Campaign Thoughts: All Time Low

October 4, 2020

American pop punk band All Time Low just announced a series of live streamed concerts. Almost a year into a pandemic, not that surprising and definitely not innovative. But how they’re rolling it out? *kisses fingers like I’ve just eaten pizza*

The Basement Noise Concert series is ON SALE NOW!Not being able to play shows for you all this year has been…

Posted by All Time Low on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The band will be performing five live streamed concerts on Saturdays from October to December. The first live stream will be ATL performing their latest album Wake Up, Sunshine in full, and each subsequent concert will be a curated set list from a different band member. Tickets are sold per stream, but fans can also purchase a 5-stream concert pass that gives them a discount and access to special merch.

Here’s why it’s bloody brilliant:

  • Partnering with a different concert promoter in each territory is smart. Just like they would with an IRL concert, working with a promoter allows the band to tap into their resources (e.g. on ground publicist, social media, past purchaser databases, local connections) while also leveraging the cultural equity of the promoter. That last point is especially important. The Aus promoter in this case is Destroy All Lines, a well-loved tour promoter in the metal/punk/hardcore scene with an established following.
  • Rolling out a series of events creates the same excitement and hype as a normal tour. Marketing can use activity and content from the first stream to sell tickets to subsequent nights.
  • Having more than one night also makes it easier for fans to find a time that suits them.
  • The 5-stream concert pass is clever because hardcore fans can and will purchase it to make sure they don’t miss anything cool. The exclusive merch only available to these users is also an ingenious way to incentivise the pass, and fans will definitely use it as a badge of honour to show their level of love. (What? You only got the merch for Rian’s October 24 concert? Check out my merch that I got because I love them enough to watch every single one.)
  • Spreading the 5 dates by two or three weekends apart also means that fans won’t get super bored. If they crammed it into a couple of weekends like an actual tour (e.g. Friday, Saturday and Sunday across two weekends), it’s less likely that people would have tuned in to watch them in succession.
  • Having one show dedicated to playing the whole album from start to finish is a great way to promote the album again. It’s what we would call “PR-able”, and a lot of media coverage for this series has focused on that angle.
  • It’s also a great way to give legs to an album off cycle. Wake Up, Sunshine will definitely see a boost in downloads and streams from this activity.
  • Focusing on individual band members leverages the type of fandom that pop punk audiences tend to have (e.g. forum discussions about which member is your fave) and unlocks many member-specific content opportunities.
  • They’ve listed the streaming series as a tour across sites like Songkick, tapping into those platforms as another marketing touch point.
  • The $20ish price point per stream feels right. It doesn’t devalue their music by giving it away for free, and sits okay considering GA tickets to their 2017 Melbourne concert was at the $100 price point.

Not every artist will be able to roll out a multi-market live stream series, but here are my thought starters for other musicians:

  • Do you really need to undertake your live stream efforts solo? Or can you partner with your label, a trusted promoter (especially outside of your home territory), media partner or venue? You’ll need to split the profits, but will you generate more ticket sales by doing this?
  • Can you run a series? Could you split it up to have themes (perhaps one concert per album or per member, or with themes like Christmas, Halloween and New Year’s)?
  • If your audience size is big enough or you have access to on demand merch production, can you offer special merch items only to attendees?
  • If you’re running a series, are you being realistic about how often they should run? Are they far apart enough that the same users will come back, but regular enough to keep momentum and excitement up?
  • Can you add a PR angle into your message? (E.g. recent album in full, anniversary gig.)
  • Can you offer discounts or merch incentives to attend more than one?
  • Are you using all the marketing avenues you would use to promote an IRL concert (e.g. Facebook events, Songkick)? It’s important to note that almost all of these IRL concert listing sites have pivoted to include virtual events.
  • Do you have a pricing strategy? How do you virtual concert ticket prices sit against your average IRL concert ticket? If it’s more, what extra value are you providing (e.g. pre-concert access, behind-the-scenes previews, interviews, special views) and have you clearly communicated this? If it’s free or less, have you made sure it doesn’t devalue your music?

I have to admit that I was a live stream skeptic in April and May, and didn’t see the point of seeing a shoddy free stream of an artist back then if I could just wait a few more months. But as we find ourselves a year deep into the COVID-19, more elegantly executed live streams really hit that spot 💅

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