Given that attendance is so often a concern for artists, it should come as no surprise that a new app has been developed which provides a 'crowd for hire' and although such tactics will help fill a room, it's a pricey way to go, and those in attendance won't be fans. Is this just a new form of pay to play?
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
Artists and bands that are just getting started or playing in a new location always have the same fret: Will anyone show up? Unless you’ve already received some sort of visibility either through your music or social media, the answer is usually that there won’t be as many people as you’d like, and that could be a severe detriment to working in that venue again in the future. But what if there was an app that allowed you to pay some people to come and see you? That app does exist and it’s called Surkus. The new term for what it does is called “crowdcasting.”
Surkus allows you to basically rent people in the right age demographic to attend your gig. The rates vary, but the attendees are paid anywhere from $5 to $100 per event via Paypal. Most events pay between $20 and $40. That said, women tend to be paid a lot more than men as they’re more desirable to have at an event.
The company reportedly has 150,000 members in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco already. The app is available to everyone, and is open to all demographics. It’s custom algorithm chooses the best people for the particular event.
Okay, so it doesn’t do you much good to just get warm bodies in the place if they react to your music like dead fish. Surkus has a way around that. Each member gets a “reputation score” that determines whether he or she will be called again. Smiling, enthusiastic and appear to be having a good time and you’ll score will go up and you’ll probably get another call. If you leave the event early, you don’t get paid and your reputation score takes a hit.
PR agencies have picked up on Surkus and have been using it for all sorts of events, from restaurant openings to networking events to movie premiers.
This seems like a great idea but it’s going to cost some real dough to fill a venue for a gig. Plus, it won’t take long before promoters, club owners and record labels notice that the system is being gamed. Still, crowdcasting appears here to stay for better or worse, so better get used to it.