Below is an idea that I sent to Spotify, please do give it a read and critique/suggest additions/praise/troll accordingly.
Bit of context; as we all know, artist revenues are dwindling from music sales. More and more of artist income is gained from live shows. As we become ever more interconnected and global travel and logistics become ever less expensive, world tours become more possible for a wider range of (lesser well-known) artists. That’s the theory, but I don’t see it in practice.
I love Iron & Wine. I’d love to see them in Hong Kong. My colleague likes Iron & Wine and would love to see them in HK too. My girlfriend likes Iron & Wine (mainly because I go on about them all the time), she’d go and see them too. How many people want to see Iron & Wine in Hong Kong? I’m not going to do the math (based on the number of people I know that would go, proportionally to the total gig-going demographic of Hong Kong) but quite a lot I reckon. How many people want to see Iron & Wine in Singapore? Or Ho Chi Minh City? Taipei?
I wonder if Sam Beam or his management knew how many people EXACTLY in each City within North and South East Asia, AND could sell those tickets (and potentially gain the profits) EVEN BEFORE they’ve booked venues and flights, they’d be more keen to commit a tour.
What I’m proposing isn’t exactly new, I know. It’s essentially crowdfunding tickets. But I haven’t seen it on the global, mass-appealing scale (in terms of small/medium artists and their fans - this doesn’t matter for the Britney’s and Biebers of this world) that I think Spotify could harness. This idea has been nagging away at me for a number of years now but I’m only just putting my thoughts to type. It feels very liberating to do so. Even if this goes nowhere, I’m just glad that I’m getting it out, but if it’s something Spotify are interested in, I’d love to be involved! (and get a nice chunk of money, but it’s not all about that. It’s mainly about getting to see Iron & Wine in Hong Kong).
My initial steps are outlined below.
Step 1- users “declare an interest” in seeing artist in their home city.
- This could done through the spotify app as:
- The user/client base is already there (and is spot on).
- The artist database is already there.
- Helps maintain genuine stats (and not crazed fans logging hundreds of requests each!).
- Could be links on artists pages/songs (“like this song/artist? join xxxx users that have already asked to see them in xxxx?”).
- share the link to register interest on social media/whatsapp, See which ones of your Spotify/FB friends have also registered an interest (or maybe how many people in total for your city). The artist could paste the link to register on their website. QR codes on posters. The list goes on.
Step 2- Artist sees numbers of requests on digital map
- Once they’re happy with the amount of pre-registrations …(helped by advice from a Spotify team on the ideal numbers?)
- …they determine a week window (or the specific day?) that they would play in each country/city. Also a minimum threshold of STEP 3 confirmations to make the tour viable in each city. Add deadline.
- They then hit SEND PROPOSAL TO REGISTERED USERS button (oversimplified perhaps but would be awesome to have them have this ability at the touch of a button)
Step 3- “put your money where your mouth is time” for registered users.
- Everyone from step 1 is then notified of the dates and asked to put down a deposit (vary by country/city) on seeing the artist on the desired day in their home city. Deadline. Guidline final price also given.
- Those visiting artist page on Spotify could also see it’s at “stage 3” and put down a deposit. All of the social media updates/share mentioned in stage 1 could also apply to getting more people to put down some money.
- Live ticker and deadline to see how many people left to pay in order for it to more into STEP 4.
- money taken through spotify’s existing payment system?
Step 4- “GO time!”…
- …or there aren’t enough tickets told. So users are refunded their deposit.
- Users are then contacted to pay the balance of ticket. Venue details given then, or nearer the time.
- Tickets on your phone (emailed? within Spotify app?). cheap. Easy delivery.
- some kinks to Iron (gettit?!) out with different seating zone prices and when this option is available to choose, and if the day/week changes between step 3 and 4, and if there’s a refund option before/at step 4 (perhaps Step 3 refunds only available if gets above a certain level of Step 4 confirmations.).
Advantages to Spotify
- revenue slice of ticket sales (although DON’T cheat out the artists of their fair share please!).
- attracts more users to use it’s music streaming service, through this added feature (having an account the only way to register to see the band AND through free advertising by the artist/fan links).
- Little risk through the stages/failsafes above. Yes there’s the setup costs of the system, but it’s basically already there.
Things to think about
- Would the artists be on board with this, especially if the share is right?
- How much would Spotify want to be involved in the actual organisation/logistics/venue booking of these gigs? New in-house team or leave it to the artists/their management once dates confirmed? An event organiser has told me that for sub 2000 capacity venues (idea certainly not envisioned for greater) this could work. Anything above that has cartel-style setups for logistics/equipment rental.