Our concert in a loft apartment in San Francisco was an experiment in a new kind of concert booking and reservation. The host and I used a bespoke web-based software under beta test to book the performers (our piano guitar duo), invite guests, interact, specify number of seats and amount of payment, and confirm through payment.
This web-based mechanism is called High Note Live conceptualised and developed by the multi-facetted and multi-talented Dr Chong Kee Tan.
How does one book an artist for a performance? How does one keep track of an artist’s popularity or reliability?
How does one invite guests and ensure they show up? How does one guarantee an artist a certain income before the concert begins?
How do different stake-holders in the run up to a concert track how many people are attending? In my 14-page paper (PDF) on “house concerts for art music,” I specifically describe the different stakeholders: owner of the concert venue, concert host, concert producer, performer(s), guests, collaborators, sponsors, patrons, etc. They each have their own interests and needs. A successful concert is one that meets everyone’s expectations.
From one perspective, producing a concert is a risky business. To remove the risk, the concert producers needs to ensure what is expected to happen will happen. Those people who said they wanted to come to the concert actually do. The performers would prefer to know beforehand whether the venue is filled and whether they will get paid what they expect. In essence, how does one get a peace of mind?
These were the questions that led Dr Tan to research the market for software that would help concert producers, be they house concerts or bigger venues, to achieve greater efficiency and minimise risk.
High Note Live removes the stress of tracking various e-mails between different counterparties, i.e. between the different stakeholders. In the week of our loft concert in San Francisco, I saw the number of attendees go up until there were no seats left. What a great feeling!
Without such a central system, we resort to disparate ways to invite people to a concert: Facebook event (but not everyone is on Facebook and clicking ATTENDING does not oblige one to attend), LINKED-IN announcement, e-mail invitation, phone calls, face-to-face, and paper invitation.
The confirmation process is also iffy. People don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say. How do you oblige someone to show up? Make them pay. Use it or lose it. That’s how airlines fill up their seats. That’s how concert halls fill up their theatres. An empty seat is a disappointment and a failure to fill it.
Watch this space for future updates to this new concert management system.