When your band’s tickets aren’t selling out the way you hoped they would, where do you turn? From big bands like Arcade Fire to small jazz ensembles, the industry is looking to Groupon and LivingSocial to reach a more expansive crowd. You can go on Groupon and get half-off tickets right now to Demi Lovato’s performance at the end of October – that’s just one example.
LivingSocial made a deal with AEG to help sell concert tickets in 2012, a team-up similar to the Groupon and Live Nation collaboration of 2011. Ever since, both discount-dealing websites have only grown in popularity, which has actually allowed them to sell more tickets more often. The Groupon/Live Nation deal originally allowed for the bargain site to mainly work with last-minute inventories. “It took a year to persuade the promoter to let Groupon start selling tickets in advance,” said Groupon’s Greg Rudin, “and as a partner, not just ‘when you’re in trouble.’”
It’s not just tickets. Similarly to the artists who are putting out albums exclusively to Itunes, David Gray once released an album exclusively on Groupon, and other artists are putting out products (like albums and merchandise) via the site. Last year, LivingSocial sold tickets to Switchfoot’s concert along with one to see the band’s documentary. That offer went over so well that LivingSocial became the main place to get pre-sale tickets for Switchfoot’s 2014 tour. Along with tickets, this deal came with a signed poster and a download of the band’s latest album. “We’re reaching people that have never been to a Switchfoot concert … or recognize our band’s name,” said drummer Chad Butler. “Through LivingSocial specifically… we’ve used this last year to reach more people and to let people know what we’re doing.”
This kind of partnership has also attracted rapper Wiz Khalifa, who partnered with Groupon for tour dates. “I liked the idea of it because there are tons of people who are too busy or they’re out of the loop,” he said. “So it makes it much easier (for fans).”
And the sites are doing more than conducting one-time transactions with fans. LivingSocial’s entertainment general manager Alex Michael reported the findings of his research via Google: after the site promotes ticket deals, regular ticket sales all over the web also increase. “That ability to give this shot of adrenaline to the marketing promotion is a big deal,” said Michael. “You get massive brand exposure and ultimately you get sales and so that combination is powerful.” With the trend’s spiking popularity and the websites’ plans to expand their business in this area, the method is quickly gaining traction.