Billboard Touring Conference Gets Underway With Panels on Social Media, Tour and Production Management
Billboard Touring Conference Gets Underway With Panels on Social Media, Tour and Production Management

Billboard Touring Conference
Bill Werde, Editorial Director, Billboard.

The 2011 Billboard Touring Conference kicked off its first morning with a pair of panels that brought together executives, touring managers and producers to talk about some of the current key issues facing bands on the road.

The day began with opening remarks from Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde and Executive Director of Content and Programming for Touring and Live Entertainment Ray Waddell, which touched on some of the successes from the year in touring, such as U2's 360 tour finishing as the highest grossing tour in history during the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Remarks from Pat Lucas, Director of Sales at Showclix, turned the conversation toward the evolution occurring within the ticketing industry, highlighting innovations such as mobile ticketing and incentivized social media promotion, which was discussed in more detail during the first panel of the day, called "How Exactly Will Social Sell Tickets?"

Billboard Touring Conference
Ray Waddell, Executive Director of Content & Programming For Touring and Live Entertainment, Billboard.

Moderating the first discussion was Pinky Gonzalez, Senior Vice President of West Coast Operations at BubbleUp, while the panel included Root Music Doctor of Pages Matt Conn, Vice President of Business at Showclix Jeff White, Executive Vice President/eCommerce at Ticketmaster Kip Levin, Vice President of Music at Reverbnation Nathan Hoy, co-founder and CEO of Songkick Ian Hogarth and Vice President of Marketing at Eventful Holly Anderson.

The panel touched on how innovative marketing schemes that involve fans in decisions -- such as Kiss allowing fans to route their most recent tour -- can engage a fan base and help move tickets, while using apps and programs such as Band Pages within larger platforms like Facebook can help to maximize an artist or venue's social impact while providing them tools that the larger platforms may not offer. Another important discussion involved cross-platform integration, allowing artists to reach as many people over as many social networks as possible with minimal effort, allowing venues and artists to focus on making music and providing a positive fan experience.

Billboard Touring Conference
Pinky Gonzales, SVP, West Coast Operations, BubbleUp Ltd.(standing). Sitting Left to Right:Jeff White, VP of Business Development, ShowClix.Kip Levin, EVP/eCommerce, Ticketmaster. Nathan Hoy, VP of Music, ReverbNation. Ian Hogarth, Co-Founder, CEO, SongKick. Holly Anderson, VP of Marketing, Eventful. Matt Conn, Doctor of Pages, RootMusic.

The second panel, titled "TMs and PMs: Here's What We Really Think About Your Venue, Your Food, Your Fans and Your Event," brought together a cadre of tour managers and production directors to discuss the intricacies and challenges of bringing a big act out on the road. Among those on the panel were Steve Powell, tour manager for Jason Mraz and Avril Lavigne; Max Loubiere, tour director for Billy Joel; Steve Lopez, tour director for Widespread Panic; Steve Lawler, Production Manager for LiveNation; Richard Coble, tour manager for Britney Spears and Mariah Carey; and Jake Berry, production director for U2's 360 tour.

Billboard Touring Conference
Speakers Left to Right: Steve Lawler, Production Manager, Live Nation. Richard Coble, Tour Manager, Britney Spears. Mariah Carrey. Jake Berry, Production Director, U2, Walking with the Dinosaurs (right).

The conversation delved into common issues that the panelists come across during their tours, from the problems of venues that at times are not up to scratch to exactly how to cut expenses when trying to manage a budget. The panel also took a number of questions from Twitter users using the hashtag #bbtouring, including responding to a question about recent stage collapses that claimed a number of lives over the summer, with Berry preferring to point out the industry's long record of safety, attributing the tragedies to freak weather conditions and referencing new health and safety regulations that will be coming into effect shortly.

The Touring Conference continues through tomorrow night, culminating in the Billboard Touring Awards at 8 p.m. More updates will follow throughout the day.

Billboard Touring Conference
Left to Right: Matt Conn, Doctor of Pages, RootMusic. Holly Anderson, VP of Marketing, Eventful. Ian Hogarth, Co-Founder, CEO, SongKick. Nathan Hoy, VP of Music, ReverbNation. Kip Levin, EVP/eCommerce, Ticketmaster. Jeff White, VP of Business Development, ShowClix. Pinky Gonzales, SVP,West Coast Operations, BubbleUP Ltd.

Billboard Touring Conference
Left to Right: Jake Berry, Production Director, U2, Walking with the Dinosaurs. Richard Coble, Tour Manager, Britney Spears. Mariah Carrey. Steve Lawler, Production Manager, Live Nation. Steve Lopez, Tour Manager, Widespread Panic, Max Loubiere, Tour Director, Billy Joel. Steve Powell, Tour Manager, Jason Mraz, Avril Lavigne. Moderator: Jim Lewi, Producer, LiveWorks Events.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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