Like many I love music, like some I love going to gigs, like relatively few (in the UK) I love country music.
Such is my passion I sign up to mailing lists to gain pre-sale access to gig tickets. In short I’m a passionate consumer, happy to plan ahead and pay to see more of my favourite bands.
However recently I found new hoops to jump through to earn the privilege of simply buying tickets.
The first hurdle I hit was a band mailing list telling me that if I pre-ordered their album on CD (yes, CD) from HMV (yes, HMV) then I’d gain access to an exclusive pre sale. This felt decidedly odd. I don’t buy albums anymore, I can’t even play CDs anymore. And I’m not even sure where my nearest HMV is anymore. Needless to say I didn’t jump at the chance.
However I realised Spotify (with whom I’m a premium subscriber) is at it too. Here, fans are told they will undergo a technical evaluation of the length of time spent listening to bands before they might earn the right to pre-sale tickets. However I like to listen to a variety of music, and rarely listen to the same artist day after day, so pre-sale tickets are out of reach once again, with what felt like strange barriers placed between me and my band.
I understand industries in change are trialling new ways of making money – but why do they have to make access to longed-for products ever more competitive, expensive and time consuming?
For instance, can’t the music industry identify what consumers love about their product and find new ways for them to enjoy it (and pay for the pleasure)? If more people want to attend gigs, couldn’t pay per view gig streaming be huge? Or if people simply love getting together with like minded fans, can’t bands find ways to bring people together socially without performing full traditional ‘gigs’?
My fruitless search for tickets made me realise how untapped the demand is for fans to experience more of their favourite artists, and just how big the growth opportunities are if the industry can be a bit more creative in unlocking them.
But I will still keep searching for those tickets.