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Venue Summit: Corridors of power

Venue Summit: Corridors of power

Chair: Stuart Galbraith, Kilimanjaro Live (UK)

Guest speakers:
Rainer Appel, CTS Eventim (DE)
Michael Brill, D.Live / Venues of Düsseldorf (DE)
Detlef Kornett, DEAG (DE)
Lucy Noble, Royal Albert Hall (UK)
James Sandom, Red Light Management (UK)
Tom Taaffe, UTA (UK)

For all the talk about artists and managers holding the reigns, who really calls the shots in the live music business? The answer could come down to who owns the ticket, as the Venue Summit continued with UK promoter, Kilimanjaro’s Stuart Galbraith in the chair.

Lucy Noble from London’s Royal Albert Hall explained: “We’ve gone past thinking it’s just about the transaction of selling the ticket. If we can contact the customer afterwards regarding security, bars and restaurants; and share photos after, it’s about creating a whole journey for them. We charge really low booking fees for tickets.”

Galbraith responded: “As a promoter, it’s my job to sell [the ticket] on behalf of the artist, but if you’ve got 75% of the tickets you’re stopping me doing that. I allocate tickets to as many agents as possible in exchange for their marketing support.”

Tom Taaffe from UTA said it can be difficult to understand what stage a growing artist is at in their career without seeing how quickly they can sell-out a venue; sometimes having most of the manifest with just one outlet can slow that sales process down.

“As a promoter, it’s my job to sell [the ticket] on behalf of the artist, but if you’ve got 75% of the tickets you’re stopping me doing that"

“If you sell-out [Amsterdam’s] Paradiso or Brixton [Academy] really quickly you know there’s multiple shows in it or you can go to bigger, more risky shows next time,” he said.

Galbraith acknowledged that everyone has one priority: the fan. “But we all have different versions of that priority. It’s about money – the retaining of the database, booking fees and so on. We are not working together as well as we could be in the interests of the fan.”

James Sandom of Red Light Management in the UK said: “It’s very concerning as a manager when you’re trying to manage the fan experience. Part of loyalty is a good fan experience. Have they enjoyed the show, but also, have they enjoyed the whole experience from buying the ticket to afterwards?”

Detlef Kornett, of German promoter DEAG, astutely observed: “If there was more money in the core activity of promoting a band, we wouldn’t have this argument. The problem is that running a venue or a promoter company is pressured, so all the auxiliary incomes have to keep up.

“As a result, we lose sight of the fan experience.”

After some debate about whether promoters felt threatened by venues promoting shows and cutting out the promoter, Rainer Appel from promoter, venue owner, and ticketing giant, CTS Eventim, summed it up: “Nobody in this industry has invested more upfront than a venue. They must have long-term recoupment strategy so they depend on the revenues that the artists and sports bring in. Can venues afford to turn down business from a promoter? No.”

Michael Brill, from D.Live in Dusseldorf, Germany, suggested the whole industry focussed on putting all its data together for the common good. “You often find the artist has communication channels, as does the venue and promoter. We have to put them together. We will face challenges from other entertaining industries such as VR and so on; we need to watch how we grow our products and bring it all together.”

How can we work together rather than competing with each other? asked Galbraith. Among the responses, Taffe suggested remarketing to people already at shows is key. Often venues don’t help sell another show to an audience that’s already in the venue, he said.

Brill suggested: “I’ve never experienced any show where promoter, agent, and artist came together to think about customer journey. We don’t even consider our visitors to be customers.” He suggested becoming like major retailers and putting data together to sell better and faster.

Other sessions in the Venue Summit series:
Venue Summit: Spaces for stars
Venue Summit: Sponsorship & branding
Venue Summit: Esports

The Venue Summit 2018 was run in association with: