Posts Tagged ‘Coachella’

LESSONS FROM COACHELLA

April 13, 2015

Coachella fever thundered through Southern California last weekend like a speeding train. And not just in So-Cal, all over the country. Every media outlet imaginable covered the star-studded 3-day music festival outside of Palm Springs, where tickets sell-out in minutes, and if you didn’t attend, you somehow felt left out. So what lessons can we take away from what Goldenvoice has built? Here are three:

  1. Trust – In the Lefsetz Letter’s recent Coachella post, Bob’s first point is the most important, “it’s a matter of trust”. You can say this about any “product”. If you make something great, and can find an audience, that audience will trust that the next thing you bring them is at least worth trying. Goldenvoice has built trust as both superior event producers and music/art curators. Building trust takes vision and guts. Charlie Jones,  one of the C’s in C3 Presents, and producers of  Lollapalooza and  ACL festivals talks about “taking a hickey”. He means losing money the first few times at the wheel. C3  believes in building a great product (acts and experience).  That’s the reason why they can sell their events out without announcing a line-up.
  1. Tenacity – You can’t give-up. Coachella lost money for years. In fact, there probably wouldn’t be a Coachella if it weren’t for AEG Live coming in at the right time with financing and support. Yet Paul, Skip, and Rick had the vision and guts to push on without knowing what the outcome would be… and have been rewarded for it. It is good to second guess yourself, but don’t stop at your first hurdle. Being awesome isn’t easy.
  1. Over Deliver – How do you go beyond your fan/consumer/guest’s expectations? Coachella takes place on the same field in Indio every April, and each year those polo grounds are turned into a sound, visual and social experience unlike any other. I’m not talking about having a Ferris wheel, VIP area, or RFID wristbands (although that can be part of it). That’s easy. It is the whole experience; the art installations, carnival games, the unique venue lighting, the polo field itself, arts and crafts vendors, local food and drinks, the music, how fans are communicated to, staff…basically every touch point needs to “wow”. Are you exceeding expectations?

Next weekend is round two in Indio. See what lessons you can take away to make your next product WOW.

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DODGE DART REGISTRY

January 29, 2013

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?

ASPEN RECAP

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.

 

 

TOP 6 MUSIC EVENT PRODUCERS

March 20, 2012

Below are my picks for the top music “event” producers in the U.S. What do you think?

4 Fini/Kevin Lyman – Kevin and company have built multiple touring brands including WARPED, Country Throwdown and Mayhem by staying true to each events vision.  Not only are fans…well fans of their shows, so are the artist that play them. 

SuperflyBonnaroo (along w/ AC Entertainment and Red Light Management) put Superfly on the national stage and have since added Outside Lands (w/ Another Planet and Red Light) and new to Brooklyn this May, The Great Googa Mooga (“n amusement park of food and drink).  Each year, you can find something new and different at their events.  Walt Disney called this “plussing”, or making the experience better for no reason other than to surprise and delight the audience.  Do you “plus”?

C3Austin City Limits Festival (ACL) and Lollapalooza has three things in common, 1) they are great events, 2) no parking spots for 75,000 guests per day, and 3) are produced by the three C’s that have always put fans and bands first.  Charlie, Charlie and Charles are also familiar with “plussing” which keeps fans coming back year-after-year.  Being chosen to produce President Obama’s 2008 Inauguration ceremony speaks volumes of their experience and knowhow. 

GoldenvoiceCoachella is America’s Music Festival (at least Rock/Alternative).  It has been booked and produced for years with passion and love by Paul, Skip and their team… in a market (LA/Southern California) that is much harder to sell tickets in than you may think.  It is easy to say now that you knew Coachella would be successful, yet it lost money for the first three years (and probably wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t for the vision of the AEG Live management team).  Now they have moved to 2-weekends and added a country festival on the same site, Stagecoach (doing well for years). 

Live Nation/Arthur Fogel, Gerry Barad & CoU2, The Rolling Stones, Bowie, Rush… nothing more to say. 

The Messina Group – Louis Messina and his team just keep hitting them out of the park…ball barks.  Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, George Strait, and they help-out the Goldenvoice team on Stagecoach in So Cal…those are all well produced shows. 

There are plenty more out there for sure (Jazz Fest, Telluride, High Sierra, Voodoo, moe. Down, country and folk festivals everywhere, etc).  These are my tops, what are yours?

