Preview – Rockin’ the Check-in: Location Strategies for Musicians
Innovative location-based social networking applications (like Gowalla, Foursquare, and others) put users in contact with other users, and establish peer-to-peer relationships centered on how users interact with the fascinating (and often undiscovered) world around them. Cindy Royal (panel facilitator for the SXSWi 2011 panel “Rockin’ the Check-in: Location Strategies for Musicians”) has been using location-based social networking applications since early 2010. Though initially unsure about the value of these tools, she started using them to check in to music venues track which venues she visited the most. From there, Cindy began to use these tools more in line with their intended purpose of (as she puts it) “getting out and exploring the world, sharing it with friends.”
Location-based social networking applications have proven to be extremely popular. Currently, Gowalla (the most successful of the location-based social networking applications, available for use with iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Palm Web OS devices) boasts almost one million users and over 2 million user-created spots worldwide. Gowalla Photo celebrated its 500,000th photo upload in August 2010. Gowalla’s homepage clarifies the service it provides: “Keep up with your friends, share the places you go, and discover the extraordinary in the world around you.” It delivers so well on these points that it won top honors in the Mobile category at the 2010 SXSWi awards. Not just for fun, location-based social networking tools have a commercial side to them as well, benefitting both sides of the supply-and-demand equation by allowing merchants and service providers to reward customer behaviors, while at the same time intentionally influencing or directing customer decisions by providing them with premiums that are of some benefit to users.
Cindy Royal’s forward-thinking panel – location-based social networking tools as they relate to the mix of entertainment events, musical artists, and fans – will take panel participants to the next level, even ahead of a trend that is currently only in the earliest stages of emerging. According to Gowalla’s Community Manager Jonathan Carroll, top musical artists including Weezer, Jimmy Eat World, Josh Ritter and Mercy Me have already signed on to Gowalla Music to enhance their user/audience experience – with many more tours about to be announced. He explains, “The tech is definitely there! Some bands prefer to have one spot that moves with their band for the entire tour, which simply changes location as they do…. For other artists, they prefer to have the whole database of concert stops upload as multiple event spots into the Gowalla system. Both are easy to do, and serve different purposes quite well. For instance, if a band wants to quickly see the total number of check-ins for an entire tour, a moving spot is easy to do. But if (an) artist would like to be able to easily separate, say, which pictures were at Hollywood Bowl and which were at American Airlines Center, then the database style addition of many tour stops is a great way to go.” The possibilities are truly endless – location-based social networking tools can even be used by venues and entertainers to reward desired types of fan behavior by providing discounts, premiums and prizes!
Perhaps specifically this direction is the one that seems most suited to location-based social networking applications. It is, after all, the level of successful, positive interaction between an entertainer and his/her fans that determines the entertainer’s level of success – and many more entertainers and venues are reaching out to and interacting with their publics these days. In the last few years, social media-based interaction between public figures and their fans has evolved into something the publics hold as an expectation from those they follow, and the fans have learned to use these tools to interact with one another across great distances and with previously unimagined immediacy. Remember the “Deadheads?” Their level of fanaticism now has decidedly high-tech potential.
But before, the only folks to whom you could show your concert tour T-shirts and pile of ticket stubs were the people you picked up in the van along the way. Now – thanks to location-based social networking applications – anyone worldwide can marvel at the level of your fandom by checking out your shared media, reading your reviews, and seeing how many events your passport validates you for. Safer, cleaner, more accurate, more convenient, and more visually comprehensive. Most of all, location-based services are beneficial to you (the fan), because now every time you check in at an event in person, you make tally toward some sort of benefit or premium as a reward for your loyalty and interest. Loyalty and interest used to be their own reward – now they yield perks, too!
Perfect for Austin, perfect for SXSWi, perfect for the music industry in society, it’s a match made in heaven: Musicians and their fans – facilitating one another through location-based social networking tools! No one will want to miss this imaginative and insightful SXSWi 2011 panel, the groundbreaking, forward-thinking first treatment of what promises to be the next wave in applied social media.
Update 2/16/11: This panel has been assigned to the Hyatt-TX Ballroom 1
208 Barton Springs Rd at 3:30pm on Tuesday March 15, 2011.