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Concert listing sites help acts reach fansDENVER (Billboard) - This year's decline in touring business revenue has caused the music industry to take a hard look at how it approaches concert promotion, pricing and scheduling.

That's good news for the many tour-related Internet startups that emerged back when it looked as if touring was going to single-handedly save the music business. Rather than hurting their chances for success, the changing touring landscape is instead giving them a chance to shine.

According to Billboard Boxscore, North American box-office dollars totaled $886 million in the first half of 2010, down $250 million, or 22 percent, from the same period last year. There are a number of factors behind this decline, all of which play into the hands of these new companies taking a digital approach to the touring business. With the economy such that it is, music fans are becoming more selective in their purchasing decisions.

Additionally, the downturn in music sales has led to more bands touring to make up for the lost revenue, and that's led to a glut of tours. Concert ticket aggregator Eventful has 383,552 events scheduled for August; last year it had 276,844 listed for the month.

All of this bodes well for services like Eventful, Bandsintown, Songkick and JamBase, which are designed to help fans find and buy tickets. They offer a one-stop shop for music fans, aggregating hundreds of thousands of current and upcoming tours put on by a variety of promoters with links to any ticketing platform they use. And they offer more listings of smaller, cheaper gigs than those found through Ticketmaster.

Consider the recent move by direct-to-fan platform Topspin. It quietly launched a ticketing system that lets artists sell concert tickets through their e-mail and Twitter lists. For instance, the Pixies sold 6,000 tickets through the system, let fans print them out at home and then scanned the tickets at the venue using iPhones.

"(Live Nation) on average has roughly 15,000 upcoming events listed while we have anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000," says one digital aggregator who requested anonymity because of relationships with Live Nation. "We're just aggregators. So the more competitors that are around, the better it is for us."

 

Take Eventful. It has 15 million registered users that use the site to discover upcoming concerts and link to buy tickets. According to CEO Jordan Glazier, the site registers more than 1 million "buy" links, which is a 50 percent increase from this time last year. Those links only lead users to the option to buy, and it can't tell how many of those clicks result in an actual sale. But it does illustrate how many potential sales Eventful is sending to its various ticketing partners.

That has prompted more artists to use Eventful to help promote their events. Eventful has specific information on its users -- such as age, gender, city and music preference -- which it uses to customize tour recommendations. Glazier says more managers are now either including Eventful in their early marketing plans or reaching out for help when ticket sales are hurting.

"More and more artists are looking to the data of where they're in demand to make the right decisions about where to tour in the first place," he says.

Eventful's "demand it" feature enables users to submit a request to their favorite acts to schedule a stop in their town. In July 2009, 68,869 acts participated in the program. A year later, more than 80,000 did -- a 17 percent increase.

One of the most common reasons why some gigs don't attract larger crowds is because fans simply don't know about them. New concert-focused websites could go a long way toward addressing that problem.

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 August 2010 15:28
 
(UK)

Newsflash Archive

More than 2,000 people braved the wind and rain on the seafront at Brighton, England, on Saturday to form an image of King Canute designed by Radiohead lead-singer Thom Yorke. The public art display was designed to send a climate warning to political leaders in the run-up to the UN Climate Talks in Cancun.

Yorke explained, “The plan is to make images visible from the skies to remind those in Cancun that we can't keep putting this off.”

The image formed on the beaches of Brighton-Hove was designed by Yorke and his long-time collaborator Stanley Donwood. The picture also appeared on the cover of Yorke’s album Eraser. Yorke helped promote the event on Radiohead’s website and four million person strong Facebook page.

According to legend, King Canute set his throne by the sea shore and commanded the tide to halt, only to be soaked by the ocean’s waves. Just as Canute realized his own hubris, world leaders today must realize the dangers of ignoring climate change and rise to solving the challenge.

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