Bruce Houghton, president of Skyline Music and editor of influential music industry blog Hypebot, here gives his first MidemNet Blog post. Enjoy; and feel free to comment!

Ticket_admit_oneThe fuss in live music lately has been over ticketing – fees, secondary markets and paperless have dominated the discussion. But the net is also broadening the live music landscape in ways well beyond dockets. Just as the net revolutionized the creation, marketing and distribution of recorded music, a growing number of companies are extending that revolution to live music. Start-ups and established players are changing how concerts are booked and promoted as well as the fan experience during and even after the show. Along the way they’re offering marketing and monetization opportunities that could make secondary ticketing seem like a secondary issue.

A quick tour of the live music internet landscape:

  • Clubtext_messagingU2 encourages concert-goers to raise mobile phones in the air as the 21st century equivalent of the cigarette lighter, but text messaging turns these same phones into interactive tools and profit centers. Interactive Messaging Unlimited, Club Texting and Text2Fans provide turnkey solutions. At an Anastacia concert, fans sent multiple texts to screens to see their names and send the artist messages. The promoters charged 1 EUR per message and 10% of the audience participated.
  • Sites like Ustream.tv enable artists to stream live public and private concerts and can extend the evening with online after-parties complete live video and chat.
  • Myspace_musicMySpace and Facebook have opened ad platforms that enable bands and promoters to launch targeted marketing campaigns for a little as $25 USD. MySpace ads target by age, location and genre. Facebook drills down further adding keywords so marketers can even target fans of other specific artists..
  • OurStage offers a music discovery platform and opportunities for gigs. A recent alliance with Live Nation provided several hundred opening act slots for new artists.
  • Sonicbids is based around an emailable electronic press kit (EPK)and has deals with major music festivals and conferences globally to offer performance opportunities.
  • Reverbnation_logoReverbNation empowers artists to get their own gigs and then market them via email, street teams and viral campaigns and is used by both developing and established artists.
  • In fact, Live Nation owned Music Today links to ReverbNation for street teams, but offers established acts from Dave Mathews on down its own suite of services including fan club ticketing (a “must have” for artists building a touring base) and merchandise.

As with all things digital, the is just the beginning. What companies serving the live music space do you find intriguing?


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  1. Hey Bruce.
    Definitely some good food for thought. I am curious as to the ways various companies will attempt to “get in” on the perceived money being made in the live music arena.
    I just wanted to also drop a note about a service our company is offering, along the lines of Music Today or Ducat King. We are working directly with artists on offering Artist Pre-sales for an entire tour, to an artists fan club or core group of fans. One cool peripheral that we are offering is an option for the bands fans to help pay to Carbon Offset these tours. We do this by having an optional extra fee that is dedicated to a carbon offset fund, which is spent at the completion of the tour.
    So far this fall we’ve worked on tours with Low and Cloud Cult, and are definitely looking forward to more.
    Anyhow..keep it up. And if anyone’s interested; http://www.indietickets.com
    Bill C

  2. Bruce,
    No companies come to mind beyond the ones you listed, but in relation to the tour industry I believe this is notable.
    Rock Band Live is sponsored by four companies: X-Box 360, PepsiStuff.com, Best Buy, and Hot Topic. The reason I find this tour intriguing is because of the aspects of interactive marketing that it encompasses. Bringing forth the opportunity to make fans a part of the show and interact with a product in front of a target market.
    They hold competitions before the show and then the finalists compete in front of the audience during changeovers. This may or may not be groundbreaking in the tour industry, but I believe it opens the doors for many other tours that could use financial backing from company sponsors.
    For instance, Guitar Center could co-host a tour where fans have a guitar riffing contest between sets and the headlining acts sign a guitar for the winner. It’s a simple idea with a great return on investment in terms of the value of the interaction and the amount of focused attention.
    The best parts of a live show have always been when you interact with the artist either in singing, chanting, or responding to commands. Moving into the future, I think we’ll start to see the lines blur to where more opportunities emerge that allow the fans be a part of the show and add to the experience.
    You have a large audience, bored out of their minds, sometimes for an hour between changeovers. There are tons of opportunities that could benefit everyone involved. Something as simple as projector screen with behind the scenes tour shots with the artist and at the beginning & end an advertisement. As the value of attention you get from print and TV advertising fades, I think we’ll see moments like this capitalized on.
    It’s only the beginning of the eyeball wars and all this attention can be monetized.

  3. Hi Bruce,
    We are on the “enjoy” sector of the Live Music And The Net.
    We stream live and on-demand concerts free for the user.
    We have a business model! And even stranger, is working!!!
    We are live in Portugal, Spain and going to Brazil and Mexico.
    If you want more info let me know,
    Kind regards,
    Sérgio Gonçalves

  4. I like the simplicity of ustream. We’ve trying some pre-scheduled acoustic broadcasts for some of our artists at Warner Bros. Simple, but effective, and spontaneous way for artist to connect to fans.

  5. Dear Bruce.
    I thought it might be intersting for you to hear about our “iam-360” Interactive Spherical Video Technology (Patents Pending).
    Our revolutionary Technology is today the only complete platform, from event shooting to final production, that offers fully interactive playback of an event (for example, a concert) using multi camera, spherical video.
    With total interactive control, the viewer, while watching the video of a pre-recorded concert, can move to multiple physical locations and look around whenever and wherever they like, while they still control the video playback. In a sense, the viewer assumes the role of a live-event film director.
    In an industry suffering from diminishing sales and devaluation of the mainstream distribution formats (CD & DVD), we are offering a revolutionary, uniquely interactive, new way to play back prerecorded events, which creates a completely new product offering.
    Exploiting our technology, our partners will have the opportunity to market trully revolutionary products, featuring interactive playback of their content and will enable them to generate a completely novel revenue stream from their property.
    We would be glad to showcase our technology to anybody interested or just curious, at our booth at MIDEM.

  6. Qtrax has a feature in place called “Last Night”where music that was recorded at live events ,concerts clubs ect would imediately by made available for download on its service ,although as of yet this feature is still not available on Qtrax as they are still dealing with licensing issues.

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