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The importance of live

Artist manager Michael Lambert gives a 'younger' professional's view on the importance of live shows and the way we approach the most essential people: the fans

12 May 2016

Michael Lambert

It can be easy to forget the value of the live show when developing a new artist. Campaigns are increasingly multifaceted, and the list of platforms available to engage with audiences is endless and ever expanding. Artists can spend their lives retweeting, favouriting, sharing, Shapchatting, etc., connecting with fans online and building numbers on each platform as they go.

But does this really help artists build loyal fans?

Don’t get me wrong, social media is a vital aspect of developing and retaining an audience, and it’s incredible that artists can maintain such intimate relationships with the people who care about the music they make. But the fact of the matter is, a band who put on a great live performance and spend time with their followers afterwards, then engage with them online, are much more likely to have a deeper, long-lasting connection with their fans.

“Rather than dissecting the margins on a booking fee and how the pie is shared between promoter, venue and artists, I’d like to see the industry devote more time and effort towards figuring out how to make the ticketing world more customer-friendly”

In March, I attended the International Live Music Conference for the first time, and I was surprised at just how vocal and candid some major players in the live business were willing to be in such an open forum. It reminded me that the passion and emotion connected to a live gig isn’t restricted to the artist/fan relationship, but extends to the people making shows happen all across the globe, from tiny clubs to world-class arena. They care deeply about their business, and the individuals whose careers they are helping to build.

However, I couldn’t help but feel that the focus of many discussions and late-night debates at the ILMC bar had their focus in the wrong place. We are in danger of forgetting about the most important people in the chain: the fans.

Rather than dissecting the margins on a booking fee and how the pie is shared between promoter, venue and artists, I’d like to see the industry devote more time and effort towards figuring out how to make the ticketing world more customer-friendly. Positive noises made surrounding printing names on tickets to combat touts were encouraging, but there is still so far to go before the world of ticketing actually works for the real fan – and if we make it too difficult for them, we won’t have a live business left to talk about.