IQ News: Local Concert Webs Suddenly a Hot Ticket

A tiny San Francisco-based company will be going up against media industry giants MTV Online and the Rolling Stone Network-a joint venture between Wenner Media and JamTV-to provide online concert listings information. 911 Entertainment’s, a site devoted to local live music information and listings, has formed its first syndication deal to distribute its listings to Yahoo’s network of local sites. (Wilma is an acronym for the Worldwide Internet Live Music Archive.)
Sources said the arrangement is a content-for-traffic deal.”They run a snapshot of content locally, with a link to ‘visit Wilma for more information,'” said Chris McBride, founder of Wilma.
In development is a new version of Wilma that will take the site to the next level of interactivity, with the goal of cultivating a music community that is easily targetable to advertisers. After signing up for membership, users will receive emails about their favorite bands, record releases and information from advertisers.
Since it began selling advertising in 1995, the site has featured ads from Intel, Visa, AT&T and Sprint. Record companies are Wilma’s next target. “Most of the record companies have spent money on Web development rather than on advertising,” McBride said. “We hope that’ll change in the future.”
In addition to online cultural guides such as Microsoft’s Sidewalk and the America Online-Tribune Co.-owned Digital City, Wilma is competing with MTV Online’s local listings and the soon-to-launch Rolling Stone Network in what has become a tightly contested arena. Why has the format suddenly become so hot? “It’s about dynamic content,” McBride said. “People want to know what’s going on in their scene. And this gives us the opportunity to connect with them.”
Howard Tullman, CEO of the Rolling Stone Network, said that the new venture was building a network of radio stations and newspapers that will contribute local music listings. Pollstar and Ticketmaster are already providing concert information.
But Tullman said, “It’s a small extension of the music information universe. It’s not enough as a stand-alone thing to drive significant traffic.” Tullman indicated that JamTV had looked at acquiring Wilma before the site was bought by 911 in 1995, but eventually decided against it.
MTV Online maintains a section on its site called “local” that lists concert information by national markets. The site is expected to soon announce plans for a national network of clubs, which could provide live cybercasts and other content for the site.
Wilma was started three and a half years ago in Los Angeles; about ten staff members are dedicated to online development and content updates.