More Pollstar Live Coverage: Mobile Marketing

Lady Gaga raised some eyebrows from her team recently when she told her manager that she intended to increase her online fan base from some 6 million – already a huge number in Twitter “follower” terms – to 25 million.

How? By re-recording her hits in several languages and growing those numbers using social media including ringtones, special online content and giving her non-English-speaking fans snippets of her work and building on that to create touring – and, of course, money-making – opportunities.

Moderator Ralph Simon, chief of and widely recognized as a founder of the modern mobile entertainment movement, moderated a fascinating session about how the concert industry can – no, must – adapt to an entirely new way of communicating that puts butts in seats and opens wallets if the industry is to compete with other forms of entertainment.

Panelists Rob Tereck from the University of Southern California, Ian Rogers of TopSpin and Eric Garland of Big Champagne were on hand to prove his point that how consumers access and accept “calls to action” to behave in certain ways is driven by smartphone and other mobile technology. And, more importantly, how promoters and marketers need to know how to tap into numbers of “lost” consumers who have eschewed even e-mail in favor of the shorter text message.

Sponsored in association with the North American Concert Promoters Association, the session provided a detailed look at how best to harness the social media world’s power to benefit concert promoters, venues and artists.

The key point was that social media and online communication is not the wave of the future, it is already here. When, as Simon pointed out, 15 percent of Americans check their cell phones during sex, it’s not much of a stretch to figure out what percentage might respond to calls for ticket onsales, new videos and direct artist communication.

With new media entrepreneurs integrating the best features of Facebook, Twitter, iPods and Foursquare, and the upcoming rollout of “short code” technology, Simon argues that smart concert promoters recognize that social network not only brings in data on users but how to tap into what is now a world driven by user lifestyles.

“Everyone knows the measures are affinity, engagement, participation and moment-to-moment relationships between artists, fans, brands and experiences,” Gardner said of his business. He used the experience of The Dixie Chicks during their notorious media assault in 2003 as an example. His company worked with promoters to reroute a tour after what could have been a devastating public relations disaster in which the social relationship between The Dixie Chicks and many of their fans changed.

Rob Terceck added that social media affects concert promoting because “ if you’re a concert promoter you don’ t have just the guy across town. Now, TV competes against radio that competes against games. Mobile is the glue that connects the real world. The way your kids deal, they carry phones with them and they have this layer of data that can be used to determine where an artist has the most fans, and so on.”

TopSpin’s Ian Rogers expounded on that theory, saying “ Everybody wants to sell all the tickets, and there’s no question, on a fundamental level, that when collecting those fans, sell-through is better for everybody. But we also know a lot about those people. We know who are influencers. You get to them early and then do direct marketing.”


Pollstar Live 2011 Panel Index