Cortney Harding has written a post for Medium in which she calls out the live industry for moving far too slowly to become a proper digital business. While she says the record business is going death or glory into big data, the concert business has been dragging its feet. She says she understands why the live industry thinks it is immune from the locust effect that digital has had on labels. You can’t download a show, runs the platitude, and streaming is a poor substitute for being there.
“The problem is that much of the experience surrounding that one great moment has become so lousy that it might just not be worth it any more,” says Harding. She goes on to say that the discovery side of things is proving digitally adept but feels “no one has fully mastered the art of making recommendations seamless and keeping you on top of who is coming to town”. (Songkick might have something to say about THAT.) She saves most of her ire for online ticket buying (“cumbersome”) and the secondary market (“a terrible user experience [… and …] also terrible from a data perspective”). She envisages a future where contextual data (a better understanding of the gender make up of a show and how security should respond, deft use of drinks promotions, push notifications with stage times etc.). “The live music business can keep on cruising for a while longer, but eventually, it’ll run out of gas,” she warns, saying the sector risks ignoring data as its peril. “Superfans will still show up, but the casual fan will be drawn to experiences that feel more inclusive and rewarding.”