VR got us thinking. What are the major festivals working on? How can it work for the whole industry? Let’s look at the opportunities for virtual reality and festivals, and how the issue relates to the live streaming evolution.
Posts by Gertjan De Wilde
StreetTeam recently created a great report and infographic based on IQ-Mag’s Festival Report 2015. And darn it, if it isn’t just too insightful for us to keep it from you! Here are our key takeaways on festival trends.
Artist fees are soaring
Artist fees continued to increase throughout 2015, as they did in the years before. Though not really a surprise, it was still the biggest trend and (probably) the biggest concern for festival teams worldwide.
Sometimes fees have even doubled in no more than one year. One festival promoter reported that he had to cut from 180 acts in 2014 to 120 in 2015 because of higher artist fees.
IQ reports that the knock-on effect for bands lower down the bill who are trying to build their fan base is potentially devastating. The result of higher prices for headliners is, ironically, less slots for newer acts…
… but ticket prices aren’t
Good news for fans though: despite soaring artist fees, festivals aren’t charging these costs directly to their customers. Instead, most festival organizers respond with an increase in capacity.
That also means increased attendance with 46% of festivals reporting sell-out events in 2015, up from 43% in the previous year. Conclusion: increasing capacity is a viable strategy to cope with higher artist fees.
Headliner announcements are being made earlier & earlier
Festivals are now announcing headline acts eight to nine months in advance. That’s a big difference to the four to five months in advance that used to be the industry norm.
Guardian music news editor, Harriet Gibson, suggests that the reason is that “it’s the competitive nature, and need to draw in young audience members with a one-ticket per year budget, that has taken the promotional experimentation to a new level”.
Gibson also commented on how Spanish festival, Primavera Sound announced its line up by asking fans to download an app to reveal all the details and gain access to an exclusive bonus video of British band, Cinerama. Over at Bestival, they announced their 2015 line-up exclusively on Instagram, taking over the feed with a series of puzzle pieces which fitted together to provide the full bill of artists, and in 2016 they have created their own video to introduce the hotly anticipated annual theme for the event ‘Join us in the future’.
So aside of just announcing earlier and earlier, festivals are also trying to capture (potential) ticket-buyers in marketing channels that are exclusively theirs. The consensus is that these young festival-goers make up the majority of the market and can only visit so many festivals per year. Persuade a few, and you’ve also persuaded their friends: you are now the market leader.
You have a great idea for a festival, but need the funds to get it going? Look no further, BeatSwitch has got your back. No matter what kind of festival, no matter what type of location or concept, you’ll need to secure your backing beforehand. What little people realize is that a crowdfunding campaign is a project of its own, and requires a steady approach.
Crowdfunding festivals is no walk in the park; Kickstarter alone has already handled nearly 300 000 projects—only a third of which have been successful. The tools in our kit can help you secure a place in the top third while automating some of the typical workflows. Now all you need is your idea and good pledges!
Each month BeatSwitch talks to an artist manager/promoter to share insights across and from the festival industry. Alex Stevens is the first one to go on record, and he’s a special one. He’s not just a talent buyer for Dour: he’s also part accreditation and artist manager, he prepares lineup announcements and works on the festival’s website, …
Last but not least, he also engineered MECANO – the artist management system that BeatSwitch acquired in 2015. Is there anything Alex can’t do?
Let’s dig a little deeper into the daily worklife of this computer scientist gone festival allrounder!
A Belgian initiative sets out to fill the gap that was left after I Love Techno’s discontinuation through crowdfunding, and an Asian crowdsourcing platform for events has raised over $10m in venture capital. Time for us to carefully explore these ideas that appear to be picking up speed, even though they go against much of how the event industry works.
HART Festival – Crowdfunding
I Love Techno’s departure from the Belgian scene had many electronic music fans feel left behind. The news came just one year after the legendary festival 10 Days Off’s final edition, and meant that the city of Ghent – where electronic music festivals were pioneered – suddenly had no more flagship events left.
HART appeals to the sentiment of those who feel that Ghent needs a real techno and house festival again, with a logo that clearly resonates ILT’s, say an interpretation of how it would look if it were designed in 2015. They take it back to Vooruit, where ILT started, and seek to get market validation and sold tickets in advance of a full lineup announcement.
What’s so surprising, is that this is set up by a team without much professional experience in the festival world, and that they are asking for validation beforehand. Though it’s easy, possibly even tempting, to dismiss the initiative as naïve, there is a huge opportunity for the event industry to find out whether or not crowdfunding is a viable path for certain events in the future. HART is a brave shot at breaking two very important industry dogma’s: 1) You need a team with experience and a strong network, 2) the promoter knows what the crowd wants and will present a lineup for them to agree upon or not.
