Street Team Marketing: Here to Stay or Fading Away?

StreetTeam-PostersGrowing up in independent music, I heard the word “street team” thrown around quite a bit. Fans signed up for a band or label’s street team and got a package of stickers, buttons, maybe some t-shirts and posters and informed friends and others about said musical entity. Street team members got into shows or VIP events for free and were continually sent free merchandise, and all they had to do is tell people about records and upcoming shows.

With the social media era however, street teams have mostly faded out … or so I thought.

My friend (we’ll call her Jane) recently brought street teams back to my attention. She was a part of the street team for What the Festival (WTF) earlier this year.

This intrigued me, as I haven’t thought about street teams for awhile. So I talked to a few people to try and find out whether or not street teams are relevant in 2016. Are festivals still using street teams? What about indie bands and labels?

A quick search revealed that Summer Camp Festival, Summer Set Festival, The Untz Festival and Bonnaroo (among others) have active street teams. Extending to the punk scene, Gainesville’s The Fest has a street team.

Colleges, businesses, trade shows and nonprofits also utilize street teams, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the music industry.

The Details
I thought that, since I already had the EDM-insider from Jane, I would reach out to Sarasvati from The Fest and see how they use street teams. After all, I’ve always wanted to go, so if there was some sort of free ride in, I wanted to know about it.

“We send posters and postcards for street teamers to put up around their area. That’s the only job we ask them to do,” replied Sarasvati upon me asking her what a street team member did. “There is no compensation.” I asked how many members their team had and where they were located. Sarasvati’s answer surprised me. “We don’t actively look for members … we had less than 10 people email us asking to participate this year. They were from all over the country.” Hmm… is this a sign that street teams are dying out?

I compared that to what Jane told me about WTF. “Basically, [I promoted WTF] through social media, and I did posters last year too,” she explained. “I had a ticket link and when people used my ticket link, I got points toward a free ticket and prizes. Some of the social media posts also got you points toward your ticket.”

WTF seemed to have a more effective street team and intriguing incentives. I asked Jane if the people who bought tickets from her would have bought them regardless. To my surprise, she said yes. “All of my friends went, so it was just convenient that I had the ticket link to get points. It’s more about who you know, and we happened to have a big group of us going to WTF, so they just helped me out by using my link.”

The Verdict
It seems that with large, well-known festivals, traditional street teams may be unnecessary, as people who attend those festivals would do so regardless. That said, street teams work well if the end goal is to get a crowd energized and build excitement, not necessarily to sell tickets. For example, Daft Punk did a creative online and traditional street team campaign to promote an album launch.

Get Street Team writes, “The key to street team marketing success, whether executed online, offline or both is recruiting fans who are truly passionate about your brand.”

Other Options

Email lists
Subscription lists are not spam … or at least, they don’t have to be if done correctly. Essentially, if you can get people to sign up for your email list, you can let them know about your next event. If they care about your brand, they’ll probably be interested in what you’re doing, and if they’ve signed up for your list, you have their permission to tell them about it.

Booth Marketing
Consider booth marketing at a festival within the same genre to spread the word. Avoid the same season as your event, so that you’re not in competition. Give out cool swag and ask attendees to sign up for your mailing list or follow you on social media. Personally connecting with potential attendees and answering questions on the spot can extend your reach and help gain new fans.

Keep in mind that my opinions come from an outsider’s perspective. How do you use your street team? How effective is it? Comment below or let me know your thoughts on Twitter @Robolitious.

Event Tips >

How to Build Brand Trust with Your Event Lineup

Photo-EventsLineUp

Love all different kinds of music? That’s great and all, but if you’re a festival organizer just starting out, you might want to refrain from including a diverse array of music in your lineup.

Here’s why.

Many nascent festival organizers think booking a wide variety of genres in their lineup will pull in an eclectic crowd and possibly sell more tickets. That’s a common mistake. Audiences want to know what to expect and be surrounded by folks with similar tastes.

Careful curation of acts keeps your brand consistent.

