The demand for concerts might be as strong as ever, yet venue operators are facing a complex and rapidly shifting live music scene. How do venues satisfy fans and maximize revenue streams in a challenging, tech-dominated environment? Many of the time-honored basics for successful venue management still apply (you still need great artists and top-notch crews), but there are also many new opportunities that have never been available before.
Operators who embrace the changing landscape and prepare for the future are best positioned to capitalize on emerging trends. Automation, shifting market dynamics, and the rise of streaming are all potential revenue sources for venues. Consider this guide for generating new revenue streams that can carry your venue into an exciting future for live music.
VIP access and preshow experiences
It’s a wild new world of VIP packages, and concert planners are scrambling to outdo one another. Consider the backstage options for the final leg of Katy Perry’s smash-hit residency in Las Vegas. As a part of a Firework VIP Experience, concertgoers are splurging for a meet-and-greet that includes a preshow tequila toast with Perry. Even if fans are too excited to taste the world-class sushi that also comes with the package, they’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Most venue operators can’t get Perry for tequila toasts, but it shows how creative today’s live-music scene has become. We’ve seen a significant boost in demand for VIP packages, especially for preshow add-ons that get fans close to their favorite artists. On a local level, venue operators can work with their artists to provide similar access to the biggest fans. While artists shouldn’t be pushed to do something they aren’t comfortable with, most bands are happy to go the extra mile to deliver an unforgettable experience.
Upgrading live streams
Streaming is everywhere, but how do you seize its potential and turn it into a fresh source of revenue? While streaming concerts can pay off directly with viewing charges, venue operators should consider every live stream as a dynamic advertisement for the venue.
This means making sure all the visual and audio elements are maximized for the at-home streamer. Many venues now use artificial intelligence to adjust the sound as the show progresses, making for a more accurate and efficient process than performing manual adjustments.
Fans who enjoy a live concert via streaming are then much more likely to turn into ticket buyers. But the quality of the show has to be there, which means tinkering with the look and sound of a live stream until it’s as close to perfect as possible.
Getting a handle on streaming will also set venue operators up for one of the next big developments in live music—the augmented reality revolution. As we see from the stunning success of Taylor Swift’s concert movie crossover, there is an enormous appetite for fans who just can’t make it to the show.
AR technology will soon catch up with the demand of fans who want to experience shows remotely, ushering in a new chapter of live music experiences. Forward-looking venue operators are embracing the current reality of streaming while getting ready for the next big thing on the horizon.
Creating a more versatile events calendar
Consider the concert scenes of Nashville and Austin—two of the top cities in the U.S. for live music. Both have plenty of country shows, but their real strength is in their musical diversity. Any music lover can find a show to enjoy in either city, keeping venues packed all year thanks to an absolutely loaded events calendar.
On a smaller scale, any live music venue can follow their lead and create a versatile calendar of shows. Having some popular staples will create a foundation, but reaching new fans is the key to generating fresh sources of revenue. By filling the calendar with talented artists offering different types of performances, a venue can build a strong reputation with an eclectic audience.
Getting creative with partnerships and co-productions
Maintaining a more diverse show calendar gets a lot easier with fresh partnerships and co-productions. Venue owners with a strong network of industry professionals will have a significant advantage in adding exciting new shows. From splitting up the risk to working with partners to improve live streaming, co-productions have plenty of upside.
The one caveat for co-productions is the need for better organization, more efficient bookkeeping, and a system of total transparency. This can be difficult for some venue operators who are set in their ways, but modern tools can simplify the process and make co-productions much more manageable. Cloud-based technology that uses automation can provide a major upgrade for any system, helping owners handle documentation, calendar keeping, settlement, and more.
Giving the ticketing and tracking process a facelift with real-time data
It’s more important than ever to have a firm grasp of the audience. Concert planners are no longer flying blind as they assess the build-up to a big show. Real-time data lets venue operators see how well they’re reaching fans, providing an opportunity to adjust as necessary. This dynamic lets pros track ticket revenue and make much more accurate projections long before the concert date.
Enhanced data also does more than improve bookkeeping and estimates—it empowers marketers to pinpoint issues and see where their efforts are bearing the most fruit. If their digital campaigns are not hitting the base, they can shift to more conventional options (e.g., flyers and traditional ads). If certain merchandise is selling well, they can ensure there is enough on hand on the night of the concert.
Enhanced, real-time targeting creates many ways to increase revenue and generate enthusiasm that can pay off in both the short and long run.
Other ideas to consider
There are plenty of other ways to get in tune with the audience and improve revenue streams. The key is to look out for developing trends and anticipate what audiences are looking for. In many cases, showing some creativity and marketing innovation can improve a venue’s reputation and increase a venue’s profile. Some of the other ways to establish new revenue streams include:
Loyalty programs have become a critical way of tethering a user base to a brand. Surveys have even shown that about 70% of Americans see loyalty programs as important when making purchases. But loyalty programs aren’t limited to coffee chains and grocery stores; live music venues can also use loyalty programs to increase ticket sales while providing more overall value for music fans. A strong program anchored by a versatile calendar will encourage fans to keep on the lookout for the next great show.
Cashless payment options
Having cashless payment options is a necessity in the modern age, as research shows that consumers are much more likely to spend more when they aren’t using cash. The number of people who don’t use cash at all also continues to rise, especially among the youngest music fans.
But the savviest venue managers are taking the trend a step further. By using data to understand their intended audience, concert planners can utilize the cashless options that the audience is most comfortable with. This eliminates the barriers to making a purchase, creating convenience for customers and bolstering revenue for the venue and artists.
A well-planned sustainability initiative can be an ideal win-win for the venue and audience. Gen Z and millennials don’t just support brands focused on sustainability—they are more likely to make a purchase when they feel a brand has the same sustainability concerns.
Considering how prominent Gen Z and millennials are when it comes to concerts, it’s important that venues find pathways to successful outreach. Transparency is also a key trait that younger generations look for, providing incentives for venues to be clear and effective with their sustainability goals.
Finding new revenue streams that can drive your business forward
The ability to develop new revenue streams can maximize a business’s potential. By staying in touch with the audience through real-time data and adapting to trends, venue operators can enhance their footprint and reputation. The result is more tickets being sold, more revenue from VIP packages, and demand that can sustain a venue through all corners of the calendar.
Alongside a little creativity and an eye for where the industry is headed, managers also need modern digital tools to stay organized. Prism’s all-in-one management platform designed by music pros helps venue operators prepare for whatever comes next in the world of live music. Try out a demo to see how Prism’s platform can support your venue at every turn.