Festivals: Best Biz, Best Price, Best Event

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Photo by Mark Chang — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

This just in: It helps to be special, and to be fair.

As posted in this week’s news, the Wall Street Journal reports on a tepid summer for aspects of the live music business. Is it a long-term trend? Or, is it a short-term lesson?

Good news: it’s only a short-term lesson, and one that’s great news for fans.

Lesson one: You know your business is in trouble when your model is in the airline industry. A number of concerts this season have adopted the airlines’ approach to selling tickets: you never know how much or how little your fellow passengers have paid for a seat. While airlines at least favor those who commit to travel the most in advance, some concerts have lowered their prices closer to the event, so that their most devoted fans who bought early are paying more than those who waited. That’s no way to run an airline, or to build fan support. The key is make your best fans feel that they are getting the best price.

Lesson two: You know your future is in doubt when you rely on the past tense. Who’s not doing so well on the road? The baby-boomer oldies’ acts that keep doing the same show year, after year, after year. On the other hand, special event acts, such as James Taylor and Carole King Troubadour Reunion tour is doing boffo biz. In other words, just like everyone else, the boomers pay for live events that are genuine events.

Selling special events is why the festival business continues to grow. Noted in the same WSJ report, festivals are doing very well. Festival business thrives because it combines a bang-for-the-buck pricing value with the atmosphere of a special event. One price for multiple acts gives everyone a sense of value. Moreover, the best festivals combine acts you know with acts you are delighted to discover. Life is great when you can report: “We were there, when….”

So, no need to fret from complicated pricing schemes and has-been saturation. Celebrate festival value and discovering new sounds.

(P.S. One way to build fan support is to give away free tickets through special offers. Want a free ticket?)

- Bill Reichblum

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