San Francisco-based Magnifi has just released an app designed to address major shortcomings in the concert-buying experience, one that can solidly be described as ‘fragmented’. Building from the basics of proximity-based concert listings, the venue-focused app offers previews of performing artists to better inform concert purchases, and hopefully stimulate in-the-moment decisions.
Magnifi has also built ticketing functionality directly into the app, an approach designed to convert fans into attendees with the least amount of hassle and friction.
Overall, Magnifi, a DMN partner, is aiming to replace the disconnected experiences of artist discovery, event searching, and ticket purchasing. “Depending on your location, there are anywhere from 30-50 venues that have shows going on most of the week,” CEO Toby Gabriner told Digital Music News. “If you’re interested in seeing live music, there’s a real dearth of context on which artists are playing.”
“More often than not you don’t know the artists that are coming through.”
There’s also a pretty substantial awareness issue that Magnifi is hoping to address. “More often than not you don’t know the artists that are coming through,” Gabriner noted, while also noting that fans of established, superstar-level artists are often unaware of an ongoing tour or gig. “Then, there are fans that didn’t even realize their favorite artists were playing in their town.”
On the newer artist front, Magnifi fills a large gap in the current concert listing app: previewing. Searching by filters like venue, location, date, or genre, fans can sift through all sorts of possibilities by sampling the music first. That dramatically reduces the downside risk of a bad time, and could be a missing ingredient to sway reluctant fans.
That may result in bigger crowds at venues, especially as Magnifi starts to scale. Scanning the Bay Area, Gabriner estimates that at 300-900 person venues, on average, roughly 65-75 percent of capacities are typically filled. Which of course means that up to 35 percent of gigs are empty, on average. “That’s a good gap to help fill,” Gabriner said.
On top of that, there’s the potential to notch audiences just a little bit, with a big, scaled impact. “It’s hard to nail down the total number of shows out there, but if there are hundreds of thousands of shows in the US, just moving the needle a little can mean something.”
In terms of functionality, Magnifi has emerged with something solid out-of-the-gate, with a multitude of tasks properly multi-tasked. That means ticketing can happen alongside previewing, and discovery alongside scanning. That’s often taken for granted by users, but an accomplishment on the engineering side.
In terms of growth trajectory, this isn’t a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ Magnifi reaches ‘Essential App’ status, according to Gabriner, though there are significant challenges ahead. For starters, there’s Pandora, one of of the largest music apps in the world with serious ticketing ambitions (the company just bought Ticketfly for $450 million). But Gabriner noted that Pandora is station-focused, and limited to Ticketfly-enabled venues, while Magnifi is venue-focused and compatible with a range of ticketing providers, “whether Ticketfly or Ticketmaster.”