Many across the industry agree on the need for artists to know more about their fanbase and be able to communicate with them in a more personalised manner. Companies like Openstage and Tradable Bits have been very active in this space. Now they’re joined by artist-fan platform Planet, who’ve just launched what they call an “AAA digital pass”.
Getting the digital pass
The Access-All-Areas (AAA) digital pass was soft launched in late 2021, with the idea being to create a formula for how artists can involve their fans and reward them for their input. The digital pass sits in fans’ pockets, in their mobile phone wallets, meaning that artists can give them direct, immediate access to new music, tours, or exclusive drops before, during and after shows, circumventing social media platforms.
To do this, artists share a Planet link with their audience, where they can sign up to get the AAA pass. After having created their login, the fans will get asked a few questions – “Have you seen us playing live?”, “What’s your city?” and “What’s your favourite track?” – so the artist team can personalise the experience for them. Finally, you can ask the fan what they would like to see more of, such as remixes, pre-sale tickets, limited edition merch, etc. Fans then download their AAA pass into their Apple or Google wallet. The Planet team claims the whole process takes around 90 seconds on average. (If you’d like to see the fan journey in action, you can look at Hot Chip’s or New Rules’ AAA passes.)
Bypassing email and social media
The idea is that the fan communication is via a different channel: because each pass is connected to their mobile wallet, fans will receive push notifications once the artist makes a relevant update to their AAA pass: i.e. tickets being on sale in the city they chose. Thus, fans don’t need to read email, and artists bypass social media algorithmic limitations. James Morrison, Co-founder and CEO of Planet, explains that part of the service is to provide clients with a snapshot of data with actionable insights. He says: “One thing that was clear was that our clients didn’t want to access another analytics dashboard, that’s why we’re presenting them with what they need to know.”
These insights could be useful: by onboarding fans to their bespoke AAA pass, Hot Chip discovered that 10% of their fans had not seen them live before. K-pop girl group EVERGLOW spotted the top 20 cities where pass holders most wanted to see them live, plus their favourite tracks and merchandise. Planet says they have been working closely with music management companies such as Verdigris, East City, Modest Management and Everybody’s to develop how they interact with their fans.
Planet can also fulfil artist pre-sale ticket allocations end-to-end through the product. According to the Planet team, they can use behavioural analysis to remove bad actors from the demand pool – and authenticate true fans.
While competitive products such as Openstage and Tradable Bits both also aim to allow artists to understand their fans better and personalise marketing messages to them, what’s different with these tools is that artist teams get access to a dashboard where they can import existing data, capture new data, and slice and dice fan segments based on this. From here, they might decide to send a newsletter to a certain segment or run an ad campaign targeted at a specific segment.
The main difference here is that Planet targets fans via a different communication channel: the mobile digital wallet. Planet say their system works, and claim that there’s an 88% conversion rate from fans clicking a link to downloading the pass, and that interaction rates are “consistently above 60%” through the AAA pass.
Pricing and the future
Planet does not charge artist teams to get the AAA pass up and running – instead they charge a variety of fees depending on what the artist wants to do. The fee per ticket is £1.50, and if the artist then wants to run a product drop, this increases the fee to £3. Artists can also sell a membership to a fan, which is an an all-in fee of £5, that enables artists to run fan club ticketing, product drops, and anything else related to membership. For artists that don’t want to do presale ticketing or merchandise via Planet, the company says it can come up with a bespoke pricing model. Planet has secured funding from TVG Hospitality CEO Ben Lovett and Ie:music ventures, and plans to expand across Europe and the U.S. in the near future.