16
May
10

Crowd Sourcing, Marketing and Music Ticket Sales – Posse.com might just work

I’m not a big fan of crowdsourcing in marketing. You might have guessed that from my coverage of the CGU Rap crowd sourcing campaign. The reason is that it’s often so poorly executed… it so often comes off as companies either (A) being lazy or (B) trying to do something that they’ve heard is hip / ‘the new thing’ without understanding the concept properly (crowd sourcing was probably one of THE marketing buzz words for 2009). There are exceptions, but they are few and far between (I liked the Smiths Chips ‘Do Us a Flavour” campaign. Although the flavours are no longer available in shops, that campaign was a provided customers a new reason for people to go out and buy not just one bags of Smiths Crisps, but 2 or 3 or 4 to sample the new flavours that Smiths had crowdsourced). 

Blaise Agüera y Arcas shows off Bing Maps and several crowdsourced features.

I need to clarify that I’m not anti-crowdsourcing in general – it is awesome for things like what Bing Maps are doing (see video above) where, for example, people are able to layer PhotoSynths of their favourite places over Bing Maps. Further, Bing is also able to pull geo-tagged images down from Flickr and stitch them together, meaning that a lot of the time, a human user doesn’t need to even create the PhotoSynth – it is automatically made by pulling down the millions of images on Twitter. See, crowd sourcing can be awesome. 

 But I digress… Posse.com is an awesome new(ish) business aiming to crowdsource sales of music tickets to fans. It mimics the role of bands’ street teams, whilst acting as a ticket selling intermediary. And I really like the idea. 

In a nutshell, the site allows users to earn a small commission upon directing a friend to buy a ticket to see a band… the people who refer buyers (called “Posse Agents”) are given a unique referral code which tracks how many people have been referred by that Agent, and the Agents are then paid the corresponding amount based on how many ticket sales they accrued. Agents may also receive certain other perks such as free CDs, VIP access to shows they sell tickets for etc. Whilst for the average user, the small amount received for referring their friends might not be worth it, you can imagine that this provides a very interesting, exciting new way for music blogs and industry influencers to earn some solid cash. This is potentially very attractive for those Influencers who are active in some of the more ‘niche’, underground genres, where they reach a large percentage of the fan base but a small percent of the overall population. This allows them to generate the sort of revenue that display advertising would never be able to replicate. 

Whilst I hesitate to call an idea as awesome as Posse ‘affiliate marketing’ (which is a dirty word if ever I heard one), that is essentially what the site is – it’s an affiliates program for the live music industry, where promotions and effectively ticket sales are crowdsourced. To the best of my knowledge, that is an original concept for live music. 

Premo's Coming to Australia... and using Posse

Premo's Coming to Australia... and using Posse

I do have one concern with Posse – it’s a business model that is easily replicated. Whilst I’m no copyright expert, I’d say there’s not sufficient IP involved in the site to prevent established ticket sellers cheaply imitating the same functionality with some quick code or the affiliate marketing software of their choice. Posse will really need to hit the ground running over the next 6 months to build a solid user base and cement itself as the originator in this area before the bigger players start to take notice, because I think it’s a concept that has the potential to become an industry standard. All the same, despite this challenge, Posse’s an inspired concept and I wish them well.

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