 

LONG-TERM VS. SHORT-TERM

September 30, 2009

Every news outlet reported today on GM’s announcement to kill another of their brands, Saturn.  It seemed by everything I’ve read that Penske buying Saturn was a “sure thing”, but seems they’ve had second thoughts.  Now the brand that pulled-off one of the marketing coups of the century, by turning a car recall into a party with their first “Saturn Homecoming”, is closing after 23-years in business.  Guess GM had to make the move, but doesn’t it make you wonder why they were running so much advertising for the brand knowing they could be scuttling it any minute?  That’s what free government money gets you.  No accountability!  Maybe we are seeing a little of that in our business too.

One of the lessons they teach in the military is to “Prioritize Long-Term Over Short-Term Goals”.  They preach the same lessons in most MBA programs I’m sure, although it would seem that the folks on Wall Streethave a little trouble keeping those straight.  Anyway as an example in LT. CMDR. Jon Cannon’s book, “Leadership Lessons of the Navy Seals”, he talks about tracking a dozen terrorists in a particular region of the world.  If the terrorists knew the Seals were watching, they would pull up stakes and move.  If you take out only one or just a few of them by moving too quickly, the troops risk of missing the others and giving them a chance to re-group.  The solution of course is to wait for the opportunity to take out all 12 terrorists simultaneously.

In our business today, we are seeing a lot of short-term versus long-term thinking and this is no way to succeed!  To go back to the military for a second, sure there are times when short-term is all you can think about.  Trying to survive in a fox hole surrounded by enemy troops during the Tet Offensive would probably be one of those times.  But once that enemy has been pushed back past a safe perimeter, it is time for a long-term plan to win the battle…then the war.  That was probably our problem in Vietnam, and now.  The U.S. didn’t understand the loses Ho Chi Minh was willing to take.  They didn’t really calculate how many years the Vietnamese people had been at war, how extensive their tunnels, supply lines and fortifications were.  Instead we just had what we believed was a long-term strategy, “Stop Communism”.   The American people really didn’t understand what that meant. 

Back in the day, record labels let artists take time to develop.  An act wasn’t expected to break until their third or fourth album.  Promoters, managers, and agents used to look at a band and say “in 10-years they will be playing arenas.”  Now we expect that by an artist’s second tour.  Jazz Fest, Coachella, Warped Tour, all great businesses that we admire.  All lost money for their first few years.  Sure we all get lucky sometimes as Tom Petty once said, but mapping out your long-term goals with those you work with will give everyone a sense of purpose and direction.  Bump in the road, you can change course but the long-term plan is still the mission.  There is nothing worse for moral than your team hearing about your company’s plans, directions, new products, etc, from someone other than you.  How many times lately have you heard from employees at certain companies, “what do I know, I only work here?”

Quarterly earnings are for chumps.  Sure leaders have to pay attention to them, especially at a publically held company.  But for a second think about the beginning of Jack Welch’s tenure at General Electric.  Forget whether you think he did a good job, whether he cooked the books, whatever.  At first, Welch was far from the shoe-in for the job.  Once he got the job, he was going to take GE in places it had never been before and at the same time sell-off parts of the company that made them who they were (such as small appliances).  Selling Wall Street on Welch’s long-term plans for GE wasn’t easy.  You can imagine the look on investor’s faces the first time they heard the words “GE Capital”.  Making investors and Wall Street believe in his long-term plan is exactly what Welch did.  He showed how with investment (we won’t call in sacrifice) in the future… and education to his team, the street, investors, the press, and anyone who would listen, the long-term goals of transforming GE could be achieved thereby making it more profitable for years to come.   

No reason why you can’t try that today.  Instead of the accounting person in your office asking for your yearly or quarterly numbers…how about a 5-year plan?  And not just the numbers, but how you plan on achieving those numbers?  When Michael Rapino first took over what is now Live Nation he spoke a lot about “value proposition”.  Michael told us how he was going to re-invest in the customer experience.  Then Wall Street and quarterly numbers got in the way and the new message became…”well everyone has at least one or two artists they want to see in a year”.  I don’t know about you, but the Value Proposition stuff sounds better to me. 

Speak with you soon…

Jim

NEWS YOU CAN USE

March 25, 2009

Redlight Leaves a Light On

Industry veteran Nick Light has joined Coran Capshaw’s Redlight Management team and will be heading up their touring division.  Nick spent the last bunch of years as VP of Touring and Artist development for Warner Bros.,  before doing a quick layover at Sony as part of the Rick Rubin restructuring.  We are glad it didn’t take long for Nick to resurface. 

Matlins CMO At Live Nation

Old news for sure at this point, but as mentioned as a rumor in one of our newsletters a few months back, Seth Matlins is now officially the Chief Marketing Officer for Live Nation.  Seth comes from CAA where he was one of the leaders of their marketing divsion working with brands such as Coke, eBay, Harley Davidson and Starwood Hotels (that’s probably why Starwood is now the official hotel chain for Live Nation).  Hats off to Live Nation for the effort…and good luck to Seth. 

