The importance of technology to an independent music artist is fairly obvious and difficult to understate. The worldwide platform that the internet provides to artists brings an extremely wide scope of opportunities to artists that weren’t available just a few years ago. And while we’ve written previously about how independent artists can take advantages of social sites like Facebook , we want to use this article to focus on how bigger artists are using technology to help build and engage their fan base.
Though approaching its 20 year anniversary, Matchbox Twenty still has a fairly large and dedicated group of fans, from those that appreciate the revised new sound the band has been experimenting with recently to those that are just in it for a nostalgia trip to the post-grunge soaked late-90’s. And even though they have the kind of budget most independent artists can only dream of, the ways they use digital to make their fan base feel like a part of their culture can be inspiring, even to those working on a smaller scale.
Specifically, the band currently is focusing on a mobile app that now incorporates geofencing, which lets the group know where fans are when they are at a concert venue. Nick Lippman, vice president of the group’s management company, Lippman Entertainment, explains why this technology is helpful.
“We think they are the first artist to use geofencing,” Lippman told Billboard . “We can talk to fans as they come in and out of the venue, welcome them to the show, give them a hashtag to participate. It’s a great way to get information to people without being uber-intrusive but also remind people what they can do to be an interactive part of the show. We’ve had killer fan engagement.”
Additionally, the management company hopes to expand the app in later versions to provide a more pinpointed location of the concertgoer. This will lead to even more customized services, such as offering help to find a seat and sending notifications of merchandise discounts when someone walks near the merch table.
“The goal is to have it all integrated in one place so fans don’t have to jump around,” Lippman said. “We try to simplify things so people can enjoy the music and enjoy the technology without one superseding the other.”
Live Nation, which is promoting the current tour of Matchbox Twenty, says the new geofencing technology is just an extension of how artists and fans are currently interacting more than ever before because of digital technology, and mobile technology in particular.
Again, while this kind of technology isn’t really an option for young, independent artists, it does illustrate the importance of giving something to your fans that engages them and keeps them interacting with you on a regular basis. This is a great way to build an online following around a group or individual artist, which has become one of the most important marketing skills artists can have in the digital music industry. And as Matchbox Twenty are proving, the digital world does not have to be kept separate from the real world.