The pace of change over the last ten years in the music industry and ticketing make the challenge of predicting the next ten a perfect exercise in silliness. I have seen tech fads come and go, and sometimes never even come – anyone remember when two-way paging was going to revolutionise the market? – so what to do?
Our team at VMusic, the strategic business unit within Vendini focused on live music, knows that the technology of the future needs to succeed in accentuating, amplifying and accelerating the essential and timeless quality experiences that live music can bring. This is the excitement of discovery, the power of social connection and sharing, the experience of art and the freedom of rock and roll. At the very heart of the matter for us is our focus on developing tools that widen the possibility of discovery and narrow the gap between commitment and purchase and give our members the tools to understand their audience and how to best reach them with compelling experiences.
The challenge is tough. I’m sure many of you already know first hand that it’s not easy to get the right show to the right people at the right time. Most venues and promoters are buried in ‘data’ and still really use a tiny fraction of what they have.
Most venues and promoters are buried in ‘data’ and still really use a tiny fraction of what they have
I kind of get things right every once in awhile, but I can’t pretend I’m a fortuneteller. What I can tell you is a few things I know for sure about the future of ticketing.
Customer experience will remain a priority, and content-rich multi-platform sites and communication channels will be among the tools venues use to inform and entice concertgoers to get the hell out of their homes. I can also tell you that strategic partnerships will continue to be paramount for live event businesses that want to widen distribution channels and meet the fan where they live.
At VMusic, we have already started to think about the way our tools and technology will evolve. We’re looking at how we can innovate the entire process – from ticket purchase, to event entry, to customer interactions at the event and even after. For most live event venues, the focus will be on implementing horizontal tools that make it easy to share socially and allow organic curation among groups of friends and possibly wider groups from there. As leaders in this industry, we have to constantly improve the purchase process to make it easy and intuitive. A big part of that innovation is really thinking about how we can make our software even more intuitive and seamless for our members. Their experience of creating and selling tickets for an event should be as easy as it is for the patron to buy a ticket from them.
Companies in our industry will be creating post-event tools to capture other meaningful transactions, such as digital ‘nightbooks’ that include pictures, videos, sounds and posts from the night
As patrons become more active and interactive on their mobile devices, they have the power to open doors to revenue for a venue. I foresee companies in the live event ticketing business creating more event tools to enhance and share the experience. Obviously, this can be a rich source of data that can be used by our members to make better offers and enhance sponsorship opportunities. But since I have been a promoter and a venue operator, as well as now being on the provider side, I strongly urge our members and all producers out there to weigh the value they are providing their customers versus how they are using this rich trove of data.
I would also bet companies in our industry will be creating post-event tools to capture other meaningful transactions. This could be as simple as digital ‘nightbooks’ that include pictures, videos, sounds and posts from the night. Patrons could be prompted with follow-up opportunities to spark engagement with the venue or the artists – or even something transactional, like buying a T-shirt.
Ultimately, the core value of live music events will remain the same. Live events will always be about feeling the excitement, anticipation and discovery that comes with a new experience. Live events will always be a place where people can connect and feel like they belong; the only thing that will really change is how we amplify that experience. Bet on the technologies and the companies that are focused on doing that and you don’t really have to predict the future – you will be creating it.
Mark Meyerson is vice-president of live music at Vendini. He was formerly GM at CrowdTorch, which Vendini acquired in December 2015, and has served spells at Ticketmaster, AEG Live, House of Blues and Bill Graham Presents.