The ‘Mandatory’ Marketing Meeting

The various marketing panels at Pollstar Live! are always packed, and for good reason. “The old saying is that half of our marketing works, we’re just not sure which half,” Red Light Management’s Jim Lewi said. But there’s help.

Photo: Jason Squires

The panelists were introduced as people and platforms to help conference delegates right here, right now.

Want to know who’s been watching your artist’s YouTube videos? Just call and ask. Same goes for Pandora.

“We share our data. We can tell you how much time is spent with an artist on Pandora, where those listeners live,” said Brian Rucker, a former concert promoter now with the Pandora music streaming service.

“There’s lots of data out there,” Lewi said. “It’s up to you to use it and make it work.”

While it’s important to see who is consuming your content, it’s also important to have content in the first place.

“Anyone can start a YouTube channel,” said the ubiquitous video streamer’s Vivien Lewit, adding that there are almost no barriers to entry. “Multiple promoters have channels. Live Nation has a channel. They’re constantly posting and building playlists. Tomorrowland has 2.8 million subscribers.

“That’s the extreme, of course. It’s not that easy in the local level, but there are other ways to do it,” she said, such as advertising on the site, which can be much more targeted and cost effective than traditional advertising.

For example, “We can target by geography, demographic, or genre. We can target 21- to 25- year-olds in Wichita, Kansas,” she added.

Lewi was quick to remind the panelists that this is a music audience.

“You should not call it ‘data’ because that scares people,” Lewi said, adding that you have to talk to slow to these people. “We call it information.”

And someone holding a lot of that information happened to be on the panel. “Everyone wants Ticketmaster’s information,” Lewi said. “There’s a new, friendly Ticketmaster and he’s here right now. His job is to serve the music business. He has all kinds of targeted information.”

“We have a group dedicated just to analytics,” Ticketmaster’s Greg Schmale said. “We’ve been focused mostly on sports but are now getting into the music segment, trying to understand and figure out pricing. We have the data, and now we’re trying to use it.”

Stuart Folb of Voice Media Group is also among those who started in the traditional realm and stayed ahead of the curve.

“We’re able to do a lot more today to promote shows than we were seven years ago,” he said. “The transition to digital media has been exciting. There’s lots to do outside traditional print, even beyond just desktop and emails.”

He told how his team helped fill House of Blues Houston’s summer Friday nights with a concert series of mostly cover bands, selling sponsorships to offset costs, and it became one of the busiest nights at the club.

The audience had advice too, including Nederlander marketing senior VP Jamie Loeb. “We don’t have huge budgets, and there’s sometimes a barrier to entry. But there are other companies out there that can help aggregate that real estate for you,” she said, recommending Dash2 as an entry into the world of analytics.

The panelists also suggested hooking up with Mike McGinley, who moderated the Digital Disruption panel and pretty much blew everyone’s mind with futuristic stuff.