Gilt City, the local lifestyle offshoot of shopping site Gilt.com, offers its 7 million-plus members access to unique events, from concerts and exhibits to fashion and shopping. The site — which last year packaged some 60 events in 13 cities-is already in the music space: It offers special seating at concerts, and its specially curated events include its annual “Better Than Backstage” party at Lollapalooza, a rooftop pool party for Gilt City members featuring one of the festival bands (this year’s event featured Columbia synth-pop duo MS MR).
In September, Gilt City will partner with Gloria Estefan to host the company’s first album launch, a Los Angeles event to celebrate “The Standards.” The occasion is part of a bigger Estefan package that also includes special offerings at Miami locations and events frequented by Estefan.
“We are speaking with labels to work more closely with album launches, but this will be our inaugural one,” says H.L. Ray, director of Gilt City’s Entertainment Group. “We are definitely increasing the number of events we do in the music space.”
In Estefan’s case, the goal was to drive awareness for “The Standards,” and having Estefan guest-curate Miami offerings was a natural. But Ray took it a step further by proposing an actual album launch where fans will be treated to a Q&A with Estefan and receive a signed copy of her new album. Discussions for an acoustic set are underway.
The launch party will sell for between $50 and $100 on Gilt City and will likely accommodate 80-100 fans. But Estefan will benefit from tremendous exposure across the site’s entire platform. “What the event allows us to do is ‘native advertising’ — advertising that doesn’t look like advertising,” says Ray, who modeled the event on Gilt City’s book launches, like the one for Lauren Weisberger’s “Revenge Wears Prada” in June. “Even though 100 members will be there, over 7 million members will see it.”
Because Gilt City’s platform is a direct-response model, it will send emails to all members promoting both the launch at a national level and the Estefan-curated Miami offerings at a local level. In addition, promotion for Estefan’s Miami picks lives on the Gilt City site.
“We’re not in the business of selling downloads, but what we can do is showcase the lifestyle of the artist and generate a lot of awareness of the artist online, and we can create events to celebrate the launch of the album,” Ray says. “We want to present ourselves as a flexible platform that can really generate awareness of the artist.”