31 minutes ago
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Marketing Fail: Advance Tix for Kix
This isn't a knock on the band Kix - I may very well be there when they make their triumphant return to the Sunset Strip on August 27.
This also isn't a knock on the event poster (above) - though I'm seriously irked by the fact that the House of Blues is located in West Hollywood, not Hollywood. Semantics, you say? Maybe so, but it would have been easy enough to make the poster semantically correct, and just as impacting.
No, this is a knock on the advance ticket price of $22.50 (purchase).
The live music industry is experiencing an epic crash this summer, with major concert tours getting scaled back, if not cancelled, on a weekly basis. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I highly recommend you visit the online archives of Bob Lefsetz - and while you're there, sign up for his Lefsetz Letter. He's one of the only journalists I find inspiring, and if you know me, that says a lot...
So here we have Kix, playing "Hollywood" for the first time in two decades. No opening act is being promoted. No indication of who might be original members. No mention of their hit single ("Don't Close Your Eyes," if you need a reminder). What we do have, is the $25 day-of-show ticket price, and the advance-purchase price of $22.50. (Okay, I guess I am knocking the event poster.)
Maybe the House of Blues are convinced that this is going to be such a big walk-up crowd that there's little point in offering a worthwhile advance discount. Or maybe they figure that they don't need to offer incentives to buy tickets to see a band that haven't played Los Angeles in nearly 20 years, because anyone who wants to see them isn't going to scoff at the price.
Or maybe that's not the case at all, and the $2.50 advance-purchase discount is just a routine that nobody gave a passing thought.
Regardless, it's time to reconsider.
I love seeing shows at the House of Blues (any of them, but the Sunset Strip location in particular). I don't cry about the $15 to park. I don't complain about the over-priced food. And I don't mind that by the time you've had a few drinks, your show has turned into a paycheck. I don't mind, because I always have a good time - and isn't that what it's all about?
At the same time, I'm a consumer that doesn't live under a rock. Money is tight, I don’t part with it easily, and I know that the music industry is fighting for its life. I know that if I wait, I can get Steve Miller Band tickets for $10, Heart tickets for free, and lawn seats to half the amphitheater concerts out there for less than the cost of pulling into a parking space.
Economics 101: if you sell enough discounted tickets early, you don't have to give away free tickets later.
What did I do when I saw the $22.50 advance ticket price for Kix? I laughed, then ranted on my soapbox until I knew my wife could take it no more. Why should I buy in advance, when the only incentive you're offering me is a $5 savings off two tickets? If you give me that savings in singles, it's still not enough to cover my tips for the night!
The show is still six weeks away, and I haven't even started thinking about my plans for this weekend. Unless you're giving me a valid reason to buy tickets now, I'll wait, thank you very much - we're talking about Kix here, not U2, and a lot can happen in six weeks...
Just ask U2.
But what if House of Blues offered free parking for every two tickets purchased in advance? What if they offered free drink tickets? Or a free entree at the restaurant, with the purchase of another entree? Or four tickets for the price of two? Find me two couples that will go to a rock concert together and not buy a few rounds of drinks, and I'll show you the exception to the rule.
Do something - anything! Give me an incentive to pay $45, plus fees, six weeks in advance for my wife and I to go see Kix a week before Labor Day weekend. Because if you give me the incentive now, you know I'll be there later.
Without giving me an incentive to buy now, you're just hoping that I buy later... And that's assuming I don't forget altogether.
Don't worry, House of Blues - I'll keep sending my resume in for marketing positions, and you can keep ignoring me at every turn...