Raising awareness for concerts and music-related events among fans is an ongoing challenge for those in the music business. A discussion about how to best reach concertgoers was the topic of yesterday's (Nov. 15) "You Oughta Know" panel at the Billboard Touring Conference in New York.

Leading the conversation was Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman, whose summer punk-rock festival this year grossed about $18.6 million and sold 622,467 tickets to 45 shows, according to the promoter. After 13 years of trial and error, Lyman has discovered the key to keeping Warped Tour fans -- by slowly releasing the artist lineup.

While choosing "artists who are diamonds in the rough" to perform on the annual trek, Lyman noted, "I've learned from my audience that I don't lead with my big headliners" when launching the tour's promotion campaign. "I'll announce five bands; probably smaller bands on smaller stages," he said, noting that the method creates significant word-of-mouth buzz among fans.

Another useful strategy in reaching fans is by continuously drawing them to the artist's Web site. For Bon Jovi's recent 10 sold out concerts at Newark, N.J.'s Prudential Center, the band simply put up a billboard in the market that read bonjovi.com. Bon Jovi manager Paul Korzilius said the key purpose for the billboard was to draw fans to the Web site, where they can receive updates about the act's touring and album activities.

As another way to promote bonjovi.com, Korzilius provided Yahoo, MSN and AOL with exclusive video content to post on their respective Web sites. Not only do the videos help promote the band's upcoming tour and current album, "Lost Highway," the manager said, but they also push fans back to bonjovi.com.

Prince is another artist attempting to reach fans through creative methods. Leading up to his recent 21 sold-out concerts at London's O2 Arena, Prince angered retailers by pre-releasing his latest album "Planet Earth" in an issue of U.K. newspaper The Mail on Sunday.

But the method was affective in reaching fans. "It wasn't an expensive thing to do and the music got everywhere," said Paul Gongaware, co-CEO of Concerts West, a touring division of AEG Live. "The idea was to get the music to the people."

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