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...


Anonymous said...

Hello...this is Sullivan Bigg from Bigg Time Entertainment. I am Kix's exclusive booking agent. The poster is not 100% accurate, advance tix price is $21.00 and day of show is $22.50.

Anyone who doubts the validity or quality of KIX in 2010 (who has four out of five original members (only different bass player) by the way) needs only to watch this video clip filmed less than a month ago at the M3 Festival Why don’t you ask anyone of these 12,000 people what they think of KIX.

I hope you all forgive lack of insight on House of Blues management’s part to price this show in a way that is acceptable to Mr. Gargano and join us on August 27th in WEST Hollywood for what is sure to be an amazing performance by an incredible and grossly underrated band. We furthermore hope that despite his issues with this show and the House of Blues in general that Mr. Gargano and his lovely wife do decide to attend this show. Hell… I might even put him on the guest list and spare him the cost of the tickets.

By the way… I get ticket counts on this show three times a week and let me assure you that at the way things are going this show will sell out.

Anonymous said...

I love Kix, but I think the author has a point. There needs to be a bigger incentive to put it on the calendar with the economy being what it is.
This has nothing to do w/Kix as a band. The same article could be applied to many others.

Anonymous said...

Paul, I just wish to know the inside scoop...which one of the Kix banged your old lady...and if it was Donnie, he's the only original member, not in the band. I was at the first tour of this band when they opened in Seattle, for Triumph, 1982. I was 15, and have never stopped loving this band. - Tony

Anonymous said...

This "old lady" didn't bang any member of Kix. If you read my husband's post, he was not saying anything negative about the band. His complaints were about the lack of incentive to purchase advanced tickets and the marketing strategies used (or not used) by the promoter during such a grim economy like the one we are currently experiencing.

I also saw Kix when I was 15 in Detroit. They were great and my friends and I still talk about it to this day.
- Rika Gargano

Anonymous said...

Sure, there should probably be a little more of a difference between the price of the advance tix, and the day-of-show tix, but is 2 or 3 dollars really that big of a deal?? Who cares? I wouldn't have been a bit surprised if the price for this show was $40. Without a doubt, there are definitely countless much less entertaining acts out there charging a lot more, on a regular basis. So, I'm really not concerned about where it happens to fall in the $20-25 range. I also don't care if there is an opening act or not. This is Kix!

So, there are typos and inaccuracies on this flyer... Show me 10 flyers for similar events
at random clubs, and I'll show you things wrong with virtually all of them. Personally, typos sometimes bug me too, including some of the ones in Mr. Gargano's rant.

I have to admit, I'm mildly surprised that the former editor of a decent sized rock music rag isn't well aware of the 30-something year long reputation of one of the hardest working
and greatest live rock bands ever. Kix is long known (by those who know), as THE BEST and most entertaining live club band ever to hit a dirty ass stage. One might consider that a bold statement, but it's true. Kix has been selling out large clubs all over the east coast for decades now... and again especially in recent years. It's not because of "Don't Close Your Eyes". Do you have any idea how many bands were influenced by Kix's live show? Poison, for example, ripped off a crapload of things from them, including naming their band after a damn Kix song. I could go on and on. I have no doubt that this show will sell out easily...inaccuracies on a flyer withstanding. The flyer half sucks, but it won't matter.

If you're not sure who is currently in the lineup, then apparently you haven't been paying
attention to anything to do with the band for quite some time (if ever), and therefore will have no idea what you're missing out on. So, don't go.

Me?...I've been to over 100 Kix shows between 1982 and last month. I'm still not bored. Get a clue. It's all about the actual reputation in this case, not a particular flyer. Marketing, the hard way, the cool way, by playing your asses off for a long time, and putting on a hell of a show. What a concept, huh? Isn't that the way it really SHOULD be?


Anonymous said...

paul thats right we are talking about.....with a front man like steve who would want to listen the the over dibbed tracks of u-2? kix is the best underated live rock act of the eightys...and today they are i would have to say the best sounding live act i have ever dont have to mix steve's voice and he is backed by two great guitar players one hell of a drummer and a good bass plaryer.i would pay $200.00 to see this band live.and they are well worth do us all a favor stay home and listen to your u-2 records and have a good night.

Paul Gargano said...

Thanks, everyone, for your posts - I would like to point out to a few of you, though, that you completely missed the point of what I wrote.

I never, at any point, criticized the band Kix, or even remotely implied that they weren't worth a $25 ticket price. That wasn't remotely my point. In fact, in the opening sentence I even say that I'll probably be at the show.

My point was was purely in regards to marketing. As a fan who also happens to work in the music industry, it's a really bad summer/year for concerts, and if promoters want to sell more advance tickets (which is obviously their goal), they should provide more incentive to purchase them in advance. A $1.50 discount on a ticket is NOT an incentive to buy in advance.

I was also pointing out that the poster promoting the show did not do the scale of the event justice. Sullivan reiterated that fact when he confirmed that the only correct information on the poster, was the date of the show...

Again, thanks for reading - even if a few of you seemed to miss the point altogether!

Hopefully I'll see some of you there.


Anonymous said...

Here is an incentive to buy tickets, keep an eye on KIX Official Facebook page and buy your tix when they offer a free t-shirt or an autographed picture when you email a receipt or whatever the current contest requires? You won't even have to pay shipping.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,
Your a complete Idiot !

Paul Gargano said...

Definition of "irony" - a person who can't spell, calling me an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Yep, so sick of 90% of the illiterate people using "your" instead of "you're" all of the time. It's rampant.


Anonymous said...

Hey Paul... Apparently, for about the next hour, there is an offer for $10 tickets to the show. I just saw this on the Facebook status of "Kix Band".


Paul Gargano said...

Flap -

I saw that too! I posted it on my Twitter feed and under the Facebook comments for the Kix article, but didn't think to put it here, too... I wouldn't be shocked if the discount is continued on upcoming Tuesdays - we'll see!


Anonymous said...

Have fun at the show tonight! Wish I could make it, but I'm stuck back home on the east coast right now.

~flap (MR)