Bandsintown at Music Biz 2013: How Artists Can Make Mobile Work for Them

Photo Credit: Stefan Aronsen -

Photo Credit: Stefan Aronsen -

Bandsintown made a big splash at NARM and digitalmusicorg’s Music Biz 2013 event last week in LA. The annual conference gathered elite retailers, labels, artists, managers, app developers, and more for a wide-ranging program that covered everything from music branding to proper metadata standards. Our own Alexis Rodich was on hand to moderate the panel “How Mobile Is Changing the Future of Live Music and Its Promotion,” leading a deep discussion with mobile power players Creighton Burke of Live Nation, Ed Donnelly of Aderra, Kavi Halemane of The Collective, and Matt Urmy of Artist Growth that focused on how artists can take advantage of mobile devices to engage their fans and gather important information that can be used to increase future sales.

Key takeaways of the panel included:

  • Push marketing is important, but don’t spam your fans: According to Halemane, “There’s only so much push marketing an artist is comfortable with,” and that goes double for fans. The goal of mobile engagement is to make those who love your band feel included and appreciated, but “they’ll walk away entirely if you disrespect them by sending five mass emails a day,” according to Donnelly. Burke added that fan comments have led Live Nation to refine its app so it focuses on the notification system, allowing users to find and buy tickets early. Concertgoers want to receive push notifications, but don’t overdo it - keep it classy!

  • Stay engaged before, during and after:The panel highlighted the importance of mobile engagement before, during and after the event, noting that the objective of utilizing mobile technology is different depending at which stage of the live event it is being used. All of the panelists agreed that during the event presents the best opportunity for data collection, but is also the most challenging as many artists want fans watching the show, not their phones, and connectivity at most venues tends to be weak. By utilizing mobile and social networks, you have the opportunity to drive interactions and give fans a reason to talk about you long after the lights go down.

  • Don’t forget about texting: SMS text messaging is still a big part of the way young people communicate, and artists should take advantage of it. Halemane noted how he got a strong response when one of his bands gave away a guitar at each stop of its tour by placing a custom shortcode inside the venue that fans could text in for a shot at winning. Donnelly agreed, advocating bands run shortcode contests at venues for merch-pack giveaways, collect the contact info of entrants, and then send out a mass text giving those fans a chance to buy a recording of the show they just attended. While text messaging may not be the most technologically advanced method to reach fans, it is still a highly effective one.

  • Partner with brands, but be sure to get the data: As Halemane succinctly put it, “The music industry is not swimming in the same sources of money it used to.” The music industry is much more austere nowadays and artists feel it most strongly when they go on tour. However, by teaming up with brands, artists can improve the live experience without spending more – they just need to ensure they partner with companies open to sharing the data they collect. “Email is still king,” said Halemane, as it offers the most direct link to fans for future promotions. Look for a collaborative partner that will share that info with you, and when you find one, don’t hesitate to sign up.

Next up on our conference calendar is a stop from CEO Julien Mitelberg at IMS in Ibiza May 22-24. Let us know if you’re attending – we’d love to meet you!