Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Tapping geeks to make more money from ticket sales

It’s not just baseball managers like Billy Beane who have the hots for data-mining. The news that the world’s biggest live music company Live Nation has acquired media metrics analysts Big Champagne shows that even seasoned music business veterans see …

Fri, Jan 6, 2012, 10:00

   

It’s not just baseball managers like Billy Beane who have the hots for data-mining. The news that the world’s biggest live music company Live Nation has acquired media metrics analysts Big Champagne shows that even seasoned music business veterans see value in Moneyball methods and machinations. Promoting a show isn’t about putting up posters or sending out press releases any more.

The deal will see Big Champagne’s products leveraged to help Live Nation analyse the data it acquires from ticket sales to give the company an extra competitive edge.

While there’s a lot of talk from the lads in the suits with no ties about how this will create “the leader in Artist to Fan data”, it’s really about trying to make more cash from consumers. Astute reading of the data tea-leaves could lead to more opportunties for a company like Live Nation with interests in so many areas of the entertainment business.

But Live Nation aren’t the only music biz people who could benefit from geeks. As we saw in Moneyball, one of 2011’s best films even for those with no knowledge of baseball, data-mining can demonstrate trends which can turn zeroes like the Oakland Athletics into heroes by exploiting market inefficiencies.

Traditional music A&R has always worked on gut instinct and filters (for instance, acts get more interest if they have a permanent establishment manager), but there are ways to game the system using metrics. Look at a label like Cooking Vinyl, for example, home to heritage acts and distressed inventory like The Cranberries, Underworld, The Prodigy and others. While no longer new or hip, all have established fanbases which can be tapped for sales of new releases.

Given the macro-economic problems the music business faces, expect even more executives to tap the geeks for more than just an all-singing, all-dancing website.

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