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Innovation: How to Save the Concert Industry

To stay relevant, all businesses must innovate. This is especially true of the music industry which, to be honest, has been on life support for years now. The touring industry suffered this past summer as the economic lag finally swept across ticket buyers. Suddenly, it seemed like all of us were sick of paying over $100 bucks for a single concert ticket. Then there's the fees...

What if there was a way to inject some much needed life into the music/touring industry while not ripping off the consumer? How about the side benefit to another industry? What if movie theatres save the concert industry?

Recently, The Big Four were featured on the silver screen. That is, American movie-goers got to see Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax via satellite. While The Big Four were performing live in Bulgaria people in, say, Cincinnati were also watching this show. A few other bands have also tried this recently. I think the core idea is brilliant - so let's expand it.

For our example, we'll use the Rolling Stones. So, the Rolling Stones are playing a show in Seattle. Why couldn't that show then be beamed to movie theatres that are at least 1,000 miles away from the venue? The 1,000 mile radius shouldn't impact ticket sales to the actual concert - and that imaginary buffer would move along the country with the tour. This could be replicated pretty much all over the world. And let's be clear: I am talking about showing actual, live-as-they-are-happening events only.  

I'll argue that seeing a concert in a movie theater is a fun experience that will help the margin of the theaters by patrons buying concessions (an obvious test could be the upcoming Bon Jovi engagement that will show portions of the Circle tour). Ticket prices would be the same as any movie. I don't think seeing a satellite feed of a concert would actually deter a person from seeing the show in person. After all, concerts are a special experience but for some, the movie theatre option may prove more appealing. Also, bands could even sell merch at the movie complexes. Really, the possibilities are endless. If, say, Live Nation and AMC joined forces for an exclusive deal, I think they could get some alpha that they both really need. Oh and if those companies team up and take my idea without crediting me, maybe I'll sue. Ha!


Reader Comments (25)

This is a good idea, but in short here are a few things that will complicate things. The logistics to coordinate something like this across the country would be VERY large. Shipping concert merchandise to all of the theaters is one thing. I'm not sure how many theaters are already equipped with the required satellite technology to show a live show. Probably a very limited number. Doing this for a whole tour adds a lot of expense to the cost to perform each show. You have to have a lot of extra personnel to work the additional needed cameras. Then you have to beam it up to the satellites. This transmission is not cheap. I think it would add up. If you could guarantee that people would go to the theater for this across the country, then it might be worth it. In practice I think it might only work for one time or limited time events like the aforementioned Big Four Metallica concerts. Just my two cents.
October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGil
I think a better idea, would be to sell the live video / audio for purchase on the internet. No overdubs or remastering. Just as it was at the venue. I think true fans will buy a lot of shows for the bands they like. Some bands are now doing this or variations of this. For example, I was able to buy a 2 CD set directly after the show of the Cult concert I saw a few years ago. Metallica sells all of their concerts on line in flac (lossless audio) format. It is another way for fans to connect to the bands, and it gives them a way to have a copy of the show they just attended and MIGHT prevent all of the crummy cell phone vidoes / recordings.
October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGil
It would have to be a huge, major superstar name for this to work. Unfortunately, you can't develop acts this way. But for the big names...

I don't know about the Big Four show, but I remember several years ago when they did the Rock The Troops concert broadcast. It turned out to be a major nightmare and major money-loser (and that wasn't even a live broadcast). But maybe technology, the times, and the audience has changed.

In response to Gil stating that bands could sell live video/audio of their live shows in realtime... Many bands are beginning to do that, including KISS, Alice Cooper, Slash, and The Cult. Unfortunately, this only works the the bigger acts... for example, this just wouldn't be practical for Airbourne or The Last Vegas. But this is mainly marketed towards people who are already at the concert.
October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBlaine
Lowering ticket prices would be the best way to save the concert industry.
October 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchip
Brilliant, as usual, Allyson!

I actually like the idea of it being done exclusively in Movie Theaters.

Some of you may think I'm old school, but just go to the Regal Hollywood 20 on a Friday night and it's packed with kids and anybody and everybody else for that matter.

Granted, they are going to see a first run, major hyped movie, but if the concert was hyped through teaser trailers, I'm convinced it would pack them in.

