One of the keys to planning a successful event is leaving as little as possible to chance. It may be true that most of the best things in life are spontaneous, but when it comes to events, expecting the unexpected is vital and can be done through measurement and analysis. Therefore, collecting as much data as possible can be invaluable and help to devise a tighter and more effective show in the future.
Key metrics to track are costs, ticket sales, event revenue, attendee population, engagement and a rough overview of the vibes. By keeping an eye on these you can streamline your operation considerably, amending your spend, entertainment and venue to work best for the fans. Getting feedback and tweaking minor parts of your process could be the difference between a loss and a profitable gig, but using data on a more comprehensive level is becoming an ever more integral part of promoting. The events market has become saturated in a similar way to recorded music, making it harder than ever to stand out without booking high profile artists. You have to be able to connect with small segments and it’s getting harder.
To create a more profitable industry from the grassroots to the majors we need a new level of support between the live and recorded side of the industry. We’ve already seen the two working more fluidly through 360 recording deals, so could data be the next step? If you love listening to a band on a streaming service, then is it likely you’d also want to see them live? Until recently data had been used to target people that had bought tickets for an artist in the past, bought for similar artists or live in a certain region. The truth is that where you live is a factor, but it doesn’t determine whether you like Megadeth or Madonna. The industry needs to know more but at the moment that’s about as specific as most promoters can get.
This is beginning to change.
The Live industry and streaming are beginning to work together. Streaming services produce an unfathomable amount of data and have been using it cleverly for a while now ̶ Spotify’s related artists and discovery features for example are great. I often use the features to find new music or sift through artists that I already like that Spotify has cleverly suggested ̶ so why shouldn’t this happen with live music?
The answer is that it is already happening. Spotify has tested event suggestions and dedicated mailers to artists’ ‘top fans’ and Pandora has bought Ticketfly. This has been great for major artists but the question is: what next? This wealth of data can mean an all-round personalised service, from set lists and festival line-ups based on most listened to tracks and artists, to tour date locations. Songkick’s Detour, for example, lets fans influence their favourite artist’s tour dates with a crowdfund style model. Innovative ways of collecting information or using data like this just shows the way the industry is creatively moving forward to produce a more personalised experience for all.
One of the issues with streaming and live is that the amount of data to target and influence event marketing is colossal. Chris Price (BBC R1 & 1xtra) recently said “we’re kind of drowning in data, whether it’s Shazam tags or Youtube views”, but often this represents the more mainstream side of the industry, where organisers have the capabilities and time to collect and use the information effectively. For the upcoming and grassroots side of the industry though, there’s either not enough data available or organisers don’t have the time or means to obtain it.