THE PRICE OF ADMISSION

Sorry it has been a while since the last LiveWorks Newsletter.  To make sure subscribers didn’t receive another old newsletter from our FeedBurner account (for those of you not familiar, our feed system for newsletter subscribers sends out old posts whenever I don’t write for more than a day), I deactivated our system while away and will continue to do so whenever I don’t post for more than one day until we figure out how to fix the problem or import our subscriber list to another subscription feed service.  If you have tried to subscribe to the LiveWorks Newsletter in the past and it wouldn’t work, please try again by clicking on the following link  Subscribe to LiveWorks Newsletter by Email.  Once you subscribe you will receive a verification email.  You must respond to this email in order to start receiving the newsletter.

As many readers may know, since last Tuesday I’ve been in Aspen, Colorado, hosting the 14th Annual Aspen Live Conference.  Although we covered many topics in our eight-plus hours of meetings and debate, the most important message to come out for me was… BRING THE PRICE FOR ADMISSION DOWN AND THE EXPERIENCE UP!

In past newsletters I’ve talked about early concert experiences at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center or SPAC.  My friends and I went to almost every concert each summer because the venue was so special to us, and we could afford to go.  In Aspen last week, Don Strasburg broke-it-down to an even simpler formula of “opposite sex + friends + cool place to hang out + affordable experience = crowded venue” (I’m paraphrasing here so please excuse me Don if I didn’t get it right).  When Don said that, I realized that some things will never change (as much as they change), and Don’s theory had merit.  After all, when we were young, we didn’t go to see Loverboy, REO and others at SPAC because they were our favorite bands, we went because it was $7 for a lawn seat and we knew that the experience at the venue would be great.  So Jay Scavo brought up the concept of a venue season pass to help develop artists.

Season passes are nothing new to the live entertainment business.  Amusement parks, sports teams, recreational areas (such as ski mountains and beaches), and performing arts centers have had season passes for decades, so why can’t you?  Yes there are hurdles to overcome such as artist compensation for season pass holder’s tickets and the potential for no-shows from those tickets… but there is simply nothing that can’t be negotiated when the deal is put together.

Don Strasburg tried an experiment for our group.  He made-up four season passes to the Fox Theater in Boulder, CO and put them on-sale on the club’s website for $400 per pass.  With no advertising, no email blasts, and only a post on The Fox’s website, Don’s four season passes sold-out in less than an hour.  Sell enough of these and you have a very healthy business going.  If season pass holders want to go to a show that is sure to sell-out or at least do well, they will need to put in their orders by a certain deadline or their tickets will be released for general sale.  Difficult, yes…impossible, no way.

Do you have a season pass for your shows?  How about a low-priced “starter rate”?  If not, it might be time to start thinking about ways to compensate everyone and show fans real value.  Two-for -ones, discounted tickets, and the like only devalue your show’s brand, but the venues, promoters, and more.  Create a season pass, discounts and loyalty programs, or simply lower the price of admission and watch your numbers go up.

Talk with you soon…

Jim

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