Bandsintown's live music app, which allows artists to enter their shows (and display them automatically on Facebook and elsewhere), and sends their fans push notifications via apps, Facebook, Twitter, and email when their favorite bands are going to play in their area, shared a number of impressive findings with Evolver.fm (full presentation below).
Two things impressed us most. First, Bandsintown now claims to be the top live music app, as concert-related keywords have been declining on Google Trends for the past four years. Any time people start receiving more information about something through "push" technology (i.e. your phone or computer tells you about something you want to know without you asking it) than by actively "pulling" it from Google, our ears perk up. As things stand, Bandsintown sends more people to Facebook artist pages than Google does.
Push technology, like so many other fads in the late '90s (remember Pointcast?), was supposed to change everything. In the case of live music ticket sales, that has now happened, and Bandsintown says it's at the forefront.
"Mobile notification is reinventing 'push' in a better way," explained Bandsintown CEO Julien Mitelberg, also co-founder and chief operating officer of Cellfish, which acquired Bandsintown last September. "Our notifications are sent via Facebook or the mobile app, [or email] and the open rate is very high… It doesn't take up your whole screen, and it's very high value. [People expect this] to the point that people are extremely upset when Bandsintown is missing a show. They expect us to tell them, now, so we are obsessed."
To avoid those gaps, the company receives feeds from all ticketing companies in the world; partners with event date publishers in the music industry; asks artists who use Bandsintown on their websites and Facebook pages to add the information; and soon, plans to launch a venue app as well, so that when the first three methods fail, venues can make sure their shows are listed in order to get in on that traffic.
"There are a couple of other apps out there like SongKick, but we believe we are number one, and we're growing quickly," added Mitelberg. Bandsintown drives approximately one million ticket sales every month, at venues all over the world, sending a billion impressions for concerts to fans.
Second, Bandsintown conducted a study through the market research firm Insight, identifying five types of live music fan, which you can check out in the above image (see also slide five below, which shows more about who these people are and how much they spend).
For two types of sought-after music fans -- SuperFans (mostly female fans who spend $85 on the average ticket for 16 shows per year and are "the most social and most invested in music [and] attend the most shows and have mainstream taste") and PluggedIndies (mostly male fans who spend $46 on an average ticket for 13 shows per year and are "extremely invested and knowledgeable about music, but also enjoy the social experience -- go to lots of shows, and have very indie taste") -- one thing stood out: They would be willing to pay for extras when they go to shows.
They don't mean those annoying "convenience" fees, which charge fans for doing some light cashier work, parking their cars, or that sort of thing. This is more the bespoke, Kickstarter-style stuff like chatting with the band for five minutes after the show or getting an exclusive tour EP signed by the drummer.
Bandsintown is going to start actually selling these extras themselves. So when a fan finds out about the show on any Bandsintown platform, in addition to clicking through to Ticketmaster, Ticketfly, or any other reseller, they'll be able to tack on those weirder, Kickstarter-style extras, which Bandsintown will work directly with artists to sell in the form of a separate ticket or wristband to unlock the extra experience.
Indeed, the lesson of Kickstarter should teach us at least one thing: People want to buy weird stuff like a living room concert from their favorite artist, a producer credit on an album, an autographed album, and other non-uniform treats. What Bandsintown found is that the same applies in a live setting. And that's another reason we found this study to be so interesting: The company that commissioned it is taking action based on the results.
Here's the study: