Dan Steinberg and Wayne Forte touched base to let me know that concert promoter, friend, Aspen Live family member, and around great person Sue McLean passed away today. She was much too young. R.I.P.
Watching last night’s ACM Awards reminded me of a conversation a group of us were having at February’s Pollstar Live Conference. Everyone was asking what panel to go to. I said I was headed to the Country Music panel and a member of our group blurted out, “why, to hear Brian O’Connell tell us all how great he is”. At the same time, myself and a very prominent agent from Nashville said, “He is great”.
Ok so he dresses and travels (a tour bus with more large screen TV’s than your local Best Buy) like a rock star. If you helped develop the number of superstars he has, you could to. Let’s name a few…Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, Tim McGraw, and many more.
Brian created Live Nation’s “Mega-Ticket” which gives country music fans the chance to purchase tickets to all country shows playing their local amphitheatre at a significant discount. It works great. Most recently, he has launched The Faster Horses Festival which Brian described to Ray Waddell of Billboard as a “three-day hillbilly sleepover”. The event takes place July 19-21 in Brooklyn, Michigan and you can find out more at http://fasterhorsesfestival.com.
So you want to be in the country music business, you better know Brian…and Louis Messina @ AEG too, but that’s for another newsletter.
ASPEN LIVE 2013
The Aspen Live Conference, 2013 (December 12-15 @ The St. Regis, Aspen) will be going on-sale this Wednesday, April 10th at Noon Eastern / 9am Pacific http://www.aspenlive.com. Last year’s highlights included talks by festival streaming guru and CEO of Springboard Productions, Hank Neuberger, Andrew Dreskin, CEO of Ticketfly, John Boyle from EDM giant, Insomniac, and Q&A’s with The Lefsetz Letter’s Bob Lefsetz interviewing Live Nation CEO, Michael Rapino while Square Peg Concerts’ Dan Steinberg took us Inside the Agent’s Studio with The Agency Group, NA’s President, Steve Martin.
This year’s line-up is shaping up nicely. Due to demand, we are capping this year’s attendance at 200. You can find out more by following us on Twitter: @aspenlive Hashtag #aspenlive, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/aspenlive, and Instagram: #aspenlive. To register Wednesday, go to http://www.aspenlive.com. The site also has information on special hotel rates, ski/snowboard rentals, activities and more.
Don’t miss out, space is limited and prices go up the longer you wait.
It isn’t very often that I write you to plug my projects and clients but sometimes the information feels important and should be shared. With only 70% of your shows selling on average, let’s talk about Goldstar Events.
When many in the live business hear the word Goldstar, they think discounted tickets when their show or event is in trouble. Yet that isn’t the business Goldstar is in.
The mission the founders (Jim McCarthy, Rich Webster, and Robert Graff) started with nearly 11-years ago remains the same today…GET PEOPLE TO GO OUT MORE. Although prices are usually lower than full-price to entice members to try something new, 86% of those members are searching a date and city rather than a specific show or venue. Thus your shows are not cannibalized.
This is a fact, from the time I started working with Goldstar in 2011 till today, Goldstar marketing has only helped primary sales for your concerts and shows. Never has there been one instance that I’m aware of, where there was a negative effect of any kind.
You get the biggest bang working with Goldstar when a) there is time to promote it properly (early is better than later), b) pricing and scaling make sense (please know that doesn’t mean every ticket @ 50%off…using the company’s Scale Power formula you could have seats as low as $5-off), c) You only market to those you get permission from thus your open rates and numbers you’re reaching are much greater (Goldstar never spams), d) Although currently in 23-markets, you are best served where member penetration is the deepest…Los Angeles/Orange County, San Francisco, New York, Boston, DC, Chicago, San Diego and San Jose.
On average, 30% of the inventory at your shows goes unsold. That means once you settle the show, any seat not sold is worth $0. Why would you do that when Goldstar can move those tickets for you…increasing your show gross…not to mention ancillaries without doing anything to upset your primary market?
When reading Seth’s words below (it is from last month…just catching up) , please remember that he isn’t in the music business but does produce and promote his own live events. Once you read below, sign-up to receive his daily emails by clicking on this link http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?AddNewUserDirect. You will learn so much…a lot more than you would think…and will be amazed that Seth never misses a day to share some wisdom. He believes we all should be artists!
The answer isn’t obvious, and it’s certainly not for every career or every brand. I spend a lot of time wrestling with this very question.
Let’s start with live music, the most familiar example of ‘live’:
- The live performance isn’t guaranteed: it might not work, the performance might be sub-par
- It costs more, often a lot more, to attend
- It only happens when the creator decides to make it available
- The audience is part of the process, in many ways co-creating the work
- Amplified live music always lower fidelity than the album
Pre-recorded music is perhaps 500 times more popular than live music, for these and other reasons. Five hundred!
The Grateful Dead made live music. Steely Dan didn’t. The Beatles started very much with live but ended up exclusively with polished, packaged perfection.
Of course, live music is more likely to create something that we talk about, years later. Because it’s scarce and risky.
