Monday, June 20, 2011

Notes From a New Platform

Contained herein is a followup to my pre-sold touring ideas. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about check out my first pre-sold concert HERE or the BoingBoing post about me HERE.

This is an interview with Brad Lagasse of, a developing web platform that will be pre-selling shows just like I'm talking about. All the attention on this pre-sold tour idea made me realize I was just about one one-millionth of a second ahead of the curve and just happened to be the first person to put it into words and sell a show (pre-sold tour impending!)

If you are a musician and/or a fan of music please sign up to receive updates about - it won't hurt and the more interest they have the sooner (and better) they can launch. And if they turn out to not be your type of thing you can unsubscribe at any time. 

On to the interview!

1. How will work?

Artists/Bands propose a concert date, venue, ticket price and minimum/maximum amount to be sold as well as a deadline for the tickets to be purchased by.  If enough fans buy the ticket within the timeline, their credit cards will be charged and tickets are issued by us.

2. How did you get the idea?

We were researching the Group Buying power trend and as a music lover, I saw it as a no brainer.  This solution takes away a lot of risk for both the venue and the artist while shifting the power back to the emerging artist. 

A lot of emerging artists have a great social media presence but until now haven’t figured out a way to engage their fan base in a meaningful way.

This is a very niche market as the U2’s of the world pre-sell everything, yet the bands with little to no following can’t drum up enough fans to go this route.  Therefore this solution is geared toward bands/artists in your sweet spot.  You have enough fans and a good social media presence to leverage our tool.

3. What payment platform do you use? Google, Paypal, Amazon, other?

We use a credit card processor; take all majors.  No Paypal yet.  Might happen in the future though.

4. Will be booking the venues, or is that up to the artist?

We first considered working on the booking side but quickly realized that we couldn’t scale in that model.  Therefore, our solution will provide a form page for the artist to submit all the details including the venue.

It will be up to the band to negotiate with the venue to ‘pencil in’ a date in the future and give a time line for which the artist can confirm the date or let venue resell the time. 

5. What percentage of the money does keep?

There are variables here but on average it’ll be between 7%-15% That is only if the show goes on, if they don’t then we take nothing.

6. Are there any other fees we should know about?

Depending on the failure rate of concerts, we may implement a set up fee for bands that continue to put up shows that don’t go on.

7. What are the potential problems you foresee?

- Promoters seeing this paradigm shift as a threat and acting accordingly.

- Bands either buying their own tickets to play a certain venue therefore pissing off the venue when they play to an empty building or not appropriately qualifying the venue, i.e. They said they had an agreement to play on a certain date but they didn’t.  What next?

To offset some of these challenges, we have set a long term goal of developing strong relationships with venues across north America and staying on top of dodgy bands abusing the system.

8. What is the best thing about

We are not a huge corporation.  This site is built to put on concerts for emerging artists; a market virtually ignored but huge when you look at the numbers.

Our vision is to produce a site that empowers bands to succeed on their own, provide an amazing user experience for the fans, and generate something so much bigger than just ticket sales.

9. The worst?

We are not a huge corporation.  Our resources, for now, are limited.

Thanks, Brad!


Brad brings up an interesting point about mega-famous bands: once an artist gets to a stadium level they announce a tour and if it doesn't sell well enough they cancel the tour. No one comes out and says, "Hey, buy tickets because if you don't the tour won't happen." but it amounts to the same thing. 

It is also quite common for the tour promoters to buy up a block of tickets so the show appears to be "SOLD OUT!" even though it isn't, just so the dates on the rest of the tour will sell well. 

I'm not going to buy up my own tickets. I'd rather just be honest and say, "Hey, buy tickets because if you don't the tour won't happen." Because I know people are smart enough to look at that and understand. 

I have been hearing from a lot of artists about the difficulty of filling venues, even popular bands worry about making enough money because shows are so expensive to produce that people really only start making money at a close to sell-out level. In a 1000 seat venue you may not start to see a profit until over 800 tickets have been sold. So the show could look packed and amazing and full of energy, but still leave the artist with an empty bank account. 

As an aside: last month when I was first telling people about my pre-sold tour ideas people kept saying, "Oh, so its like Groupon." And I don't know from Groupon because I don't use it, but I guess it's a way to understand the concept. 

Next interview: Comedian Paul F. Tompkins on garnering enough interest in a city before he books a show there. 

Past interview: Notes From a Venue Owner - Jamie Zawinski, owner of DNA Lounge in San Francisco, expounds on the difficulty of booking live music. 

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