Last night, I saw the Black Eyed Peas at the AsiaWorldExpo in Hong Kong. Okay, I readily admit my bias: I’m not exactly the concert-going type nor particularly the hip-hop type. Chances are that a harpsichord and a little basso continuo would get me more pumped than a guitar solo and break dancing. But alas, if I am to be a producer, I need to know how to put on an exciting concert. Lessons learned:
- The amount of enjoyment an individual has at the concert is directly proportional to how close to the stage that person is. That’s also why tiered pricing is used: the closer you are, the greater the enjoyment, the higher the price. Just about every person (I overheard) standing in the front section was ecstatic after the concert. Remarks included: “OMG, he winked at me!,” “I could feel the sweat dripping off of them,” “Check this photo out, that’s her face all up in there.” So, maximize the amount of people close to the stage (that’s why some musicians are choosing to perform in small venues. The best concert-going experience is seeing as much live, up-close-and-personl as possible. The venue is key (AsiaWorldExpo seats 13,500).
- Keep your production value low and your music value high. As much as people say they’re not, concerts are about the music. Fans buy tickets to listen live. That’s their expectation. This is not a musical or an opera or Cirque du Soleil where the music goes hand in hand with the set and flashy theatrics. The Black Eyed Peas’ production value is actually quite low, if you ask me. I payed around $75 to see four singers/dancers, three musicians, a DJ, a light show, and a giant stamp of a monkey’s face. To me, that’s ridiculous especially considering I could barely see those tiny specs performing in the distance. But to a devoted fan of the music, the absence of theatrics does not matter. Surely it costs plenty to bring the whole package on the road too, so keep the costs down.
- Market the brand. The band has to constantly be selling itself. T-shirts, posters, photobooks, and other merchandise make real money but they also imprint the band permanently into the lives of its fans. Get the fans to the website. Basically, the fans are everything. They are the ones that come to concerts and bring non-fans (e.g., me) to the concerts.
- Get a look and deliver it consistently. The Black Eyed Peas are known for being a diverse bunch, and they played to that last night with particular attention going to its Filipino fans (many, many filipinos in Hong Kong) from the Filipino member of the group. They also worked their dancing strengths and good looks that have made them popular.