New Technology: Digital discovery
Host: Steve Machin, .Tickets (UK)
Steve Machin, co-CEO of .tickets, this year marked his fifth outing as host of ILMC’s New Technology panel, inviting seven tech start-ups to present the innovative solutions they hope will disrupt the global live business in years to come.
First up was Niall Green, CEO of Second Screen, which he said "gives fans access to exclusive, behind-the-scenes content from artists, bands, venues and festivals" with its white-label mobile apps.
Counting among its clients Anastacia, Isle of Wight Festival and ski festival Horizon, Green explained Second Screen develops apps that look like they’re the artist/event’s own: “the app is yours,” he said.
App features include festival maps, push notifications (“handy for moving people around or highlighting a particular app”) and offline usage: “No need to worry about your connection.”
Gigrev is a developer of white-label direct-to-fan apps for artists, described as a ‘private digital fanclub’ by CEO Kevin Brown.
Its key selling point is that it allows acts and their labels to own their data – unlike, said Brown, popular social networks such as Facebook. He added that Gigrev is also cheaper than advertising on Facebook, on which – unless artists pay to boost their posts – they won’t reach the majority of their fans.
The platform is on a subscription basis, with prices starting at £99 per month, although Brown said customers can opt for a fixed fee or a revenue split.
Fanzone, founded by former Football Association general secretary Alex Horne, targets ticket-holders to offer them a range of transportation options to and from events.
Comprising an event-branded front-end for users and a back-end analytics dashboard for events and transport providers, Horne said Fanzone aims to offer fans a "sofa-to-seat" experience by providing them with a choice of cars, ride-sharing, taxis, coaches and more. “You must have crazy insurance!” Machin joked.
Its current event partners include Olly Murs' Never Been Better tour, Justin Bieber's Purpose tour and Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed.
Veteran artist manager and Silent Disco founder Dan Silver gave delegates a preview of the company’s new show for 2017.
Dubbed the Third Dimension Spectacle, it unites 3D ‘spatial’ audio and LED lighting (integrated into headsets and multiple lighting pods) synchronised with the music.
Described by Silver as “green and friendly” owing to its small footprint, the show runs at a cost of around £15,000 for three days – and will debut at Glastonbury Festival in June.
LA-based Byg is “a new form of sponsorship” based on mutually beneficial social-media partnerships between artists and brands, explained senior vice-president of marketing and sponsorship Tricia Byrnes.
“The millennial population is bigger than the baby boomers,” said Byrne, “but they’re the hardest generation to advertise to.” Byg Music, then, pays artists to utilise their fanbase on all the major social channels, delivering an “audience they [brands] can’t otherwise get in a traditional setting.”
Its biggest client is the Ford Motor Company, which recently saw a huge increase in the number of young people taking test drives after a well-known female artist live-streamed herself driving the car in question.
The late Ronnie James Dio threw the sign of the horns once more in the sixth presentation, by Eyellusion founder and CEO Jeff Pezzuti.
Pezzuti said he sees huge potential in live music for Eyellusion’s technology, which creates a stage hologram of the deceased rock star that has already appeared at Wacken Open Air and February’s Pollstar Awards. “Everything is live except the vocals,” he explained, adding that ‘Ronnie’ and other holograms could even be scaled to small venues, which could “charge $15 or $20 to see a big-name artist play, and even in multiple venues at one time.”
The technology could also, Pezzuti suggested, be used by living artists who “won’t go to certain territories,” allowing fans in conflict-hit countries to still see their favourite artists.
The Bot Platform
Last up, Syd Lawrence of We Make Awesome Sh.it demonstrated the power of “good” bots with a presentation on its The Bot Platform technology.
In an interactive session that saw attendees ‘like’ a dummy Facebook page and send it messages, Lawrence showed how artists and brands can reply to every single message on Facebook Messenger using its automated Messenger bots. (Olly Murs has one, developed by The Bot Platform; Lawrence joked how his girlfriend “didn’t fancy Olly Murs until his Facebook page started sending her GIFs of him blowing kisses.”)
Lawrence also highlighted the impressive read and click-through rates for Messenger bots: 99% reads and 23% clicks, compared to, according to Smart Insights, an average click-through rate of 3.26% for British SMEs.