Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

COMPARISON ADS

February 2, 2010

Happy New Year!  At some point I will write a Newsletter (which also appears on my Facebook page, etc) on why I haven’t been writing newsletters recently…but not now.  Today I want to rip-off some more business’s  advertising ideas.

Have you seen the Allstate Insurance TV spots where they compare their competitor’s prices to Allstate’s?  We could do the same type of ads comparing money a consumer spends on a video game…or trip to the movies that one thinks is so inexpensive…or going out to dinner, etc, to going to a live event or purchasing music.  The comparisons don’t and shouldn’t be limited to a financial message, since our ticket prices aren’t exactly cheap…and we all have seen what younger consumers think the value of recorded music should be.

There probably isn’t a person alive today that doesn’t mark important times or periods in their lives…good or bad, with a song or piece of music.  Many of remember decades by the type of music prominent at the time… 70’s Rock, 80’s New Wave and Punk, etc.  Do you think the casual gamer has the first game they ever owned…although I am very sentimental to Pong?  But you never forget your first concert.  Now that I’ve taken my 12-year old Gwen to a few, she told me she wants me to take her to as many live shows as I can.  Gwen is now hooked on live music!

Experiment…in your next ad, instead of the same old music video, new single, and frame with the B.S. “call to action”, try comparing going to a Zac Brown Band concert (just an example since I’m a fan and we were talking about him in the office today) to going to a movie.  It’s a no brainer for a consumer after that.  Price is very comparable… Zac is only in town a few times a year at most…it is fun, communal …you can go with friends…you can meet members of the opposite sex, that show will only happen once as no-show is exactly the same…but the movie and theatre aren’t going anywhere…just to name a few. 

Hope to hear from you on the subject.  Let me know what you come up with.  Also, the movie trailer concept is something we all should consider.  More on that in the Aspen Live wrap-up which will be headed your way shortly.

Have a great day!

Jim Lewi

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WARNING – SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION!

April 6, 2009

Most readers know the LiveWorks Newsletter is not about promoting our festivals, events, and tours.  At the same time,  The Great American Food & Music Fest  (http://www.greatamericanfoodandmusicfest.com )is newsworthy, something we are very proud of, and want you to know about it…tell your friends…and come to the event yourself!

The best festival style “family friendly” event that I can think of in America is C3’s Austin City Limits Music Festival.  These guys make it relatively comfortable to bring your family to a very large event and have a good time.  Yes the venue is amazing…but so is the talent schedule, tag-a kid program, local food options, prices, number of water stations, bathrooms, and entertainment choices in general (even sand to play in).  What if you could combine the best elements of ACL ; what we learned over the years touring the amphitheatres; youthful summer memories of the Saratoga Jazz Festival (food, fun, family, friends…and music, just like ACL); the rock star status that celebrity chefs have taken on; and the best of the best of all- American Food (hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, BBQ, ice cream, etc)?  You would get The Great American Food & Muisc Fest.  Below is how the professional would (did) write it…

The Great American Food and Music Fest ,  a one-day event celebrating the rich traditions of classic American fare and music, will be held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on Saturday, June 13, 2009.  It will be hosted by chef and Food Network personality Bobby Flay.

At the festival legendary purveyors of classic American food, celebrity chefs and extraordinary musicians will come together for the first time ever, at an affordable price.  Some of the most acclaimed culinary establishments in the country will be on-site to serve their specialties, including:  Pink’s Hot Dogs (LA), Barney Greengrass (NYC), Graeter’s Ice Cream  (Cincinnati),  Southside Market Barbecue (Texas), Anchor Bar (Buffalo, NY; inventor of Buffalo wings), and Tony Luke’s Cheesesteaks (Philadelphia). In addition, some of the Bay Area’s best food establishments will be featured along with great American wines and specialty cocktails.

The culinary presentations will be augmented by live music from Little Feat, Marshall Crenshaw, and jazz, blues, and swing outfit Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, among many others. The full line-up will be announced shortly. In addition to Flay, there will also be a gathering of other food world notables, including the star of the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, & DivesGuy Fieri.