This isn’t to say that an event with a varied selection of acts can’t be successful, but generally, those festivals and events have already established themselves as a reliable brand. An event like Bonnaroo can get away with a range and feature hip-hop, indie rock and metal acts, but they’ve spent years building their brand. When they were starting out, their curation was dialed into jam bands and folk rock.

Pickathon in Happy Valley, Oregon is a strong example of a carefully curated event that established a reliable brand before branching out. Founded in the late 90s, Pickathon started as a party in the woods for like-minded music lovers.

While Pickathon was fairly laid-back in its early years, careful consideration was given to the acts that played the festival. Generally, they were acoustic, folk-inspired bands with “alternative” leanings—a genre that didn’t have many exposure outlets at the time.

Attract a Devoted Audience

By choosing gifted acts within a specific genre, they attracted a devoted audience that stayed faithful to the festival. Fans began to trust that the event organizers would deliver a quality lineup every year.

As the years progressed, this trust allowed Pickathon to become more adventurous with their booking while still drawing crowds. Once their identity was established, they didn’t have to rely as much on the bands or a specific genre to pull people; the people came because they trusted the festival to deliver quality acts year after year.

Now the festival features many bands that fall outside of the “acoustic” genre though it is still based heavily on acoustic-based acts. Audiences are turned on to incredible up-and-coming artists year after year. In fact, organizers estimate that 80 to 90 percent of Pickathon’s lineup consists of bands the audience is unfamiliar with.

It’s a testament to the quality of the lineup selection that audiences trust them to deliver their next new favorite band.

Find Your Identity  

BPT_Music_Festival _Graphic-01Careful, considered curation allows event organizers to dial-in their branding and discover their audience. While it may be tempting to be wildly diverse right out of the gate, your event will take longer to find an identity.

If you lack identity, it is hard for fans to identify your brand.

Be consistent in the beginning. Build trust. Once they trust your brand, expand your roster. Include acts that may fall outside your focal genre. Just make sure there’s something that will appeal to the audience you have built. They trust you to deliver, so don’t let them down.

Building that trust should be your number one goal as an event organizer. Once you have that, the sky is the limit.

Event Tips >

3 Best Washington State Music Festivals for 2014

9407113070_468b48cc6dI’m sure you all have noticed music festival announcements happening left and right in the past month, signs that music festival season has indeed arrived once again. Here in the Pacific Northwest, after being shrouded in clouds all winter, we like to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Throw in a ton of incredible local and national acts and it’s a no-brainer. The only problem is, we have so many great festivals to choose from, it can be hard to know which ones to choose.

Don’t fret. Today, we’re featuring our 3 picks for Washington’s 2014 music festival season. The Fisherman’s Village Music Festival in Everett, located just a half hour north of Seattle, is celebrating its inaugural year this weekend. Timber! Fest is celebrating its second year in the idyllic setting of Carnation and features some great national names alongside local talent. And, finally, Chinook Fest, located in beautiful Naches, Washington, in the heart of Central Washington’s agricultural lands, has an amazing lineup for lovers of roots-rock and Americana music.

Fisherman’s Village Festival

The good folks at the Everett Music Initiative have an incredible lineup in store for music lovers this coming weekend, Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17 in Everett. 60+ bands will perform on four stages in Everett’s beautiful downtown district. All venues are within walking distance from each other, including the historic Everett Theatre, the oldest running theater west of the Mississippi.

Northwest favorites The Moondoggies and singer Mary Lambert hail from Everett and this festival is all part of an effort to raise Everett’s profile as a bastion of local talent.

Festival organizer Steven Graham says, “After two years of putting on shows in downtown Everett as the Everett Music Initiative, Ryan Crowther and I decided it was time to launch our own festival. This is all in an effort to bring more quality music to Everett and make it a better place to live, work and play. Events like this festival help shine a light on some of the great talent we have up here in our city.”

The Moondoggies will be performing one of their only shows this year at the festival alongside Rose Windows, La Luz, The Grizzled Mighty, The Maldives, Fly Moon Royalty, Hobosexual and more. Be sure to pick up your tickets in advance as they’re going fast!


