Spotify has just started rolling out its Concerts feature to iPhone and Android users. This has been quite a long time coming. Just a few months back they finally started displaying the artist’s next show (on the Artist’s profile) actually in the user’s location. Previously, Spotify displayed the very next concert on the Artist’s profile – regardless if it was anywhere near where the user lived. Meaning, if Alabama Shakes was playing Los Angeles on Tuesday, but in Phoenix tonight, if I was on Alabama Shakes Spotify profile (previously), the only concert listing I’d see would be Phoenix. The feature was completely useless.
But now it looks like Spotify isn’t just fixing the concerts feature, they’re making it a priority.
The Concerts feature, exclusively on the mobile app version of Spotify (currently absent from the desktop application), displays all upcoming concerts of artists you Follow and listen to regularly. SongKick powers the concert listings (and has since 2011). Spotify hasn’t revealed how the algorithm determines which concerts they will display outside of the network of Artists you follow, but the text at the bottom of the Concerts feature on the app states:
“To see more concerts near you, just play or follow the artists you love.”
Unlike BandsInTown and SongKick‘s native apps, you will not receive push notifications for Spotify Concert announcements. And unlike BandPage‘s partnership with Deezer and Rhapsody/Napster, there doesn’t seem to be any additional offers given in-app, like VIP packages, merch items or other in-person experiences, yet. However, once a concert link is clicked within Spotify, the user is taken to the SongKick concert page and if there are VIP offers available, they will be displayed here. So it’s a nice step.
Spotify users can find the Concerts feature by opening the Browse tab and then selecting Concerts.
SongKick has done a great job at including pertinent information about the show on the concert’s landing page, like venue address, website and capacity, door time, who the headliner is along with all openers, artist bios, concert reviews and photos. SongKick boasts 10 million monthly users.
Artists can make sure all of their info is up to date for their SongKick profiles, concert listings and ticket links at Tourbox.Songkick.com. I encourage all artists to import all upcoming concerts directly to SongKick (via Tourbox) to guarantee the most accurate information is listed. Yes, SongKick grabs info directly from a myriad of ticketing sites (including resellers), but many times the information is incomplete or inaccurate. So update your info directly to be safe. Unlike BandsInTown which has a BandManager mobile app, all SongKick shows must be added manually via the website in browser.
Spotify, Deezer and Rhapsody have taken the first steps at helping artists capitalize on the growing streaming user numbers (aside from higher streaming royalties that is).
Because the major labels forced streaming services into deals favorable to the majors, but unfavorable to artists, streaming services have a moral obligation to help artists’ bottom line in other ways. And they’re starting to figure this out.
It’s unclear if Spotify or SongKick share in ticket revenue generated from Spotify Concerts. Spotify doesn’t take a commission from merch sales from within the app (powered by BandPage).
No word from Apple Music or Tidal if they will offer similar concert, ticket and merch integration. Apple Music’s Connect feature enables artists to manually push out notifications to a Twitter-like stream, but it’s clunky and doesn’t separate concert notifications from music announcements or random photo shares. Apple Music’s Connect is attempting to be Instagram, Twitter and Facebook all rolled up into one stream. It’s nice that Apple Music allows artists to send out manual notifications to their fans, but they need to focus more on cohesive concerts and merch integration. And they should enable smart notifications like BandPage has done with Rhapsody and Deezer.
And because my trial periods have ended on Apple Music and Tidal, I can’t check out any of their updates. Not that I’d want to log back into Apple Music and have it screw up my entire discography again. That was a frustrating 3 months to say the least.
If a fan Follows an act, or listens to the act frequently, getting a push notification about a show announcement in the area won’t feel like spam, it will be a welcomed feature. 40-50% of all concert tickets go unsold. And the #1 reason fans don’t attend concerts is because they didn’t know about them.
Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, Rdio, YouTube and the rest should work with the data they have and help fans discover concerts (VIP and merch packages) more passively. Instead of making fans seek it out, present it in an attractive manner. This is one more way to woo artists to streaming who have been angry about low royalty payments. It’s possible to make a great streaming service that both artists and fans love equally. No one’s done it yet, but it’s coming.
Photo is by Dennis Fokker from Flickr and used with the Creative Commons License