Editor’s note: Tech Hub is a column that covers new technologies and mediums in music as an effort to encourage music-related innovation in Boston–a city with a booming tech scene. Sound of Boston aims to inform our readers of the exploration of a new booking process, but does not necessarily endorse it.
Scanning the lineup of a concert before you arrive is a given, but what about deciding it?
This is the basic concept behind the recently-launched Vote the Lineup, which allows ticket buyers to use their purchase as capital to vote on the final lineup of the concert. In essence, VTL, crowdsources live music. Creator and Wayland, Mass native, Andrew Saltzman, wanted to figure out how to engage concert-goers before the show even starts, while simultaneously helping them discover new music in the process.
“I was curious about how to connect the digital market with the live market,” he said. “How do we get fans to listen to artists before they see them play?”
The solution: allow the crowd – and only the crowd – to decide the show’s lineup.
In practice, the process is the same as any ticket buying experience except each ticket comes with a vote towards the eventual concert lineup. More precisely, showgoers buy tickets for an upcoming VTL event and use those tickets as capital to vote for the lineup. Attendees can purchase more tickets to have more sway (votes) over the lineup. Once a ticket is purchased, VTL sends a passcode via email allowing the buyer to access the ballot where they can listen to samples of the vying bands’ music and cast their vote for who will open, headline, etc. The votes are tallied and the lineup is decided. It’s important to note that artists sign an agreement with VTL, that includes a policy stipulating that if the artists buy an abnormal amount of tickets they will be disqualified from the event.
This process is where the symbiotic relationship between the concert-goer and bands intersect.
While the attendee gets to see their favorite selections while discovering new sounds, the band gets free publicity whether they are selected or not.
“There is so much talent and potential in Boston right now, but it’s hard for the consumer to know where to look if they want to be engaged,” explained Saltzman. On the other side of the coin, “when you are an up-and-coming artist, you are always looking for different ways to get your music out there, play a cool show, and get paid for it,” Saltzman continued. Vote the Lineup hopes accomplishes both.
The crowdsourced concept also lends itself to heavy social media promotion from both VTL and the bands to drive votes and then promote their win and upcoming concert.
Saltzman stresses that he “wants the voting to be a fun experience,” and that he hopes, “users listen to the artists and have to make tough decisions, and tell their friends about those decisions.” Even touring bands have expressed interest in the concept to help decide their openers as they travel to different cities.
VTL also hopes to partner with festivals in the future to integrate the product with early bird/VIP ticket sales for festival openers. In the meantime, VTL’s first event will be hosted at the Once Ballroom in Somerville. The voting ballot is open and Saltzman ensures that “they are all dope.” The ballot includes:
Read more about local music-tech startups and innovations in our Tech Hub column.