Regardless of how it plays out, HART’s campaign is a project worth keeping your eyes on.
MyMusicTaste – Crowdsourcing & -funding
A Korean startup (based in Seoul) that just raised $10m in series a funding, including an investment from Samsung, and sets out to compete with Live Nation? You would think this news would have spread further than just the tech industry, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Whether it’s a case of limited pr efforts or a shortage of media interest is of little importance; let’s look at how this company works and how it disrupts the way the event industry goes about things.
It’s no coincidence that MyMusicTaste was founded in Asia. Not many Western pop stars are able to step on solid ground there, and often shows are canceled due to low ticket sales, among various other (undisclosed) reasons. It is a risky territory for events, and crowdsourcing both lineups and funds (by starting ticket sales before confirming the show) takes away most of the risk whilst also involving and activating fans early on. Co-creation taken to the lineup level.
So here we see an initiative that disrupts the same top-down way of working that HART challenges, but MyMusicTaste takes it one step further by actively engaging fans to find out whether or not there is a market for certain acts – not just validating a concept that the promoter should be trusted to fill in. Also, MMT is founded in a pretty much unsaturated market, so it offers a very unique opportunity to find out what happens if the industry grows both around traditional promoters and new business models. Whereas in the West, we can only see it as a transition from traditional to disruptive ideas.
So though it’s still very early to tell, there’s a lot to say for crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, even though they are hard to embrace in an industry that is still used to working top-down, and without co-creation in lineups and production. We for one are excited to find out what’s next.
Gearing up for festival cancellations
At first, you think you won’t need it. After all, preparing for a bad turn of events requires a lot of time, money and energy, and everybody knows you can use every second and every penny for your actual festival. But think about all the damage a storm could do to your organization.It would be a shame to let a good thing go to waste because of one strike of bad luck. You’re not in this for a couple of years; you got into this business to build a long-term story.
In this eBook, you’ll learn:
That’s why you ought to invest in decent festival insurance, among 3 other things. Don’t let one strike of bad luck knock you out for good. Be prepared for when it all goes horribly wrong, so that on top of a cancellation or any other crisis, you don’t end up with a financial deficit too.
Don’t let one unfortunate event hurt your business. Be prepared for when worst comes to worst.
A Job for Perfectionists
To be a great event planner you truly have to be obsessive with the details–if you weren’t you wouldn’t be doing your job well. This constant desire to make sure things are just right for visitors can be extremely hard on planners. Being a Type-A-everything-must-be-perfect person makes event promoters exceptionally devoted to their jobs but it’s fair to say that it also contributes to stress in their job. People with laidback, devil-may-care attitudes probably wouldn’t be as stressed out in the same position – but they also wouldn’t have what it takes to run a large scale event.
With an estimated 2.5 billion of them worldwide, millennials make up about a third of the global population. It’s only a matter of years until their generation becomes the largest consumer group ever to roam the earth. Brands want to reach them en masse. That’s where your festival comes in.
But how do you do it right? Millennials are already overexposed to marketing – how do you engage them in a meaningful experience with a brand? Learn about all the best practices, some awesome examples and the key strategies to keep in mind in our newest eBook about millennials and music festivals.
What if all you really need to secure festival safety are three words? It’s an overly simplified statement, but that’s what What3words essentially boils down to. Using a simple grid to divide any patch of land into a patchwork 3m x 3m squares, they’ve built a system that is much more in touch with how humans actually think, allowing medical or security teams to identify locations in mere seconds.
Nowadays, festivals are the size of small towns, usually set up in fields with few, if any, landmarks other than Coca-Cola signs or stages. Finding someone or something can be complex. “The third tree on the left of the stage if you are facing it,” isn’t exactly an apt way of describing a location when you’re briefing a medical team in a hurry. Let’s see how W3W collaborated with Festival Medical Services at Glastonbury.
A curated directory of resources & tools to help make festival management a breeze.
Your phone’s ringing, Skype messages are bobbing, company chat’s chirping, calendar reminders are beeping and text messages are going out at break-neck speed. You’re constantly typing, trying to keep an overview of projects and replying to comments on all sorts of tools, all at the same time. Whilst also communicating with artists in 5 different time zones.
Does that sound like you?
With the global rise of professionalizing festival operations, this industry is in dire need of better tools. But what if these tools are already at hand, but you just haven’t found them yet? Considering the tremendous offer of apps on the web, it’s not at all surprising that one would think that the perfect tool just isn’t available.
But they are. That’s why we made you this beautiful toolkit of the best apps around, who can really help festival teams out. Not just a list – no, we’re giving you more than that. We’ll help you set up an entire ecosystem of great apps at low to no cost, so that you can thrive and spend time on what really matters. At the same time, you’re free to pick any separate app and just start using that. It’s all up to you!