— We Dem Boyz (@wizkhalifa) September 12, 2014
With the music industry focused less on album sales, selling other items, particularly concert tickets, has taken on greater importance. But there are so… many… shows. From music festivals to concerts to television appearances, few people have the money, let alone the time, to go to even a small portion of all the shows they would ideally like to attend. Not to mention getting all those shows on your radar so you know who’s appearing where. Who knew that Karen O was at the McKitterick Hotel the past couple of days? I found out from a friend posting on social media while he was standing in line. A little late for me to even attempt to get in.
This is where Groupon and LivingSocial come in. The sites have struck deals with event organizers to offer discounts on tickets for big acts ranging from Wiz Khalifa to Arcade Fire. Does it damage the act’s credibility to sell tickets at a cut-rate price? Not at all.
First, it helps that companies like Ticketmaster have historically caught a lot of heat for the prices and fees that they charge. Many music fans feel their prices are inflated and are looking for alternatives.
But second, for many people Groupon and LivingSocial don’t seem like a fire sale. It becomes a question of cost versus value. These sites provide an opportunity for people to try something they’ve always wanted to try, to purchase something they love at a without paying retail, and to get something they need at a better rate. And in the case of event tickets, The New York Times says, these sites are providing bundles that can include souvenirs and other bonus goodies. Nothing bad there.
And for the acts, it provides a great marketing opportunity.
“These are our opportunities, through LivingSocial specifically, that we’ve used this last year to reach more people and to let people know what we’re doing,” said Chad Butler, drummer for the band Switchfoot.
When an industry’s business model changes, this question of price versus value becomes an important one. What used to add brand value may not be quite as important. In this case, the exclusivity of high ticket prices is not what drives these musical entertainers’ bank accounts. With more people buying songs rather than entire records, giving them an experience is the smarter business path.