Conventions & Awards

NIVA Independent Venue Conference: Celebration, education, and a partnership with Bandsintown

With attendance approaching 600, the National Independent Venue Association’s first gathering of the indie live music tribe was held last week in Cleveland.

Launched in the early days of the pandemic and seeded by $100,000 from Boris Patronoff and See Tickets, NIVA and its partners including the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), successfully lobbied for $16 billion in much-needed Shuttered Venue Operating Grants.

This week’s convention is both a celebration of survival and a hard look at what’s next for independent venues and independent live music. NITO is also holding its first-ever in-person membership meeting in Cleveland today.

The mood among attendees was celebratory and hopeful despite the many indie venues still struggling to recover and rocked by inflation, labor shortages, and more. Panels and workshops on marketing, sponsorships, safety concerns, and more were offered practical advice for the challenges ahead.

NIVA, Bandsintown Partner To Help

A major partnership announced yesterday between NIVA and Bandsintown will also offer indie venues and promoters some relief as well as help them sell more tickets.

Bandsintown has given NIVA members special access to its community of 70 million active concert-goers. Bandsintown will create free “verified venue” accounts for each NIVA member, enabling them to update their profile, with pictures, event data, and venue details. These enhanced profiles boost the attractiveness and discoverability of shows, making them more searchable for music fans on Bandsintown, the largest search engine for live events in the world, and Bandsintown’s distribution partners including Apple’s Shazam.

“Independent venues are keeping communities alive and they are instrumental in supporting diversity and building culture. Bandsintown shares the same ethos and is proud to partner with NIVA and its members,” said Bandsintown co-founder and managing partner, Fabrice Sergent. 

NIVA members will also have access to Bandsintown’s new automated email builder and an exclusive marketing program that enables them to buy on Bandsintown at discounted rates beginning at $50 per campaign versus $150 for non-NIVA members. There will also be free ongoing training to help you make the most of our partnership and a quarterly newsletter to keep you updated on what’s working and what isn’t in live music marketing.

Bandsintown also donated $100,000 in marketing support to help NIVA build a stronger independent live music community. 

Independent venues require attention, funding, support, and resources to survive,” said Reverand Moose, NIVA Executive Director “We’re focused on facilitating our members’ ability to survive and thrive and are grateful for industry partners like Bandsintown who are helping make it a reality with business development tools and new opportunities for discoverability and ticket sales.”

The NIVA Conference continues through Tuesday.

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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