Touring has now shifted to become the primary source of income for many artists, with preferring to amass live experiences over recordings. These new consumption habits raise the question of whether these types of experiences could be documented and commodified to the benefit of both fan and artist.
Guest post by Jeffrey Warshauer, the founder of Live Music Loyalty based in Asbury Park, NJ.
Historically, artists released a record and toured to promote their album, gaining income from both. Now, artists’ primary source of income comes from touring, and the money they receive from recorded music is relatively small. Fans also identify and connect with artists and music much differently than in the past due to the ascendance of access over ownership. They express their musical identity by going to concerts and sharing their experiences on social media. Fans are shifting from amassing album libraries to “collecting” live music experiences.
Fans spend hundreds of dollars on a concert ticket to see their favorite bands play. Their investment of time and money to attend a concert continues to grow while those measures with respect to recorded music have generally moved in the opposite direction. This divergence amplifies the importance for artists to connect and develop a relationship with the fans that attend their live events. Despite innovation in music technology, limited progress has been made in bridging the gap between artists and their live audience.
What we have seen is accelerating investment in ticketing technologies. Most notably in the release of Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan where computer algorithms help direct tickets towards fans and away from scalpers. New ticketing technologies focusing on blockchain, proximity-based and facial recognition software will also present opportunities to curb scalping, increase safety and boost on-site spending. The core value of these innovations are all rooted in their ability to identify fans. Beyond getting them into the venue, does the digital ticket do anything to resonate with fans or connect them with artists? Not really.
Unfortunately artists don’t know who the fans are in their audience, save for the limited information the venue’s ticketing provider chooses to share with them. It’s been difficult for artists to maintain a meaningful connection with this core fan base given the role ticketing plays in their relationship. If emerging ticketing technologies start to gain wider adoption, the artist/fan relationship could benefit as a result. But, given all of the ambiguity behind connecting artists with live music fans via the ticket, it begs the question – Do tickets really need to be the end-all for knowing which fans actually attend a show? In fact, they do not.
What if fans could use their concert photos to document their attendance and connect with artists? What if these “records” of live music experiences became the fans’ new music collection and a new expression of their musical identity? Live music is a highly dynamic industry but one important and immutable fact remains – fans don’t access their experiences, they own them.
Transforming an ephemeral analog experience into a lasting digital record is compelling from both the artists’ and fans’ perspectives. Major artists can leverage their past events for promotion and continue to monetize these performances after they’re over. Fans can use their digital live music collection to drive more personalized recommendations and experiences in the future and revisit their archive to enjoy memories from their past. Most importantly, artists and fans can connect through their shared experiences and these relationships can be nurtured and strengthened.
As technology hastens new ways to capture and record live music events, not to mention entirely new music experiences, the catalogue of new music records continues to expand exponentially. The internet and social networks are currently full of fragmented records of live music experiences, none of which can connect the artist with a fan in the crowd.
By enabling this connection, musicians could funnel new fans to Facebook and Spotify boosting their presence online. Artists can drive merchandise sales with post event marketing campaigns. Loyal fans can be rewarded with discounts, upgrades, free swag and new experiences all for going to and engaging with artists directly.
We are giving artists and fans an early glimpse of what’s possible, with a live music “record” and that connects artists with their fans. We want friends and colleagues in our area (the Jersey Shore) to come join us.
Jeffrey Warshauer is the founder of Live Music Loyalty, an app available for iOS and Android. LML is in public beta and is launching a pilot program with local artists out of Asbury Park, NJ this summer. Stay tuned and find out more at livemusicloyalty.com