the space and we thought we had the brand, the assets, and the temperament to do it.
Dermot goes on to say the potential for making money by both the band and the platform is very promising. Once the intimacy and immersion is established, the bands can offer exclusive access to new material, merchandising and of particular interest, concert tickets.
The new service is currently in private beta testing, and bands can request an invite here: https://www.mtv.com/artist-platform/sign-up.
MTV joins the growing trend of artists and performers tying themselves more closely to fans. Recently Louis C.K. made national headlines by booking all the venues himself and selling tickets directly to fans for his tour. The other high profile case was Amanda Palmer’s notorious kickstarter project that eliminated the traditional “middle men” entirely. Palmer not only met all of her funding goals, but the day-to-day drama of the campaign itself made the emotional connection with her fans much stronger.
We see artists and performers making the effort to be as close as possible to their fanbase, knowing it key to their success as entertainers and as business people. It may be in the best interest of venues of all kinds, not just live music, to consider this new trend and ways to emulate it for their own purposes.
Venue & patron affinity
Being in the business of events, more specifically, being in the business of events that people want to attend, means the venue owner or event promoter is uniquely positioned to benefit from a close association with patrons.
Where a single performance by a given act has a built-in affinity, that happens infrequently, and in the case of a "one night only", just the one time. Conversely, the location (be it a nightclub, a theater, a vacation destination, even a boat!) is where a patron's experience occurs over and over.
As a centralized place of gathering, venues have the ability to have a close relationship with its patrons is on par with, if not greater than, the new trend of artist.MTV or Kickstarter. People who go to a nightclub often, will see a different act perform, but the constant is the venue. The familiarity that is established from it, week to week, year after year, is what you can build on.
Venues and event promoters can provide incentives and rewards for those who return frequently by using coupons, VIP backstage passes and exclusive merchandise.
The idea of having close ties with your patrons is a win-win for all since it can cause patrons to become sales agents via word of mouth recommendations to their friends, for example. The return for the nominal amount invested in t-shirts that are given to your patrons can be exponentially higher than expected. It just takes one tweet to let 12,000 of their friends know about your venue (“OMG! I got a free shirt last night at the show - So awesome!”) to exponentially increase venue awareness (and ticket sales!).
Do you have the right software?
Coupons, season passes, special promotions are all aspects of the online ticketing software you use - not all of which have what is needed to tap into the new “closer to the fan” trend. Everyone with a ThunderTix account has what they need to build special ticket packages, apply discounts that reward patron loyalty, and much more, which enable them to strengthen the ties with patrons.