Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Live Nation’s New Site Wants You to Go to the Show, Then Come Back Again

Up until yesterday, if you visited Live Nation’s Web site, you were only there to do one thing — buy a ticket for a concert or event.

And if you end up at today, you’ll probably end up doing the same thing. But the live events giant is hoping that you’ll start doing more there, as a result of a site overhaul. It’s supposed to give you a reason to stay longer, and maybe even pay a visit when you’re not going to pay for a show.

As always, it’s a lot easier for you to visit the site than for me to try to explain what it looks like.

That said, there are a couple of things you’ll want to pay attention to when you’re there: There’s a lot more video and other material produced by Live Nation itself, in cooperation with the performers it is doing business with. And there’s a lot of stuff produced by fans themselves, who are now generating content for the site without knowing it.

That second feature is what Live Nation is calling “Showbook,” and it’s quite clever. It harvests photos that fans have taken of a particular event, then posted to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., collects them in one place, and sorts them by date and show. It works as a preview for the show you’re going to see, and a reason to come back after, because you can see your pictures, and lots of pictures from people just like you.

This seems straightforward to an ignoramus like me, but Eric Garland, who heads up Live Nation’s digital team, assures me that it’s not.

Head over to the listing for Justin Bieber’s upcoming show in New York for a good example.

The idea, says Garland, who came aboard last year when Live Nation bought his BigChampagne entertainment data company, is that while all of that stuff might be of interest to your Facebook friends, Twitter pals, etc., most of them probably don’t care about it at all.

Meanwhile, there are lots of people who don’t know you, but who do love Bieber, and they’d like to see your snapshots: “We’re bringing all of those moments together in the right rooms, for the right people.”

The challenge for Garland and his group will be convincing people that they should be checking out more than a couple times a year, when they want to buy a ticket. Right now the site gets around three million visitors a month.

One of the reasons music sites have struggled to get scale on the Web in general is that unlike “TV” or “sports,” most people aren’t fans of “music” — they like specific bands and specific genres.

So if they’re Bieber believers or crusty Neil Young fans or whatever, they end up on sites that cater to that narrow band. But Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino figures there’s still an open space for him to create a consumer brand that people associate with “live entertainment,” and the site overhaul is supposed to be a first step toward that.

We’ll be talking with Rapino in February at our Dive Into Media conference, so we can check up on the strategy then.

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