Tickets for the event will be available for sale beginning April 5th and can be purchased at LiveNation.com, Blockbuster Video locations, and the Shoreline Amphitheatre box office. There are a number of ticket options available for the event to make it accessible to everyday food lovers without breaking the bank. General admission starts at $35 inclusive of all service charges and includes your first plate of food for free. 

Well I hope to see you there!

Speak with you soon…

Jim

“IF I WERE…MICHAEL RAPINO

December 1, 2008

You can call me a sucker.  I bought Live Nation stock when it was at $20.  Friday it was trading at $4.89.  So why when Live Nation CEO, Michael Rapino had just announced that the company’s third quarter numbers were up significantly over 2007 would the stock price actually slip?  If you were to take out the sale of Live Nation’s motor sports division to Feld Entertainment, they were still up.  So why did the stock fall, and what can our friend Michael do to restore confidence on Wall Street?

In talking to friends who have also looked at the numbers, Wall Street just doesn’t seem to believe in Live Nation’s business model as it currently stands.  Their margins are just too small for analysts, investors, and if you own your own business, probably you too.  When Michael Rapino first took over as CEO of Live Nation, he spoke in public about the consumer’s “value proposition”.  Michael told us at conferences about his plans to make the “amphitheater experience” better.  He talked about food selection, price, the potential of taking out ARAMARK, etc.  Then what happened?  The realities of running a public company, quarterly numbers, and the like must have set-in.   That customer experience stuff was not heard about again.  Instead Live Nation’s message shifted to branding (Live Nation, Artist Nation, Fan Nation, House of Blues, Fillmore, etc), an international platform for brands to reach consumers (e.g. the Citi deal), and deals with Madonna, U2, and of course Carrot Top (just seeing if you were paying attention).  Brands, bands, and fans you might say.  Problem is the fans are last in this equation.  Now you add the Ticketmaster Entertainment scenario in there just for shits and giggles and it really becomes a migraine for Michael.

We will stay away from the Ticketmaster in this letter and just focus on Live Nation and Michael.  Starting with Jack Welch?  Well, Jack may be a business leader from the past, but his brave steps to form GE Capital and move General Electric away from less profitable businesses the company was known for such as small appliances (toasters, can openers, etc) make for a good example of what Michael and company need to do.  Live Nation needs to show Wall Street a plan and a leader that will get the company to the goal line.  So without further B.S., here are some of the things I would do…”If I were Michael Rapino”

·     HIRE SOMEONE FROM DISNEY PARKS TO RUN VENUE OPS – There needs to be a complete overhaul of everything (employee training, venue maintenance, F&B, VIP programs, ticketing, parking, security, transportation, etc).

·     BRING IN A CMO FROM A FORTUNE 500 COMPANY – Certainly Live Nation has its share of marketing pros to count on (Jim’s from the East, Brad in the West, Lulu in Texas, etc), but what our business needs is are marketers that are used to dealing with big ad agencies, big brands, big budgets, and have worked for publicly traded companies.

·     HIRE A CUSTOMER SERVICE CZAR – Disney, Ritz Carlton, Nordstrom, and other customer service culture oriented companies are great places to look.  Live Nation should stand for customer service.

·     TICKETING, OK I’M BREAKING MY PROMISE – Live Nation’s new ticketing system should bring them greater revenues from ticketing… in theory.  But with Ticketmaster Entertainment now owning a management company that supplies so much talent to Live Nation venues, Live Nation’s ticketing is looking much more complicated.  As stated in earlier LiveWorks Newsletters, Irving Azoff is an artist manager first and foremost.  So as an example, both Irving and his partner Howard Kaufman know that their client Jimmy Buffett is probably better suited to play outdoors.  The company Irving now runs makes out better (at first look anyway) if Buffett plays indoors.  Will Buffett play the amphitheaters next summer?  If he does, where do you think all the extra ticketing money Live Nation might be making on their new deal will be going???  Do you think ticket surcharges are going to go down?  Is it too late to talk to Irving about getting Barry Diller to buy LN out of their ticketing commitment???  Just asking.