The questions that are asked and the decisions you make to produce a fabulous live interaction have very little to do with the quality concerns and allocations you’ll make to produce something that scales and lasts. Confusing the two just frustrates all involved.
When you buy an HP printer, you’re buying a product, an industrialized artifact. Visit the Apple Store, and suddenly there’s a live element—one bad genius can ruin your entire experience. Zappos figured out how to turn online shoe-buying into a live performance by encouraging people to call and interact. Twitter is live, an online PDF is not. Every day this blog flies without a net, typos and all.
Consultants do most of their best work live (asking questions, innovating answers) while novelists virtually never do their work live.
For the creator, live carries more than a whiff of danger. For the perfectionist, the luxury of editing and polishing is magical. And for the consumer, the reliability and sheen of the pre-tested product provides a solace that she just can’t get from the dangerous, risky business of consuming it live.
Some non-profits spend their time seeking out the tested, perfect scalable solution–not live. Others do their work in the moment, in the field, live.
The fork in the road is right here. Taking your work live is energizing, invigorating and insanely risky. You give up the legacy of the backlist, the scalability of inventory and the assurance of editing. It’s an entirely different way of being in the world. Scale and impact can certainly come from creating your best work and sharing it in a reliable way. On the other hand, if you’re going to be live, then yes, do it live.
So Phil Anschutz has taken AEG off the shopping block and at the same time, Tim Leiweke is leaving the company. What???? Didn’t Tim build that company with Phil?
I don’t know, maybe Tim is going into politics. Regardless, this is big news. Perhaps AEG tries to close the football deal and then put the company back on the market. It would be harder to sell the company once the NFL franchise is in place since any new owner would need the approval of the NFL and team owners. Perhaps Phil doesn’t want a football team. I’m just blown-away that Tim Leiweke is no longer with AEG.
Below is our friend Bob Lefsetz ‘s thoughts on the matter. BTW, if you are at Austin Spring Break…I mean SXSW, have a great time. Wish I was with you…kind of.
There’s only one owner here.
That’s what Rupert Murdoch told Barry Diller after Barry did the impossible, create a fourth television network. Barry believed he earned ownership. But Rupert felt otherwise.
You think you want a job, you think you want to sell out, but if you’re not in charge of your life someone else is.
I really don’t care if Phil Anschutz sells AEG or not. Hell, from the beginning it appeared he was asking too much, begging the question of whether he was seeking valuation or…
But one thing I’m categorically against is football in downtown L.A.
As my football fanatic friend Jeff says, we’ve now got it good, without a local team we get the best games on television. As opposed to being subjected to our local outfit on TV every Sunday, assuming they sell out and the game is not blacked-out.
Then again, true fans have the DirectTV package wherein they get every game.
As for going to the game… It’s better on television. You can feel it at the stadium, but you just can’t see it. Which is why attendance is faltering.
But this is kind of like the movie credit game. And the automobile factory game. Cities and states fall over themselves to give incentives to draw these enterprises, but the payback is minimal, the only people benefiting are the teams/companies themselves.
But ain’t that America, where we rob from our brethren, argue amongst the hoi polloi, and the rich walk straight to the bank.
Tim Leiweke will say he too did the impossible. Revitalized downtown L.A., brought a hockey championship to the city. And I don’t want to minimize his efforts, but Phil wasn’t always on board with them, and Tim never realized he didn’t own AEG. He acted like he did, but he didn’t.
As for Farmers Field, you can’t drive in L.A. to begin with. You’re gonna make it worse?
Leiweke strong-armed the government.
But no one reads the newspaper and if they watch TV news, it’s for the robberies and pet rescues.
It’s good we’ve got AEG as a concert promoter. They counterbalance Live Nation.
And Staples Center is far better than the decrepit Forum, at least for now.
Then again, Staples is evidence of our country today. It’s gigantic. There are three levels of skyboxes. The upper deck is so high and so far removed that almost no one can sell it out. Staples makes money, but it’s a lousy place for events.
Whereas the Forum was intimate. After Dolan gets through revitalizing it, will it become the concert destination?
But know that billionaires rule the earth, and we’re just pawns in their game.
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Honestly, based on an article comparing Dodge Dart sales to Honda’s Civic, the advertising might not be working…but thought you would be interested in the Dodge Dart Registry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK_DOJa99oo.
The concept is Kickstarter meets a wedding registry, where family members, friends, etc, fund a piece of the car till it’s paid for. In theory, this should work well with high school and college students…although I haven’t seen any data to back that up. Regardless, Goldenvoice has been doing a layaway plan for Coachella and Stage Coach Festivals and believe they do well with it.
So what do you think about crowd sourcing live event tickets? Will it work?
Since you still haven’t seen a recap of Aspen Live 2012 yet (you can always read Lefsetz‘s take now http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2012/12), I figure we can combine the Pollstar and Aspen reports.
Are you going to be @ Pollstar? This is not the year to miss as the keynote speaker is marketing guru and Aspen Live alum Seth Godin.
Also, I’ll be moderating the “Nurturing Mid-Level Festivals” panel at 11am on Thursday, February 7th. Please join us as we explore how these festivals have competed and thrived while others have faltered.