12.04.2017

MUSIC TECH STARTUPS: The economical and logistic advantage of artists getting in touch with their fans

Startups in the music industry are nowadays flourishing, trying to answer some of the questions that the same technology that allows their existence is posing. Data security, secondary ticketing, royalties, hit music: every topic has someone covering it in more or less successful ways.

The social media help ask these questions but also spread the word about these startups, while many of them get a kickstart from incubators. Marketplus is running a special regarding these startups. 

Daniela Grecnerova is co-founder of TootToot, one of the startups that were singled out as Top 10 Music Start-ups to Watch at Eurosonic 2017. TootToot is, as she explains, both a social network putting fans in contact with artists and a ticketing company: «We started as a platform for fans and artists to get closer to each other - we created a platform that is designed for concert requests - to be simple but effective and powerful. Then we added our own ticketing solution - it was the natural following step. Also, we cooperate with other ticketing companies as affiliate partners to provide our users with a complete calendar of events tailor-made for everyone according to his/her music taste and requests». 

How does it work?

«We build our model asking fans first, before planning a tour, so we can optimize artists' decisions and possibilities according to the actual demand. Today, fans go where the bands play, but not 100% of fans are willing to travel, so by choosing wrong locations you as an artist can lose quite a bit of the audience. It depends. Sometimes, if a band comes directly to (or closer to) the fans’ location - where the actual demand is - the band will get more people to come. We track this parameter, too, the radius of your fans willing to travel for your shows: Madonna has a completely different audience travelling radius than a famous but local Czech band. That is obvious and you don’t need our service to know it. What you as Madonna don’t know and what we do track are the dynamic changes in willingness to travel for the gigs.

For A/B stars there are restrictions for tour managers - the minimum distance between concerts. This parameter varies and we can track the changes and optimize the tour stops. Of course there are restriction we cannot solve (fitting venues etc) but from our data and experience we know that we are able to optimize at least 3-4 tour stops out of ten to get significantly better results with strong and cheap engagement of fans at the same time (you get closer to the fans, they are happy and feel the connection!)». 

What is the idea behind your system? What kind of need did you try to cover with it?

«We believe in the power of data and engagement, and we feel there is space for improvement when it comes lo live shows. Allowing fans to request a concert is an exciting opportunity for fan engagement. People are willing to engage if there is an incentive, and what could be stronger than the possibility of your favourite artist visiting your town?».

What kind of feedback have you had until now?

«We’ve created a solid base of concert-goers in the EU region in a relatively short time. Currently we have more than 70,000 users. At our home markets (Czech republic & Slovakia) we are in close cooperation with hundreds of local artists, venues, festivals and promoters. They use us both as ticketing company and market research company, when they plan to go on tour or do some shows. Abroad we are becoming an interesting platform to promote events happening in EU, also we expand currently to Poland, Hungary and the UK. 

 

Fans are really excited about this opportunity and they engage in our activities easily. Promoters / organizers are happy to use our ticketing services, promotion tools and research as well - it is targeted, we lower their marketing costs and provide smart and comfortable solutions. Artists really care about what kind of service they endorse, so usually they test the response with fans and once they see the great feedback they receive, they are happy to continue. 

Of course there are artists who are not interested in minor genres or in small regions, they see it as extra work with no impact or they don’t understand how to use data about their audience or they just want to sell show to the promoter and don’t really care about what’s happening before and after. 

In case of bigger acts it takes longer to set everything up, but has the biggest impact - in engagement, money savings and extra earnings. 

Our average conversion from requests to actually sold tickets is 60%, also we provide deep data insights about the audience in particular locations and genre preferences».

 

How, if at all, does your system fight secondary ticketing? How big of a problem is it in your country?

«Not so big in Slovakia yet, much bigger in the Czech Republic. We do fight secondary ticketing actively - with our technology and mobile tickets. Also we are members of Fan Fair Alliance (UK) and we educate our customers about this problem. And finally we cooperate on a new system fighting secondary ticketing called Ticket Fair Price (www.ticketfairprice.com - to be launched next week actually :-) It is an anti-secondary ticketing software fighting ticket touts and unfair prices.

We provide fans with an equal chance to get tickets at an affordable price, according to the actual demand. Ticket Fair Price system is solving the fundamental problem with both supply and demand and a pricing gap. With our unique algorithms we allow fans to set the real-time pricing. We cover the most possible number of customers with consumption-based price model». 

How does Ticket Fair Price work?

«It is based on auction principles, although you don’t bid for a particular seat but for a priority position to purchase the ticket and to choose the seat you want. Once your bidding price “wins”, you get the unique link for the official primary ticketing company and you have limited time to select and purchase tickets. The higher price you bid, the bigger selection of seats you have once the links with tickets are released. These link are sent in more stages - first are those with the highest bid, etc. - they have limited time to purchase tickets, then the next bidding range is supplied. There are bidding prices with guaranteed tickets. If your bidding price is beyond guaranteed line, you still have the chance to get the ticket - if somebody above you don’t buy the ticket on time, but it is not guaranteed». 

How important are labs, incubators, accelerators, etc?

These opportunities are great if you do your homework, search for contacts, select the relevant ones and go directly to them with a clear goal.

 


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