Layaway For All

Turns out that the ticket layaway plan we’ve discussed a few times in the newsletter that AEG’s festival division is doing for their Stagecoach Country Music Festival is actually being implemented across all of their festivals.  So, fans can buy tickets and “pay as you go” for Coachella, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Mile High, Bumbershoot, and Rothbury festivals.  Nice job!  Innovation is the key to the success and growth of Live Entertainment.

U2’s New Stage

Speaking of innovation, U2 is headed back out this summer…and back into stadiums.  Their rig looks just amazing!!!  http://360.u2.com/  This is innovation…bringing a show to the people.  Say what you want about the band, this is really cool!

How Will We Build New Arena Acts?

You hear this question over and over again…and yet we aren’t paying attention.  Nine Inch Nails, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Nickleback, Greenday, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, Hanna Montana…all play arenas.  Wake-up…keep building. 

Speak with you soon…

Jim

BRANDED LIVE ENTERTAINMENT PART 2

February 14, 2009

The “Eyeballs…Millions of Them” along with “YourBrandsOurFans.com” campaign that we spoke about in the last newsletter were both dreamed-up by Skip Paige from Goldenvoice/AEG-Live.  You may know Skip from Coachella and Stagecoach festivals, but Skip now heads up AEG-Live’s whole festival division.  Hats off to Skip and his team for their efforts! 

But you don’t have to be as big as AEG and play to millions of fans to participate.  We can see examples of Live Entertainment and brands partnering on a much smaller level with multiple returns on both sides. 

For example, think about how much it costs an artist per week to tour with a bus…at least $5000 (and I’m being very conservative).  The bus lease, fuel, permits, driver’s pay, hotel rooms and per diems, washes, maintenance, over-drives, parking, laundry, etc, really adds up.  So artist Donavon Frankenreiter and Verizon Wireless went into partnership.  Orchestrated by Q Prime Management, the deal is great for all.  It gives Donavon, his band and crew a place to live while on tour, saving tens of thousands.  At the same time it provides Donavon well needed tour marketing through radio and online (that I’m aware of).  Verizon gets to promote its association with Donavon, give away tickets, wrap his bus and trailer (see below), backstage meet-n-greets and more to fans… brought to them by the brand.  This is a win-win!!!

Donavon / Verizon Partner

Branded Live Entertainment is growing up…becoming more of a two-way street.  Say goodbye to sponsorship and hello to your new partners in Live.

Talk with you soon…

Jim

EYEBALLS…MILLIONS OF THEM

February 12, 2009

“Eyeballs…Millions of Them”…with a festival stage and crowd shot caught my eye immediately in the pages of BrandWeek.  The ad goes on; “We are the largest producer of music festivals in North America”.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, this is an ad for AEG-Live’s festival division.   Their roster now includes;  All Points West, Bumbershoot, Coachella, Hootenanny, Mile High Music Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage, Rock on the Range, Rockfest, Rothbury, Sunfest, and Stagecoach Country Music Fesitval.  The first time I saw the ad, I didn’t write about it.  But once AEG-Live bought the back cover of the February 2nd issue, I saw they were committed to reaching out for corporate partners.   

One of the 5 topics thrown out for discussion for the first meeting of “The Aspen Dinner Club” will be “Where Will We Get The Money To Develop Music Artists In The Future?”.  Btw, the club is meeting on March 5th @ 7:30 pm in each city.  Thanks to Ron Laffitte, it looks like we have a location for LA, Village Pizzaria on Larchmont in Hancock Park…other cities’ locations TBD.  Fact is, we will need to look to brands as partners more and more.  Live Entertainment needs to transform itself into Branded Live Entertainment.  AEG-Live seems to understand this and is marketing in BrandWeek where their competitors aren’t.  This a a recipe to win.

Brands are looking for new ways to cut through clutter.  Live Entertainment has so many touch-points throughout the on-sale, marketing, show, and after-show process, that corporations will see the light if you can show them the ROI we can generate!  Between the media value, data, media impressions, live impressions, sales-leads, celebrity association, etc, Live has a lot to offer.  We  just have to reach-out to brands as partners rather than just asking for sponsorship money.  Times are tough That’s when the best innovation happens.  That’s when you have to start working outside your comfort zone.  Look, the NBA just lifted its ban on hard liquor sponsors court-side.  What are you doing?

Talk with you soon…

Jim