I would do it as a series. First, you do a sure fire hit which garners success and then go for the series. The traileers for the series would show snippets of each band performing live and really push the dates each one was happening.

The last shot in the trailer would reprise the band listings and the dates much like the back of a concert T shirt. In fact, make the shirt, shoot it on a hot chick and sell the shirt, too! You could do Aerosmith and Crue, as they trancend all demographics. You could do Metallica and Iron Maiden. Same holds true for them. You could intermix some of the new Metal bands I know nothing about but the kids come out in droves for...

Here's why it would work. Places like Naples, Florida are far away from where all the action is...

I had to see Velvet Revolver and AC/DC in Tampa. And Crue and Lauderdale... All of those places are hikes of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Most people don't bother. There still might be some threshold resistance on the part of the promoters and the bands when the show is playing that close, but if you broadcast like you were saying, a show 10 hours away, people would go to see it in the theaters.

In fact, if the band then came to a venue 2 or 3 hours away on a later date after they saw it, I bet more than just a few people who caught it at the movie theater might be more inclined to make the trek to go see the actual performance live. The movie theater live broadcast, in effect acts as a kind of ad for the actual live shows coming closer (but not that close) at a later date.


Allyson, just call AEG, get a meeting and go pitch it!
October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
I love the crowd energy at live shows, so the theatre thing wouldn't do it for me, but it would probably be cool for a lot of people. Production costs would be high (multiple cameramen, director, transmission equipment, etc.), so it only makes sense for the biggest bands, and ironically, they are the ones that have been faring the best through this year's concert attendance slump.

IMO, the biggest problem with the concert industry is that it's become too expensive. With few exceptions, bands can no longer make a living off of album sales -- people simply aren't buying music like they used to. So bands rely on touring to bring in revenue, and this has meant raising the prices.
October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
Heres the thing though movies aren't getting any cheaper to go see either. Granted they are nothing compared to concerts but it sounds like you could do the same thing only on a concert dvd and that sells for sure.

We need 3 things 1-cheaper tickets 2-a better economy to make money for buying tickets, and 3-big name acts that won't disappoint with new stuff or old stuff that hasn't been heard in a while.

DCI- Drum Corps International did a movie thing like this with lots of a live discussion inbetween the 10 ten best shows of the decade that were voted on then shown in order. This was a neat idea.

The fact remains though if you really want to go a concert, wouldn't actually go the concert???
October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
I've been thinking about this since reading Allyson's post this morning, and I now think that the future of shows will move to the livingroom via the Internet. High fidelity Internet broadcasting is maturing quickly, and I see low-cost streams of live shows with online chatrooms & other interactive features, the ability to immediately purchase downloadable copies of the show, etc. Using Apple TV, Boxee, XBox 360 or whatever, the stream could be played in HD with digital sound, etc.

I could even see companies who will do the broadcasting for the bands in exchange for a cut of the revenues, thereby reducing the investments by the band.
October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
i m not surprised that this years summer tour did so poorly . with a bad economy , people dont have the extra income to spend on concert would be an easy fix to lower ticket prices, but with anything, prices go up.i m sure the cost of touring has gone up, which puts the prices of tickets up.also with illegal downloading , this has put a cut in the record company and artists profits. so touring is the primary way that they make their money.good idea about the movie theater, but i dont think it will help.
October 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbumblefootboy
that is a possibility Bryon, I never thought of that! but back to my point if people want a true concert experience you would think that they would just go to concert. Thats just me thinking thats all.
October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
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The big 4 show happended at our local show here in Buffalo and even though Metallica has been my fav band since 1986 , I just refused to shell out $21 to see it with a couple hundred people in their cell phones etc...I just dont think it would work, now if it were like $7 i woulda gone, ( plus I knew the box set is coming out soon)..I did see a Godsmack DVD release at the same cinema and it was pretty cool , but I wouldnt make a habit of it...

As far as was to "get asses in the seats " maybe set shows at like $25 max $10 for lawn..Maybe offer a free cd for all fans as they leave ( thus gaining cd sales ) , or maybe coupons for free merch , or really reduced etc....maybe random upgrades would be cool . or random meet and greets beer/pop/food coupons....

as someone mentioned the cds of the actual show you were at are priceless to me.

just my 64 cents
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