Data-driven touring - Social media data guiding concert picks
In making a hook-up in the flesh between music performers and their often far-flung audiences, the Internet - specifically social media - is proving to be an invaluable tool in data-driven touring.
Adam Davis of the US-based Skyline Artists Agency, which he said is going strongly into reggae and world music, told The Gleaner that many forms of social media are taken into consideration when a performer's fan base is being targeted for concerts.
"In the process we pull from a variety of sources," Davis said, naming Facebook from the earlier days of performers using social media through to Twitter and Instagram. YouTube is also a factor.
"They all have different uses." Davis said data-driven touring is "very powerful", with all the elements providing clues to the "bigger puzzle" of connecting artistes with audiences live and direct.
One recent example of that was singer Freddie McGregor's concert at the Kenyata International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday, March 3. Within 24 hours of the concert McGregor's Facebook following in the African country - already his largest - had grown by 4,000 to over 39,000 persons.
McGregor's strong Facebook following had led in large part to the concert date in the first place, audience members staying in place as rain fell in an over three-hour performance. Davis said Skyline represents McGregor, Third World and Mystic Bowie's Talking Dreads. Most of the members of the last coming from Jamaica.
He pointed out that for a performer, social media is most effective not when it is used to advertise a specific event only, but when there is an ongoing engagement which gives them insight into the artiste's activities off stage. Adams gave the example of McGregor posting clips of being on his farm or rehearsing for a show.
"If you come from that perspective - my day-to-day life - they will follow you. And when they have the opportunity to see the performer in concert, they may be interested," he said. This also goes for performers who have been inactive for some time - heritage artistes - with social media creating the environment for a revival in audience interest.
"If you are a fan of a heritage artiste who has gone quiet and you see a new release and see them touring, maybe you would like to see them," Davis said.
Still, Davis is not discounting the power of newspapers, saying that in the US, although print media does not have the same power as 30 years ago, "it is not dead." In putting together data-driven touring, he said, "That is the beauty. You can go in and see what works. Anybody who says there is one answer does not know what they are talking about."