Read More…

Music >

Artist Ticket Picks: El Radio Fantastique, Burlesque in Black & White, Derby and more Derby

347963-250Welcome to this week’s Artist Ticket Picks. The Artist Ticket program gives our customers a way to donate to causes that we care about.

If you’re an event producer, you can allow your ticket buyers to purchase limited-edition tickets printed with original artwork in your event settings. The ticket buyer will pay a small, additional charge of $0.25 and receive a limited edition, collectible ticket imprinted with original artwork. The current charity of our choosing will receive 100% of the additional charge. Physical tickets must be enabled on the event.

If you’re a ticket buyer, check to see if the limited edition ticket is available at the beginning of the ticket check-out process or by visiting the Artist Ticket page. You receive a small piece of collectible art and support a valuable cause just by checking the box in the Artist Ticket widget when you’re purchasing your tickets.

Saturday, April 5 I El Radio FantastiqueSeattle, Washington

Led by its creator, the charismatic singer, songwriter, dumpster diver and one-time gravedigger Giovanni DiMorente, EL Radio Fantastique is a collection of talented and electrifying musician-performers from the small farming community of Point Reyes Station, California.

The overarching musical influences for the group derive from DiMorente’s coveted record collection scavenged from abandoned tenements in New Orleans and a lifetime of dumpsters. EL Radio Fantastique comprises a unique menagerie of sights, sounds and musical styles. Indeed, the vibration emitted from this group defies all genres as much as an archaic knob would turn on an antique radio. EL Radio Fantastique is known to put on bewitching and alluring shows with steamy theatricality. Consistent with DiMorente”s folklore, witnesses have remarked that the band’s players appear to be charmed and somewhat possessed, inspiring a visceral and enchanted concert experience.


Read More…

Arts >

Artist Ticket Picks: Glen Miller Orchestra, Thin Lizzy and More

glenn_miller_orchest_67d7fd-1Friday, March 28 I Whiteside Theatre presents The World Famous Glenn Miller OrchestraCorvalis, Oregon

The Glenn Miller Orchestra has always been very musical, disciplined, and visually entertaining.  And it has its own distinctive “sound.” That sound is created by the clarinet holding the melodic line, doubled or coupled with the tenor sax playing the same notes; and the harmonies produced by three other saxophones, while growling trombones and wailing trumpets add their oo-ahs.

Glenn Miller and His Orchestra made a big impact right before and during the war. It had more hit records in one year than anybody in the history of the recording industry. In fact, its recording of “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” earned the first Gold Record ever awarded to a performing artist.

Back in the days of the big band era of the forties, any dance band “worth its salt” had a distinctive theme song. It was the musical signature with which they signed on and signed off at their engagements and radio broadcasts. The theme of Glenn Miller and His Orchestra was the beautiful “Moonlight Serenade”, and it is still the signature tune of the Glenn Miller Orchestra today.
Read More…

Arts >

Top 5 SXSW Survival Tips

SXSW2014-BillI’m heading to Austin, TX for a week plus of music, film, crowds, Tex-Mex cuisine and very little sleep. Want to get the most out of your SXSW experience? Here are a few tips.

1. Pace Yourself to Avoid Burn-Out
I first witnessed SXSW in 2002 as an Austin resident. Since then it has evolved and expanded greatly. With the addition of the interactive part of the festival, and the potential growth from the eco and fashion areas, there is no sign of slowing down. Smiling yet? Or does this raise anxiety or depression? Regardless, if you are going to SXSW for the first time, you are in for a hell of an experience. Pace yourself. Sleep when you return home. Or build in down time if you know you need it.

