Though the Billboard 2011 Touring Conference & Awards focused primarily on the upper niches of the touring industry, there were worthwhile takeaways for indie artists. In particular, interviews with Russell Wallach, President of Live Nation, and with Nic Adler, owner of The Roxy in LA, supported the insight that as artists build their fanbases via social media, they are also establishing the basis for working with sponsors and getting gigs.
The 2011 Billboard Touring Conference & Awards took place late last week in New York City. Awards were given, Perry Farrell shared his big idea to save the music industry and lots more occurred as documented at Billboard.biz.
Russell Wallach on Live Nation's Work With Brands
You may be surprised to find that Live Nation President Russell Wallach, who participated in a touring sponsorship panel, had some useful insights for up-and-coming musicians in the above video while discussing how Live Nation is working with brands.
He points out that more and more brands are interested in working with emerging artists and that Live Nation is seeking to develop a platform for such activity in order to build long-term relationships with such acts. Wallach says brands want content related to the bands they sponsor to use in their own social media efforts. That means if you're creating web content beyond your songs, from pics of fans to behind-the-scenes videos, you're already setting the stage for productively working with supportive brands.
Wallach also says that Live Nation is trying to find ways to make brands "heroes" to bands' fans. So, instead of just putting up a banner at a show, they might sponsor upgraded tickets or discounted refreshments. For newer acts, this suggests possibilities for going to local businesses and coming up with creative sponsorship options that go deeper than having an ad on the wall.
Nik Adler on Reviving The Roxy Via Social Media
Roxy owner Nik Adler, discussed the role of social media in reviving The Roxy's business. He says they began by featuring a blog on their website where they immediately began receiving criticisms about their venue. Instead of getting defensive, they took the criticisms to heart and began improving the venue which led to a turnaround in their business.
Now, as a club that is often the first place up-and-coming acts play in LA, they consider their blog a selling point to attract bands because it gives them extra exposure. But they also evaluate acts from other areas by checking out their social media presence, which is yet another example of the fact that social media is becoming a key evaluation tool when businesses consider working with artists that are not yet widely known.
Both Russell Wallach and Nik Adler point to even more great reasons for developing a strong social media presence as well as a comfort with content creation that not only feeds fans but facilitates relationships with sponsors while providing comfirmation of readiness for offline opportunities such as bookings.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.