The way fans engage with live entertainment and events is changing. Where once upon a time we were simply happy to go to the stadium to passively watch a concert or live sporting event, our expectations have begun to change.
Fans today are looking for an engaging, participatory experience, and this change is mostly due to the shifts in the technology available to us, both at events, and at home. We send snapchats while we’re raving at festivals, we tweet live reactions to our favourite shows as we watch them. According to research, we’re using apps about 85% of the time we’re using our devices. It’s hardly surprising then that event organisers have begun adopting mobile apps to provide fans with both the digital and physical interaction they are craving, and mobile app adoption at events continues to rise. There is no escaping the fact that apps have irreversibly altered the entertainment landscape.
This digital shift allows fans to engage with their entertainment, regardless of their physical location. They can watch each day of the world’s biggest music festival, Coachella, on YouTube from the comfort of our own home. We can get real time stats for a Knicks home game delivered straight to our smartphone, even if we’re in Amsterdam, instead of New York, by using NBA’s live basketball scores app. Audience collaboration is becoming the norm, take a look at how yearly music festival South by Southwest selects its panels. Festival-goers and viewers use social media to vote on panellists, and around 30% of its panels are chosen by the fans themselves.
There are even P2P apps for booking your own live entertainment, like the recently released Special Guest App, which allows you to book any kind of entertainer, from a singer to a comedian, for whatever event you’re hosting.
In fact, the Special Guest App is a perfect example of the power shift happening within the industry. According to co-founder Damon Wayans, the apps mission is “redefining the way people book and experience live entertainment. A platform that makes it easy for talent to find gigs, and easy for event coordinators to find talent.” Taking the power away from record labels, studios and media corporations and placing it directly in the hands of artists and consumers.
Special Guest App allows entertainers to build their own profiles, including bios, pictures, videos and social media links. The event host can communicate straight with the performer they are interested in hiring and discuss with them the type of event and what the audience is going to expect. Pretty revolutionary considering before the invention of apps like this, only entertainers lucky enough to be picked up by a management company or agency had a chance of scoring a paid gig.
Apps like Light of Day, Live Nation, and Special Guest App are part of the digital transformation that is re-writing the script when it comes to the entertainment industry. The power is now in the hands of the fans.