2. Don’t Plan Your Experience
There are thousands of bands playing all over the Austin, day and night, at parties and showcases hosted by record labels, tech companies and anyone else you can imagine. The best experiences I have had at SXSW were completely by chance. Whether it was discovering the Catalan punk band Unfinished Symphony, bumping into Gwar in the convention center, mistakenly walking into Stubbs right at the beginning of The Specials’ set or seeing Talib Kweli and Jimmy Cliff across the street from Whole Foods. All of these things were random happenings. Don’t get me wrong, there are always a few events that I set out to see. Schedule only a few things every day. But realize that if you know about the greatest show of the day, so does everyone else. How long of a line you are willing to stand in for any given show? Consider that. Go with the flow and don’t be surprised if the best thing you see happens in front of 20 people in a place you’ve never heard of.

sxsw-bill3. Prepare for Transportation
Logistics. Don’t let them ruin your SXSW experience. Getting around Austin during SXSW can be frustrating. Cabs are usually a bad idea. Good luck hailing or calling one—only to have someone else steal it a half a block away. If you take a taxi from the airport, or at any other time, I recommend you get a card with the driver’s cell phone, tip big and ask him if you can call him and during what hours. It might take him (or someone else he calls for you) a half hour to get you, but at least someone will come and you do have a number handy. The later it gets in the evening and the festival—the bigger a problem this becomes. I have spent an hour outside a hotel trying to hail a cab at 1:30AM with 2 of the doormen out on the street trying to hail cabs. Car2Go is very active in Austin, but it may be too late to register as a new member in time for SXSW. Pedicabs can be a great option for getting from East 6th Street over to West 6th Street in a hurry. Or try local drivers when possible. They know the area and you could be supporting the local independent economy. Walking is healthy, free and allows you to see a lot more. Downtown Austin has a feet-friendly Walk Score of 86.

Leave your car parked. The combination of traffic, scarce parking, over-priced parking and alcohol makes getting around SXSW by car a really bad idea.

4. Eat and Drink Like a Local
This is Austin. There is scrumptious food everywhere. Whether you dig Mexican food, barbeque, street food or even vegetarian—there are plenty of good places to find good eats. There are a lot of day parties that feature free food and even free beer (mostly light beer, not that there’s anything wrong with that, especially if you are pacing yourself).

Food and drink recommendations:

The Texas Cuban: South Lamar (Cuban sandwiches, fried plantains, Ting, free Lonestar tall boys on Saturday mornings)

Mother’s: Hyde Park (vegan and vegetarian cuisine)

Curra’s Grill: South Austin on Oltorf (great Mexican food, incredible avocado margarita)

Casino El Camino: 6th Street (best burgers and Bloody Mary’s in town)

Ruby’s BBQ: University area (lessor known piece of Austin music history, good BBQ too)

5. Go Off the Beaten Path at SXSW

There are special parties and happenings all over Austin—both official and unofficial SXSW events. If you get tired of 6th Street, there are plenty of alternatives to explore. The newly redeveloped east side is a short walk from 6th Street, and so is the fairly new Rainey Street District. Both areas are packed with bars, restaurants and food trucks, with music showcases all day and night. West 6th Street (@ Lamar Blvd.) is another hot spot. There is usually a bigger showcase (that’s where I saw Talib Kweli and Jimmy Cliff) there at Waterloo Records and many smaller showcases at the clubs and a couple small stages at Whole Foods. Austin is riddled with a slew of SXSW events. Venture out. Have a plan to get back safely.

Music recommendations:

Chicago Made Showcase (official): Tues. March 11, 8pm @ Red 7

Bipolar Sunshine @ SXSW (official): Tues. March 11 @ Latitude 30

SXSW Reggae Showcase (official): Wed. March 13, 8pm @ Flamingo Cantina

DigSin Dig Party (unofficial): Thurs. March 13, 1pm @ Majestic Austin

SXKeyBar (unofficial): Fri. & Sat. March 14/15 @ KeyBar

SXSW Outdoor Stage at Butler Park (open to the public w/ pass): Thurs. Fri. Sat., March 13/14/15

Enjoy yourself. Soak it all in. Be open to new experiences. Feel free to holler at me on Twitter and let me know of any cool events.

