Concert Optimization for Bands

Music is a crowded space. Anyone with even the slightest passion for music can organize a concert or upload a track to MySpace. Travel to a city like Austin, TX or Nashville, TN and almost everyone you meet is an aspiring musician. Making it professionally as a musician is incredibly difficult and not for the faint of heart. I’m not saying you suck, but I am saying that there is an incredible amount of competition.

With so many bands playing shows and competing for an audience, you need a way to stand out. There are plenty of blog posts and articles about how to use social media to increase exposure to your music. They’ve got social media optimization, search optimization, band optimization, any everything else optimization. But very few of them talk about concert optimization.

Arguably the most authentic way to build a fan base is not through social media, but from your concerts. You know, the kind of stuff where real people interact, instead of digital profiles that are strangers anywhere but online. You can build a pretty loyal fan base with live shows, but in order to do that you need to understand what people want and specifically what aspects of your shows they like and don’t like. That’s what concert optimization is all about.

In the past, we have talked about quantitative concert reviews on this blog here and here. Concert optimization as we define it simply involves building on quantitative concert reviews and gaining insight from them. Just as a fan can learn something from a quantitative concert review, a band can do the same. Here’s how:

  1. After each concert, ask fans to review your show. Create some sort of online form using Google Docs that they can use to review your show. Define specific criteria like on-stage banter, setlist, energy, etc. Or make sure your band and tour schedule is added to so fans can easily submit reviews.
  2. Study reviews after each show. Find our what people did and didn’t like.
  3. Take note of fan preferences at each venue and city you perform.
  4. Next time you perform, implement changes to your show that may help boost scores in a specific category. For example, if you consistently see low scores for “Setlist”, you might want to consider playing different songs, mixing it up a little, or taking requests from fans.

The goal in all of this is to deliver more customized and personalized experiences. You’re getting to know your audience so that you can deliver a show more tailored to their preferences. This is how you stand out. Fans are going to remember how unique your concerts are and are thus more likely to invite friends or see you again.

Concert optimization is a concept we are building on at Showasis. However, we hope by introducing these ideas bands will begin to think about optimizing their events and delivering experiences that fans respect, love, and ultimately want to have again. We’d love to hear if there is anything you are doing now to optimize experiences for your fans.

Related posts:

  1. Qualitative Concert Reviews Suck
  2. Criteria for Reviewing a Concert
  3. Welcome to Showasis
  4. The Future Economy of Music

One Response to “ “Concert Optimization for Bands”

  1. Sean says:

    I think your idea is blossoming at the right time. New music technology has given consumers the ability to offload their older music collection from CD’s to portable devices (mp3 players, iPads, etc), discover new music via the web (MySpace, Pandora,, etc) and purchase music by song (not necessarily by album). It has become increasingly more important for live music artists to optimize the concert experience for their audience in order to make a lasting connection with their fans.

    There are a lot of bands out there. Your band is just a needle in a haystack (mine too!). Yes, you need to be talented, interesting and able to play, sing and dance with a unique flavor, but you also need to connect with your audience. In the past, bands could do that through music labels, which would manufacture that connection in various ways (band meet-and-greets, local radio contests, etc) . Today, there are more outlets to find music other than yours. There is a lot of noise in the ears of music fans today. Making the concert experience better for them will create a lasting (and profitable) impression.

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