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Do You Need Concert Management Software?

What Is Concert Management Software

Concert tour management software is designed to give artists, managers, and promoters a streamlined, centralized way to manage all of the moving parts associated with running a professional music tour. Without it, concert management can be disorganized, chaotic, and inefficient, leading to miscommunication, missed opportunities, and missed revenue.

The best part about this software is that it provides a single place for everyone to collaborate and share data. From calendars and conversations to contracts, settlements and financials, users can stay on the same page to know what’s coming up, their responsibilities, and if their efforts are paying off.

COVID-19 Won’t Last Forever

It’s been nearly a year since concerts were on anyone’s calendar. Unfortunately, many live music events are still shelved until COVID-19 gets under control. Not to pour salt in the wound, but Pollstar says the global concert business lost $9.7 billion in ticket sales in 2020, with another $30 billion in related revenue streams.

So, the last thing you might be thinking about right  now is concert management or software to make it easier because it’s so hectic out there. Truth be told, many venues, artists, promoters and the like are barely hanging on. But it won’t be like this forever. Live music will come back. And when it does, you can bet it will come back like never before.

Rolling Stone says that thanks to the vaccine, late spring and summer 2021 may be a realistic timeframe to expect amphitheater shows and festivals to resume, with “normal” touring to commence by the fall. Indoor venues may have a tougher time opening their doors, with estimates of that happening coming in at early 2022. “Booking agents, managers, and tour promoters say that next year’s landscape will likely be a mish-mash of one-offs, outdoor events, half or three-quarter capacity concerts, and shorter runs, eventually ramping up to lengthier treks,” the magazine says.

Related: Interview with EXIT/IN Nashville on Thriving and Surviving During COVID

No one knows for sure, because there are so many variables at play. The trick now is to be prepared for anything.

COVID Challenges

One of the biggest issues with the shutdown has been when and how to schedule shows without having any real confidence of if those shows can happen. Typically, shows are booked up to six months ahead of time to have time to promote the show, sell tickets, order merch, etc. Today, we are seeing holds a year or more into the future, with the hope that by then, things will be opened up. Waiting to see won’t work in the concert management world. You can’t book a show at the last minute and have time to do what you need to do to make it a success.

This uncertainty and skepticism is forcing many artists and managers to hold off on booking any shows until 2022. Hard to imagine waiting another year to put on a concert or go see live music, but it’s where we are, and there’s still no end in sight.

Interestingly, Rolling Stone points out that when tours do come back in full force, artists will all come out swinging at the same time. Finding venues and dates will be tough for smaller players, as competition will be fierce, and bigger acts will secure the best venues and itineraries. There’s also the risk of having too many options at once, forcing fans to choose between artists.

Artists and managers are going to have to get creative to win their piece of the pie. Whether that means booking shows 18 or more months out, finding ways to engage with fans during the pandemic, or building relationships with venues, there will be opportunities to do things differently than before.

Venues, too, will need to get organized, knowing that when the floodgates open, it will be balls to the wall. Some venues already expect many of the holds they have will pull out, so they are booking up to eight holds on each date to cover their asses. It’s a logistical nightmare to work with all of the stakeholders and piece together some sort of schedule. 

Related: Music Venue Management: Moving Past Spreadsheets to Track Concert Budgets

Venues who can’t keep up with the calendar and holds, those who miss emails and calls, and those who can’t work quickly – they will suffer. Remember, artists and managers will be working around the clock to secure concert tour dates. They aren’t going to wait around for a venue to return a call or sign a contract if they fear another artist can steal the date from them. They’ll simply move on to another venue.

But concert management is more than artists, managers, and venues. It’s about selling tickets. If a venue can open at full capacity…let’s rephrase that to when a venue can open at full capacity, it needs to be at full capacity in order for everyone to make a little money. 

Higher risk artists, those who aren’t well known, present a problem for venues who desperately need money. They may not be able to risk giving these artists a shot, and many smaller venues that are the stepping stone for new artists are shuttered. Artists and managers must work hand in hand with promoters and venues to sell as many tickets as humanly possible. It’s the only way the live music business can survive.

Get Ready with Concert Management Software

The news isn’t all doom and gloom. All of this time spent at home is giving everyone time to reflect, discovering that standard operating procedures don’t have to stay standard. In fact, perhaps now is the time to shake things up, try something new, and find ways of working smarter. 

Concert management is complex, involving a lot of people, moving dates and schedules, paperwork, and money changing hands. It’s crazy to think of handling all of this manually, with eye-bulging spreadsheets, or with disconnected systems. Software, one that is specifically built to manage live music and all of its moving parts, makes the entire process more organized, efficient, easier, and faster. 

This is a tool that promoters and venues can use to book more shows with greater precision and confidence with less back-and-forth and mistakes. A tool that makes tracking revenue and understanding break-evens earlier in the process so better marketing decisions can be made to promote sales. A tool that makes settlements as easy as a few clicks instead of spending hours calculating who owes what and how much. 

The beauty of concert tour management software is that it ensures that everything from the hold stage to the settlement is in one place, accessible on a mobile device. Users can manage holds on one calendar and share it with who they want. They can generate offers in seconds and see break-even calculations, track revenue and expenses in real-time, even linking the software with the ticketing platform to see how each ticket sale impacts the numbers. Teams can collaborate. External and internal settlements can be managed in one application. 

We know anyone in the live music business is struggling right now. The clock is ticking and sadly, many have already called it quits. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel for those who can hang on. Concerts and fans will return. The revenue will come and bills will get paid. Now is the time to get your house in order, building a foundation for what is to come. Concert tour management software is a great way to make sure you have what it takes to hit the road running when the good times roll again. 

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