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The AI revolution is happening with or without our participation

Steve Jenner, director and co-founder of MetaFests, says the live sector stands among those with the most to gain from AI promises

07 Jul 2023

The AI revolution is on course to eclipse such world-changing advancements as the internet, social media, and smartphones. While the impact is undeniable, I envisage its style more akin to the Industrial Revolution, where entrepreneurial users of automation, rather than technology owners, benefited most of all.

In the same way, I see us, the industry professionals, standing amongst those with the most to gain from AI’s promises. The live music industry, years behind other sectors in joined-up tech efficiency, is poised for immense and rapid transformation through AI.

Festivals, for instance, can at last bring their business models up to date by harnessing the power of AI to transcend such long-standing challenges as forging direct relationships with customers; knowing who is walking through their gates; gaining visibility
on them before and after the event; monetising them all year round; and reducing reliance – and most of their marketing spend – on third-party social media platforms to talk to their own audiences.

This data-driven approach will significantly increase overall efficiency, profitability, and reduce risk

AI brings obvious and imminent advances in key areas:

Sustainability: It can monitor and reward visitors for eco-conscious conduct in real-time, from choosing green travel options to recycling in-venue and even removing tents at the end of a festival.

Programming: It can identify up-and-coming acts and more closely tailor line-ups to audience profiles, ensuring a faster-selling ticket and boosting fan satisfaction.

Event safety: It can analyse data from CCTV and other sources to automatically optimise crowd management, more rapidly flag issues, and even pre-empt and prevent incidents from developing. satisfaction.

Onsite commerce optimisation: It can analyse real-time sales data from bars, food outlets, and merch stands, applying intelligent price changes and targeted special offers via the event app to optimise visitor spend.

Customer service: AI-powered chatbots can replace fatigued human support teams and their overflowing inboxes, providing faster, more efficient, and personalised assistance while capturing valuable data from visitors.

Marketing: AI tools can enable events to laser-target their audiences and messaging, optimising ticket sales and minimising marketing spend.

Production quality: It can automate sound and lighting systems based on live data such as crowd movements, beats, and
even the sentiment of the music, creating dynamic effects and reducing the need for human engineers onsite.

Brand partnerships: It facilitates improved ROI from physical and online activations by joining-up visitor journey before, during, and after an event, delivering more personalised experiences and deeper fan engagement.

The ability of AI to convert mountains of data into well-informed business decisions is one of the tech’s greatest gifts to the sector

The ability of AI to convert mountains of data into well-informed business decisions is one of the technology’s greatest gifts to the sector. Intelligent, real-time analytics will at last empower event organisers to scientifically optimise ticket pricing in real time, forecast sales, and identify new market trends.

This data-driven approach will significantly increase overall efficiency, profitability, and reduce risk. We will need to adapt, hone our skills, and stay on the wave crest if we want to succeed in an AI-driven live music market. Continuous learning and embracing change are key, although gaining technical skills may not be as necessary as in previous times, making AI an accessible transition.

As with any high-tech progression, however, AI does not come without its potential disruptions. Job displacement is a concern, but history has shown that we adapt and evolve. The machines of the Industrial Revolution went on to create a great many more jobs than the ones they initially dislodged.

AI is a tool that amplifies human creativity and expertise. By prioritising ethics, preserving human connection, and creative integrity, we can harness its power to curate the next evolution of unforgettable live music experiences and drive this industry
forward into a new golden age of creativity and prosperity.

The AI revolution is happening with or without our participation. Embracing it is an opportunity to shape the future in
a way that benefits those of us who make this industry, as well as the fans whose lives are enriched by what we do. Ready or
not, the train has left the platform; get ready for an extraordinary journey to the future of live music!


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