Got a bright ideas for using technology to increase attendance at gigs?

Joining the Dots is looking for 21st century ideas using digital technology to get more people to gigs and spend more when they are there!

In depth insights canvassed from people across the music industry point to three key areas of focus. All this week we’ll be looking at them in more details – starting with tech and live revenue.

Joining the Dots is focusing on three key area:

  • New financial models for touring and commissioning
  • Developing younger audiences for specialist music
  • Using technology to increase live income

We want to encourage the developing of digital connections in live performance to help everyone involved make more money.

So how can we make better use of digital technology to encourage more people to go to gigs, or to spend more on merchandise – or something else? If we’d launched Joining the Dots a few years ago, we might have been talking about people buying a live download of the gig as they left the building, but what’s the answer now?

  • Can we increase income through a clever new app? One that an artist or venue can customise to make it look bespoke?
  • Could content-based venue membership or loyalty schemes drive up income and attendance?
  • Can artists create new immersive audience experiences? Is that the route from free online consumption to paid attendance?

Technology is revolutionising how people consume, discover and share music. But in the last few months some of the biggest names in music including have been questioning what’s in it for the artist? Recording revenues for both artists and labels are in steep decline. Is it now too late to negotiate a fair deal from streaming? Or is it actually too early too early to say?

Others are very optimistic about the times we’re in. Songwriter and BBC 6Music presenter Tom Robinson believes that crowdfunding gives artists incredible artistic autonomy. He says: “For the first time, it’s possible to independently make a record – to which you own the entire rights – completely free of debt. After fulfilling the pledges, every copy sold is sheer profit.”

It’s more important than ever to be entrepreneurial, to find new ways to innovate, to monetise creativity and digital content and connect with new audiences – not only to augment revenue streams but because successive generations of music fans expect a closer relationship with the bands they follow.

Organisations like Songkick and Kickstarter are also working hard to exploit and augment music fans’ digital engagement with the artists they love. The people behind Gigzine were asked to consider how fans will engage with concerts in the not so distant future. As a result an interactive live experience where fans can influence the set and connect directly with the band was developed.

But at the same time plenty of artists (the non-natives amongst us) who are struggling to keep up with digital developments, never mind pioneer new ways of using them. The overwhelming majority of artists are self-employed or running small businesses and having to build their own websites and do their own marketing on top of everything else. It’s an issue Rachel Nelken, the Arts Council‘s relationship manager (music), is familiar with; “A lot of the artists and producers I’m speaking to are feeling out of the loop. Joining the Dots will be invaluable in helping to open up new opportunities for smaller organisations and artists working by themselves.”

Crowdfunding pioneer Henrietta Norton sees the opportunities. “Technology is often seen as something potentially destructive.” Whereas in fact she believes that by “.. allowing our audiences to feel part of the creative process and get behind the scenes, people feel more excited when they come to the live event.

A challenge laid down by who, in the Virgin Disruptors debate on technology and music, said: “How you make your money… is up to your imagination”.

If you’ve got an idea involving digital technology and the music industry and you think you can get it off the ground with funding and expert support then please apply to Joining the Dots. Have a look at our Joining the Dots FAQs for more info.

And if you think your Joining the Dots idea might fall under the new models for touring and commission or building younger audiences category then keep a look out for our in-depth blogs on these topics coming later this week.