In August, as OneRepublic took the stage at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside of Denver with the Colorado Symphony, giant monitors displayed what appeared to some fans to be too good to be true: a phone number for the band.
“Hey it’s OneRepublic!” read the message to roughly 2,000 fans who tried texting the number that night in the sold-out 9,500-seat venue. “This is an autotext to let you know we got your text. From now on it will be us. Make sure you click the link and add yourself to our contacts so we can text you back.”
As a result, the band racked up contact information and locations for most of those attendees, to whom it can now sell concert tickets, merch and music directly by sending text messages to the specific groups -- or even the individuals -- who might be most likely to respond. “We captured over 20% of our audience at Red Rocks and immediately had so much more engagement than we've ever had with Instagram and Twitter,” Ryan Tedder, the lead singer of OneRepublic, told Billboard. “Nobody else should have your fan's information other than you -- the fact that Facebook owns all of it and we can't have access to it unless we want to pay exorbitant fees is ridiculous.”