The Swiss Army Knife of Live Music Events

Liz McTaggart

Jan. 19, 2017

It used to be de rigueur to hold up your lighter during a ballad at a concert. These days, you look across the audience at a live music event—large or small—and instead you see the brightly lit screens of smartphones,and not just during the slow songs either.

Concert-goers—like almost everyone, everywhere are finding that their mobile devices are essential companions at live music events, not only for capturing and sharing their experiences with friends, but for researching events to attend, purchasing tickets, connecting with other attendees, and even navigating massive music festivals (“where are the bathrooms?”). With new apps and deeper integrations with existing applications, mobile phones have become increasingly necessary for a positive live music experience.

Let’s dive deeper into the many ways mobile devices make the best music events possible:

Event Discovery

Well before a concert ever begins, mobile devices play a role in helping fans find live music events to attend. Capitalizing on this, Pandora and Ticketfly recently partnered up to provide personalized live event notifications based on music that listeners have demonstrated interest in (by either thumbing up or creating stations, for example). Listeners see these notifications across their Pandora experience in the form of push notifications in their mobile feed, email and even audio messages recorded by the artists themselves.

Already, more than 60 million listeners have received a notification about a show we think they’d love, and those notifications have proven to drive discovery: 70% of Pandora listeners who received push notifications said they weren’t previously aware that the show was happening.

Of course, fans aren’t just on Pandora. They’re using their mobile devices all over the web, including on sites like Facebook. Facebook also realizes the significant opportunity in connecting fans with events, and launched a standalone Events app for iOS in October 2016. The Events app allows users to see what events their friends are interested in, discover new events based on time, location and interests, and see updates from events they’re already connected to.

Ticket Buying

No surprise here, mobile ticket purchases are steadily increasing. Smartphones are officially the preferred device for consuming digital media, representing over 65% of total time spent with digital, according to comScore. Juniper Research estimates that close to 23 billion event and transport tickets will be bought using a mobile device by 2020.

We recognized the need for easy mobile purchasing, and launched Ticketfly’s dedicated iOS app in early 2016, which allows fans to find, share and purchase tickets to events in as little as two taps. In 2016, mobile devices accounted for 52% of Ticketfly’s traffic and 44% of all tickets sold.  

Many venues and events also allow mobile tickets to be used in place of paper tickets. A study commissioned by Ticketfly in May 2015 found that 70% of smartphone owners age 18-34 who attend live events want to use their phone as their ticket for entry. A whopping two-thirds of the same age group expressed interest in using their phone to pay for food, beverages and merchandise once inside the venue.

Festival and In-Venue Engagement

Attending a large-scale music festival means parsing through lots of information. You need to know where the merchandise tent is, what time and which stage your favorite bands are playing, how to find your friends, where the delicious-looking cheeseburger you saw that girl eating is from, and if your wristband gets you into VIP. A number of major festivals have created their own dedicated mobile apps, getting the most important information into the hands of attendees while reducing the costs and potential waste associated with printed guides and excessive signage. In addition, there are dozens of other third-party apps dedicated to making one’s time at a festival less of a hassle and more fun.

As a concert-goer, the sea of glowing phone screens in front of you is an uncomfortably familiar image. Whether you find it distracting or something you love to participate in, it’s clear that the majority of live music fans use mobile devices to commemorate their event experience.

In 2015, Ticketfly explored the question of how often music fans use their devices at live events, finding that 31% of Millennial concert-goers (age 18-34) use a mobile device during half of the event or longer. Additionally, more than 22% reported that they’re likely to share images they captured at a concert on social media.

With the number of global smartphone users expected to top 2.3 billion in 2017, we expect mobile usage at live music events to only increase in the coming years. Even though Apple has reportedly been working on software to potentially disable shooting photos and videos during concerts, we don’t imagine it’s going away anytime soon. Concert and festival attendees demand a more personalized, interactive experience, and smartphones are the multifaceted tool that’s going to get them there. So, whether you’re a festival team, venue owner or promoter—having a clear mobile strategy for every stage of your event lifecycle is crucial to providing your fans with the most positive live music experience.

This post was originally published on Pandora for Brands’ Insights blog.

SOURCES:
Ticketfly internal metrics, Jan 2017
Ticketfly/Harris Poll survey, May 2015
Juniper Research, “Mobile – the Big Ticket” whitepaper, April 2016
ComScore, “2016 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus” whitepaper, March 2016

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