Five Questions: Fabrice Sergent

The co-founder of Bandsintown wants to shake up the concert business, and artists stand to benefit
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Concert discovery platform Bandsintown is rethinking the way artists and fans connect around concert events. The model works like this: Bandsintown creates a fan’s “music DNA” based on listening behavior across various platforms, identifies the fan’s location, and delivers personalized concert notifications as soon as tour dates are announced, while letting artists post personalized messages to fans.

With a network of more than 450,000 artists, 35 million concertgoers, and 15,000 promoters, venues and festivals, it looks like the company is on to something.

Recently, Bandsintown launched a Big Break emerging-artist program and Bandsintown Manager, which gives venues and festivals advanced tools to promote events. This month, the company will produce the first data-driven artist showcase at SXSW.

Cofounder Fabrice Sergent explains how artists can make the most of the Bandsintown platform.

How is fan ticket-buying behavior evolving lately, and how does Bandsintown tap into those trends to help artists increase ticket sales?

The live music industry has been enjoying strong growth over the last few years, at a 5 percent rate per year. More fans go to more concerts in general. There is definitely a renewed interest from Millennials in emerging artists and bands. Additionally, Millennials buy their tickets much later on average than the casual concertgoer.

We’re working with ticketing companies and concert promoters to communicate about shows at different times of the promotion cycle—at the time of announcement, and up to the day before the show. Fans who RSVP to a show are reminded by the platform about the show via a specific alert, for example.

How are artists using your platform to convert “interested” fans into ticket buyers?

Personalization is key, and timing as well. Bandsintown sends over 100 million event alerts via emails and app notifications each month, and each alert is targeted to fans based on their “music DNA” and where they live. Artists can now fill in an Artist Profile and own their page in the Bandsintown app, so fans can better discover their music and learn more about who they are. A deep integration with music services enables fans to listen to tracks without leaving Bandsintown.

Tell me how your Big Break emerging artist spotlight program can help propel artists to the next career level.

It is really difficult for young artists or bands to emerge out of the noise. Our algorithm is very sophisticated and already makes sure that 60 percent of our alerts are for events we recommend—and not just for shows by artists that the fan already knows and tracks. And it works: More than 50 percent of our fans went to a show of an artist they had never heard of thanks to Bandsintown. In that spirit, we created Big Break.

We will identify and spotlight as many as 50 artists per year that our data suggests will break that year. We look at the 50 fastest growing artists over a period of six months, who have between 100 and 5,000 trackers. Those that we identify will get free emails from us to fans of similar artists, showcase opportunities, and touring opportunities as part of the program.

With the new Bandsintown Manager platform, you’ve given venues and other service providers tools to promote themselves. How does that create new opportunities for artists?

Artists can now post messages directly to their fans. Because Bandsintown users are the superfans—engaged, willing to pay to go see artists live in addition to streaming them—artists and their teams understand that messaging a Bandsintown fan is far more valuable than a “like” on Facebook. Venues now have pages on the platform. Our search engine will better identify them if they enhance their profile via Bandsintown Manager.

Can you please share one really great example of an amazing artist success story—someone who has tapped into the power of the Bandsintown platform in a unique, successful way?

Right now, 450,000 artists are using this platform to better connect and communicate with their fans. Thousands of artists post to their fans. Check out how our Big Break artists such as Peach Pit, Foxtrax, and Sneakers engage with their fans on the platform on a regular basis as they grow their careers.