Facebook concert discovery app BandsInTown, which claims to power tour listings for more than 100,000 artists and track even more, commissioned Insight Strategy Group to conduct a survey that turned up some intriguing results regarding live music fans and their ticket buying habits.
Insight conducted an online survey of about 1,800 music fans age 16-59 who are active Internet and Facebook users and had paid to see live music in the past year. Respondents were nationally representative in terms of their demographic profiles, and responses were weighted to ensure accurate segment sizing. The goal was to break down today's live music fan: who they are, their concert-going behavior, and what is important to them.
"We were very interested in learning how people hear about concerts, and we were quite surprised [by the results]," says Julien Mitelberg, CEO of BandsInTown and its parent company, Cellfish. "Today, people are expecting to hear about concerts by receiving information, not going to look for information. They expect to get the information from Twitter, the artist's Twitter account, the artist's Facebook account, an e-mail from Ticketmaster, or any other thing they subscribe to, [with] Facebook being the number one place they receive information from."
For BandsInTown, Insight first conducted qualitative Facebook ethnographies followed by a nationwide quantitative segmentation survey with concert-goers and Bandsintown users. The results report largely focuses on the quantitative data, but does include qualitative data, as well.
Insight segmented the two main drivers for going to concerts for consumers, those being the social experience and the musical experience, or for many fans, both.
Taking into account both the social and musical aspects of attending a concert, the online survey splits fans into five distinct segments, offering insight into how tour marketers can effectively target each one and increase event sales and related revenue. The groups are Super Fans, Plugged-Indies, Soloists, Dedicated Diehards, and Tag-Alongs.
Among the revelations: 83% of Super Fans buy tickets in advance, 35% at on-sale, and only 6% at the door; 88% of Super Fans and 85% of Plugged Indies use Facebook, and 89% and 79% of them, respectively, will update their status about the concert. The overwhelming majority of Super Fans, Diehards and Plugged Indies are all willing to pay more for a better concert experience.
The most influential groups-Super Fans and Plugged-Indies-are the most engaged with social media, often visiting Facebook more than once per day and most likely to post about the shows they attend. However, even the most engaged fans prefer to receive "push" notifications such as Facebook posts and email blasts about upcoming shows rather than search out that information themselves on artist or event websites.
Mitelberg says Google search trends for concerts are decreasing because of this change. "That's great, because that's exactly how BandsInTown works," he says. "We help artists make sure fans will never miss knowing about a show, whether we are sending information via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail."
For more analysis of the Insight Strategy Group survey for BandsInTown, check out the On The Road column in Friday's issue of Billboard. Digital strategies and concert discovery will be one of the primary topics discussed at the 9th Annual Billboard Touring Conference Nov. 7-8 in New York City.