While many working Americans took the day off to prepare for Thanksgiving on Nov. 22, the folks at Live Nation Labs, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, were busy dealing with the aftermath of their newly re-launched LiveNation.com.
"It's the day before Thanksgiving for everyone else in America, but it's the day after launch for us," Live Nation Labs co-founder/LiveNation.com GM Eric Garland tells Billboard.biz. "Everyone is here and running around with their hair on fire. Reminds me of some John Hughes movie."
LiveNation.com quietly re-launched on Nov. 20 with the sleek feel of an iPhone app. Live Nation believes the revamp will encourage music fans to visit the site on a more frequent basis through a host of new features its providing in the areas of social media and mobile. The website also boasts a newly designed logo with the accompanying tagline: "One Nation Under Music."
Garland, whose media tracking and technology compay BigChampagne was acquired by Live Nation last December, says the re-launch was more about increasing user visits by enhancing the live music experience and less about trying to sell more concert tickets.
"It started in conversations between [Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino] and me about a more engaged fanbase and how to provide fans with a place to celebrate their passion for live music," he says. "The goal is now to get them to stay and come more often. My first concern is not whether they buy a ticket. It's a huge win for us with fans and for the business if they merely get in the habit of sharing their passion and experiences with our community."
Here's a sampling of some new features on LiveNation.com:
The Concert Countdown feature does exactly what its title suggests: it's a clock on an event page that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to the upcoming event. The feature also provides a button to purchase tickets and share that experience with friends on Twitter or Facebook. "Before the actual day of the show, there's never really been a way to socialize or share that participation," Garland says. "The idea of Concert Countdown was to turn your first awareness of the show - whether it's the on-sale, the announcement or buying the ticket -- into something you can share and own."
The ShowBook feature allows LiveNation.com users to upload their own concert photos to the site, thereby creating a more personalized and engaging relationship with those who visit the site. The new LiveNaton.com also aggregates fan photos from such social platforms as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. ShowBook is a key part of the site's mobile strategy, "intended to be a better place to find and participate in a community of fans who love the things you do," Garland says.
REVAMPED SHOW FINDER
Garland says he's fully aware that the primary reason people visit LiveNation.com is to find event information or buy tickets. So the simplest upgrade to the site is the search engine to find concerts and events in your area. "The old LiveNation.com took nearly five seconds to return a search result if you used the search bar," he says. "We're down in the tenths of one second, in terms of search performance on the new site. That sounds like a small thing, but it's really important when you're talking about a utility." Those who register to the site, he says, will be provided with event recommendations and inform users about what events their friends are attending.
ONE NATION CHANNEL
One Nation is a video channel of original content, featuring everything from live performances to artist interviews. The video content will also appear on relevant artist, concert and venue pages. "What we're trying to do with One Nation is create the things that give real intimacy and create exchanges between artist and fans," Garland says. The channel will eventually allow artists to communicate directly with fans via short videos about an upcoming tour or new album. In turn, fans will be able to respond with videos of their own. "So you get these conversations going back and forth between artists and fans," he says.
Meanwhile, Garland says improvements and tweaks will be made to LiveNation.com on a daily basis. And look out for new features in the near future. "We won't stand still for very long," he says.