Concert Return on Attendance

Live music is all about the moment. Whether it be when the lights go down, when you’re belting out your favorite song, or when the band comes back out for an encore- you find that moment that made it all worth it. But what happens after the moment? Concert tickets can be expensive and hard to find. And they only last a few hours. Is there some sort of residual benefit fans can receive from attending a concert? I think so.

I’d like to introduce a concept of Return on Attendance. Return on attendance (ROA) is the value that a concertgoer receives from attending a live music event days after the event itself. Kind of like a gift that keeps on giving. Some bands have a great return on attendance but many don’t. However by considering return on attendance bands can increase the value of their live music events in a way that ultimately drives demand and increases loyalty.

O.A.R. is a band that I think has a great return on attendance. Their shows are always original and organic. The band does a tremendous job of feeding off and reacting to fan energy. As a result their shows feel personalized for fans. Even when playing for consecutive days in the same city, each show is completely different from the last. However the band doesn’t stop there. They actually create a residual return on attendance by taking that organic event and empowering fans to benefit from it after the lights go out.

Consider one of O.A.R.’s recent live albums Rain or Shine as an example. Recorded at Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island in Chicago in 2009, Rain or Shine features 37 tracks from the two day outdoor event. Can you guess what the weather was like those two days? It was an absolute downpour almost the whole time. Rain or Shine is a tribute to all the fans that stuck through the bad weather. Now released as a limited edition album, fans have an “I was there” token of fanhood that allows them to memorialize the event forever. A friend of mine who attended this event listens to the album obsessively and still to this day speaks about it with tremendous pride. It’s obvious her return on attendance for this show is pretty high.

Return on attendance goes beyond live recordings and event specific merchandise. Simply thanking fans through social media channels the day after a show gives fans an emotional type of ROA. By recognizing that fans helped make for a special night that was unlike any other, bands reward fans for their attendance and give them a sense of pride that they carry with them for the next week. Simple gestures like this increase ROA by extending the joy fans receive from attending a concert.

Finally, consider return on attendance as part of a loyalty program. Is there some long-term benefit fans can receive from attending live music events? A band can create incentives for fans to attend multiple events on a particular tour or even over the course of band’s life by rewarding fans for their attendance. The more you attend, the more you get. One example might be to hand out “puzzle pieces” to fans at shows that they can collect to unlock a special promotion code or a limited edition poster.

Bands should ask, “How will our fans benefit from attending this concert after the show ends?” Whether it be just putting a smile on fans’ faces for the next week because of an epic performance or through event specific merchandise, bands have an opportunity to drive loyalty and demand by improving return on attendance. Don’t just put on a show that fans forget about the next day- create events that extend “the moment” for weeks to come.

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  1. [...] for updates on more awesome articles about live music!Last year we wrote about a concept called Concert Return on Attendance (CROA) -  the value that a concertgoer receives from attending a live music event days after the event [...]

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