Music >

The Mid-Week Beat: Northwest Day of Digital Detox

316597-250Digital technology…what a wonderful thing it is! It has changed the modern music industry in countless ways: from making production more efficient to connecting musicians all over the world. It has even made distribution of music an instantaneous process.

Like any technological advancement, there are some bad things that come along with the good. I can go on all day about the degradation of fidelity or the financial implications digital distribution brings, but I was recently slapped in the face by an observation I made at a show at a great independent venue named Reggie’s in Chicago. After visiting the lounge, the record store and band merch area, I made my way to the balcony where I could take in the entire room and really get a feel for the place. The sound and lights were great. The bands were all well rehearsed and enthusiastic, but something seemed strange and it took me about five minutes to figure it out. It was Friday night at 10pm and the room was pretty full and about 30% of the room were typing on their phones while the band played on stage. I was a little disturbed by the image of the band pouring out their hearts and all these people ignoring them to keep up with their social media circles. This got me thinking about how much time I waste and how much I actually miss trying to keep up with things in the digital world, and that even though this digital technology really can make the world a better place, it is easy to fall out of balance with it.

A few days later I heard about the inaugural Northwest Day of Digital Detox that is happening this Saturday in Olympia, Washington. It is an annual event that is not so much meant to be an anti-technology rally, but an opportunity “to step away from your technology, guilt free…relax, unwind, unplug, detach, disconnect and enjoy five blissful hours of live music, free from any texting, posts, comments, uploads or likes.”
Read More…

Music >

Artist Ticket Picks: A Sinful Tour of Portland, Dance in Ann Arbor, Musical Legend Linda Perhacs and more.

marys-club-225x300Welcome to this week’s Artist Ticket Picks! The Artist Ticket program gives our customers a way to donate to causes that we care about.

If you’re an event producer, you can allow your ticket buyers to purchase limited-edition tickets printed with original artwork in your event settings. The ticket buyer will pay a small, additional charge of $0.25 and receive a limited edition, collectible ticket imprinted with original artwork. The current charity of our choosing will receive 100% of the additional charge. Physical tickets must be enabled on the event.

If you’re a ticket buyer, you can check to see if the limited edition ticket is available to you at the beginning of the ticket checkout process or by visiting the Artist Ticket page. You receive a small piece of collectible art and support a valuable cause just by checking the box in the Artist Ticket widget when you’re purchasing your tickets!

See a full list of events carrying the tickets on the Artist Ticket page, as well as find out more about the beneficiary for the current run of Artist Tickets.

So, without further ado, here are this week’s Artist Ticket picks:

Saturday, March 15 I Portland Sinful Walking Tour: Shanghaiers, Saloons & SkullduggeryPortland, Oregon

As a nexus for labor and shipping in the Pacific Northwest, Portland often had the repute of a rugged, rough and tumble town, more than willing to allow the miners, loggers, and fishermen an opportunity to part with their hard earned cash in whatever debaucherous manner they chose. In addition to the shanghaiers and con men, always on the prowl, saloons, gambling halls and bordellos also thrived in “Whitechapel,” “The North End,” or Old Town, as we know it today. Some of these storied establishments have come and gone, but others have survived, and many say that Portland, or “Strip City,” still has that vulgar and rugged reputation to this day.

Join Historian Doug Kenck-Crispin as he visits locations of famous saloons, bars and bordellos, card rooms and gambling dens, some of which are still in operation today! The tour will meet at Thirsty Lion Pub (71 SW 2nd Ave.). Feel free to stop by early for a pint and grub! Walk-ups are always welcome! The tour will “end” outside of Mary’s Club, one of Portland’s most hallowed strip clubs*. At the conclusion of the tour, you can join Doug inside for an adult beverage!

*This tour is best suited for those 21+
Read More…

Arts >

The Mid-Week Beat: Vinyl Rules

big_vinyl_rules_1Today is an important day in history for all lovers of vinyl records. On this day in 1878, Thomas Edison patented the phonograph and unwittingly created the “record business” as we know it today.

