Be a Booking Agent! Lollapalooza Uses Crowdsourcing for 2010 Lineup

4 11 2009

Picture 5Lollapalooza has announced an interesting experiment on their Facebook & Twitter streams today asking fans and followers to submit their top 5 favorite bands for consideration in the Lollapalooza 2010 lineup. They’ve provided a link to a web page asking users to “Be a Booking Agent” and submit any genre of artist by November 11th along with other information such as a name and zip code. This unique festival crowdsourcing strategy comes amidst a number of innovative social media efforts taken by Lollapalooza organizers in 2009. Check out this case study on the festival’s use of social media in 2009 to generate buzz. While exact details of how they will use the information remain somewhat foggy, it is important to point out that Lollapalooza is undertaking an extremely interesting initiative that could change the nature of music festivals for musicians, organizers, and fans.

For an emerging musician, having a the opportunity to play in front of a couple thousand people could be the make or break of an artists’ career. Giving fans the ability to share their new favorite artists with festival organizers might allow a band to generate enough buzz online to get that ultimate gig. Lollapalooza organizers may not use the information for more than just general reference, but the idea of a crowdsourced festival line-up sounds like a dream come true for the D-I-Y artist. As musical preferences and tastes become more fragmented and niche focused, the idea of a radio hit-single will most likely fade into oblivion. This is especially true among more sophisticated music listeners. In this not so distant future, festival organizers may use more online crowdsourcing strategies, over traditional Billboard charts, to determine which artists will sell the most tickets or which regions prefer certain genres of artists.

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The collaborative nature of the social web has really opened up a number of opportunities for artists and fans. For example, Eventful.com allows fans to petition for their favorite band to visit their hometown, creating an on-demand experience for live shows. For the superfan the ability to demand an upcoming band to play a show in your hometown is a dream come true. For the musician, tools like Eventful are an excellent way to save valuable time and money determing the demand for live shows in cities across the nation.

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I look forward to seeing how Lollapalooza begins to handle the onslaught of artist suggestions. I have already begun to see a number of independent musicians calling on their fan base to vote them into the Lollapalooza line-up. Given the short time-period of the ‘experiment’ (ending Nov. 11), we may see very soon what crowdsourcing a festival may have in store for the future of music. Let the word-of-mouth marketing battle begin!

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Crowdsourcing Video Game Development May Save The Gaming Industry

24 07 2009

The video game industry recently announced its fourth consecutive monthly decline, posting a 31% drop in sales on video games and video game consoles in June of 2009. The decline in revenue may create a major set back for video game developers seeking large amounts of invested capital for development. While most game developers feel the crunch, some companies believe that community crowd sourcing might help generate the pool of capital needed to create new game titles.

Publisher, Roundhouse Interactive, has teamed up with Frima Studio to create the first community-designed video game, The Game Cartel, by December of 2010. The community will function as a democratic voting system in which developers will place ideas out to the cartel members and they will decide the direction of the game from genre and story-line to even the name. To join the cartel, members are charged an upfront fee of $50 which gaurantees them a copy of the game and covers incentives that will be offered to keep members active in every step of the process. Roundhouse and Frima hope to attract up to 100,000 community members in order to generate an investment pool of $5 million for the development of the new title. 

The Game Cartel

Crowdsourcing game development seems to be a hot topic in the gaming world as revenues continue to slump. Gabe Newell of Valve, has also eluded to a strong interest in community financing. Gabe stated in a recent interview, “What I think would be much better would be if the community could finance the games. In other words, ‘Hey, I really like this idea you have. I’ll be an early investor in that and, as a result, at a later point I may make a return on that product, but I’ll also get a copy of that game.”

There are many trends influencing developers seek this community outreach, such as the recent surge in use of social media and participation in gaming communities, the popularity of highly customized game experiences (such as Little Big Planet and XNA Creators Club, and unescapable economic pressures. If The Game Cartel proves successful, expect to see a lot more developers using crowd sourcing as a means to end. What I question is whether or not creative integrity is lost in the process of crowd source development for an entertainment product. Most games are created by a group of developers that have become experts in user experience, creative game-play, and design. These crowdsourced games may lack the innovation and dynamic game play that most gamers now expect.  It will be an interesting experiment none the less.

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