·     MARKET THE EXPERIENCE – Maybe I sound like a broken record, but in this case LN has something special.  I believe strongly in the amphitheater experience… at least the old one.  Yes, for acts that carry huge productions, they may not be the best places to play.  But for the fan experience, when done right, there is noting like seeing a concert outdoors.  Just ask a Buffett, Dave Matthews, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty, James Taylor, Warped Tour, or any other artists’ fan that has frequented the “sheds” over the years.  Same can be said for many Live Nation clubs.  Have your newly hired CMO come up with some kick-ass marketing that reminds fans how much fun it is to be at a concert with your friends, family, etc.  It brings people together.  Gives them something to share.  That’s why fans buy the event shirt.  So they can show all their friends they were there.

·     FORBID PAPERING – Papering a show (giving away free tickets for gig that doesn’t sell) or selling-off lawn tickets for $10 after the show goes on-sale should not be allowed at any Live Nation show.  As Gene Simmons put it in his Keynote at the Billboard Touring Conference, “it is like letting the fox into the hen house” (can’t believe I just quoted Gene).   Fans find out about these things real fast, and the ones that paid full-price this time will wait for the free tickets or the fire sale the next time the act is through.

·     HIRE A CHIEF TECH OFFICER – This isn’t an IT guy.  This is someone like Joe Rospars.  Joe ran the tech side of Obama’s campaign, while the company he founded with his partners, Blue State Digital was responsible for the online fundraising.  Live Nation needs someone that can speak to music fans and figure out a way get those fans to help make new ones.  Fact is, in 2003 when Ann Marie Wilkins called me to contribute to Obama’s Senate run in Illinois, I had never heard of him.  He is now President Elect of the United States.  In early 2007, most Americans still hadn’t heard of our new President.  Guys like Joe can do a lot for our business.

·     BUY METROPOLITAN AND JAM – I know they certainly don’t want to sell to you and you may not want to buy them, but John, Jerry and Arny are all legends in our business with great relationships your people don’t necessarily have.  Do you really need one more competitor in markets that has seen nothing but turbulence?  Imagine the artists you could potentially promote in NY and Chicago with those guys on your side.  This seems like a no brainer to me…other than getting them to do it.

·     GO ON A ROAD SHOW – All of the above cost money and in the short term, earnings will suffer.  This could be hard for investors and analysts alike to swallow but you must remain strong.  Put a plan into place and then go out on the road and sell it to your entire staff, local “town hall meetings” and finally, Wall Street.  But don’t just go to NY.  Speak with analysts, traders, and business leaders in every community you do business in.  Let consumers see a face to Live Nation.

·     PRICES – We all know that on top of tickets, the prices for concessions, parking and merchandise are just too high.  With that said, it is funny that an act will make a comment on stage about the price of a beer, popcorn, or parking at a Live Nation venue but won’t say a word about those same prices (or even higher) in the arena.  Why is this?  In many cases, the fans feel ripped-off, and the bands feel they are being ripped-off.  This is a huge perception problem.  The answer is probably going to have to be a combination of dropping your prices to increase volume and positive PR in the short term.  Long range, we need to work on the “value proposition” because for whatever reason, our fans seem to have a problem with the $8 parking at your venue while football fans pay at least twice that and don’t seem to complain.

We have probably covered enough.  Again, my disclaimer is that I’m a Monday morning quarterback.  I don’t have to sit in Michael’s shoes everyday.  But I do feel that Jack Welch’s example is a good one here.  If you are really in this for the long term Michael, some of what is written above just might make sense to you.  To bring the live business back to health we need to think less about gross and more about number of tickets sold.  In the long run, getting more fans through the doors to experience live entertainment is the only way to win.  The concept of fewer bodies at a higher ticket price can only work for some acts and for so long.

Talk with you soon…

Jim