Previous inventions had succeeded in recording sound, but Edison’s phonograph was the first device to be able to reproduce sounds. The original phonograph recorded sounds onto a tinfoil cylinder, and could both record and reproduce sounds. In the 1880s, Alexander Graham Bell made improvements on Edison’s original phonograph by introducing the use of wax-coated cardboard cylinders, and a cutting stylus that moved in a “zig zag” pattern across the record. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that Emile Berliner introduced gramophone records: flat, double-sided discs with spiral grooves, the early ancestors to today’s vinyl records.

The vinyl record dominated the market of recorded music until the mid-1960s when 8-track tapes were introduced to the public. These would be followed by cassette tapes and eventually compact discs, which almost succeeded in eradicating vinyl records all together but luckily hip hop DJs and turntable enthusiasts kept the vinyl market alive until today, when we’re seeing a resurgence in vinyl production and consumption. Part may be due to nostalgia but many argue that digital formats like CDs and mp3s are unable to recreate the “warmth” that vinyl gives to a recorded piece of music.

I know for me personally, my favorite songs always sound better on vinyl, pops and hisses aside. I admit that part of this is nostalgia and the fact that putting a piece of vinyl on a turntable somehow makes that music seem more special than something I double-click in iTunes. There’s a ritual involved and a sense of tangibility that will never exist with digital files.

So, in honor of the record, I’m featuring some events that center either around vinyl itself, famous record labels, classic albums that are synonymous with vinyl or styles of music that rely heavily on vinyl.

And, be sure to thank Edison for all the great recorded music we’ve enjoyed for the last 136 years.

52a8fd08967a9.preview-620Friday, February 21 I Respect Yourself Screening and Book Signing with Author Robert Gordon Atlanta, Georgia

Some of my favorite records to spin on a Saturday night are old Stax Records sides like Otis Redding’s Live In Europe or any of the amazing records by Booker T. and the MG’s, Stax’s house band.

At this event in Atlanta, music historian and Memphis native Robert Gordon will be signing copies of his book Respect Yourself after a screening of the documentary with the same name about Stax Records. The book tells the story of a white brother and sister who build a record company that becomes a monument to racial harmony in 1960’s segregated south Memphis. Stax defined an international sound and their story is loaded with epic heroes in a shady industry. It’s about music and musicians–Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, the Staple Singers, and Booker T. and the M.G.’s and the legendary sound that they helped forge.

After the screening Gordon further discusses his work with The Bitter Southerner‘s Editor-in-Chief Chuck Reece and resident “soulologist” Nelson Ross.


Read More…

Music >

Hot Tickets: Seattle

valentinesdaydinneranddanceHere are this week’s Hot Tickets in the Seattle area. Check back every Thursday at noon, PST for stellar events that fit the interests of locals and tourists alike.

________________________________________

Friday, February 14 I Valentine’s Day Dinner & Dance

“Accompanied by his four-piece band, Kline brings a little humor and a lot of swagger to the old standards with a fresh vitality and offers a great opportunity for couples to kick up their heels in support of a great local institution.”

“Get your kicks” on Route 66, but wine and dine your Valentine on Orcas!

Dust off your dancing shoes and get ready to swing to the sounds of Half Pack LIVE!, a Vegas-style show band that’s bouncy, fun and well-delivered entertainment reminiscent of the old Vegas Strip when Frank and Dino were kings. Veteran singer and entertainer Troy Kline will be performing in a Valentine’s Day benefit for Orcas Island Children’s House at the The Rosario Resort Beachhouse (Discovery House).

Accompanied by his four-piece band, Kline brings a little humor and a lot of swagger to the old standards with a fresh vitality and offers a great opportunity for couples to kick up their heels in support of a great local institution.

Local favorite Gene Nery will provide additional musical talent to the Seattle-based band! And look for additional local entertainment throughout the evening, including magician Matthew Laslo and young songstress Stormy Hildreth.

A silent auction will be held in conjunction with the event.


Read More…

Uncategorized >