I have a love/hate relationship with buzzwords and trendy phrases.
I love them because many are creative means to express new ideas, and as someone who enjoys etymology (the history of word origin), it’s fun to try and trace their meaning and authorship.
So why then do I hate them? Because buzz words often crowd out elements of the English language that we have relied on for decades to describe ourselves and our experiences. Buzz words are like invasive species, taking over conversations and making our understanding of the world more obtuse. Most people rely on buzz words because they’re intellectually lazy and can’t get through a sentence without mixing metaphors and rely on useless jargon to fill in for cohesive sentences.
Whether you use them correctly or as a crutch to hide your own lack of ingenuity, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the latest buzz words. Some of these phrases I’ve helped popularize, while others I’ve stumbled across in the final days of last year. Think I missed something? Email your favorite buzz phrases to [email protected]
Slow Ticketing Will Dominate 2018 (Even if it Makes Lefsetz Puke)
And thank God, because if I have one more person talk to me about the importance of ‘third-party distribution,’ I’m going to fall over dead with boredom. The problem with constantly focusing on distribution is that it puts too much attention on selling low-demand tickets. Slow Ticketing is the opposite — it focuses on extracting more money for the tickets everyone already wants and potentially means billions of dollars in revenue.
The concept is fairly simple — tickets priced closer to actual market value and sold to customers in a more organized manner that stops bots will lead to higher ticket sales and less resale on the secondary market. Slow ticketing also means an end to instant sellouts where brokers buy up thousands of tickets as soon as they go on sale and then dump them on the secondary market where they are bought by consumers. Is it really a sellout if there are still thousands of wholesale tickets still available? I doubt it.
For those interested in Slow Ticketing etymology, the phrase appears to have been coined in September by Jesse Lawrence at Ticket IQ, repeated by David Marcus at Ticketmaster and thrust into the collective consciousness by me, Dave Brooks, in a series of Billboard articles.
Of course not everyone loves the phrase — in a recent column, reliable crank Bob Lefsetz warned “If I hear one more promoter talk about slow ticketing I’m gonna puke.” Sorry, Uncle Bob, but if that’s how you feel you’re gonna spend most of 2018 worshipping the porcelain God.
#VenueWars Will Escalate Precipitously And No One Will Blink
In 2018, every negative story, rivalry and threat from MSG, Irving Azoff, Live Nation or AEG will be attributed to the all-encompassing #VenueWars which will only worsen before either side gets anywhere near .
Like most long wars, the #VenueWars will veer from their original beginnings that started as a fight over block-booking between Staples Center and the O2 Arena on one side, and the Forum and Madison Square Garden on the other. Most believe block-booking will be hard to enforce, but the fight between the two companies will break out in other places. Azoff has said his wife Shelli’s surprise exit from the Forum late last year was partially due to a #VenueWars misinformation campaign, while AEG has continued to boycott Pollstar, which was bought by Azoff and Leiweke last summer, because of said #VenueWars.
The fight will continue because a) there’s billionaire egos involved b) both sides have competing interests and c) there’s no compelling argument in favor of a truce. Sure there will be occasional casualties and each side will take its knocks along with the occasional victory, but ultimately both sides will continue fighting in the open and forgo any notion that they like each other.
The Search for Verified Fans Will Morph into a Search for True Fans
While Ticketmaster has improved its ability to weed out scalpers, it’s yet to develop a system that can rank and identify super fans. The process to buy tickets for hot shows like Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway run, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh’s Duos Tour or Harry Styles’ theater outing is still a largely random process that can’t differentiate between a casual fan who really wants tickets and a long-time supporter who has attended past concerts and supported the artist through album and merch purchases.
Taylor Swift attempted to create a system for ranking fandom utilizing the “boosts” system, where fans were invited to watch videos, buy merch and share Taylor’s content on social media as a way to improve their place in line when tickets went on sale. While the program earned mixed PR — some saw it as reasonable and fun, others as a money grab — everyone who wanted a ticket to see the Reputation Tour was able to buy one. It’s a stadium tour and there are thousands of tickets still available — that’s much different than Harry Style’s 13 city theater tour, which sold out in 29 seconds and saw seven fans register in advance for every one available ticket. Keep in mind each fan could buy four tickets, making the odds of getting a ticket exponentially lower.
Why does that matter? Let’s say I want to buy a ticket for the Harry Styles tour so I can take my wife and two business associates out to the show, impressing them that I have hard-to-get tickets for pop music royalty. Should I be ranked the same as a fan in their twenties who’s followed One Direction since 2010 and has never missed a gig?
And more importantly, can Ticketmaster tell us apart? Can social media, fan club usage and even TM’s own data be used to boost the twenty-something fan over me, the opportunist who hasn’t listened to Styles’ entire album and just wants a night on the town that will impress a few friends?
Not yet, at least not in any scalable way. But it will be a continued talking point and request by music managers and artist agents who will push Ticketmaster for more details on an act’s most ardent fans.
Convergence Will Become Rapid Convergence
The seamless coupling of music consumption, discovery and concerts has still not been fully realized, but never before have we been this close to bringing the three together. Ticketfly and Pandora’s brief entanglement was merely a glimpse of where music seems to be headed, one where the listening experience is seamlessly combined with commerce and eventually live entertainment.
What in the hell am I talking about? It’s an idea first floated to me by WME’s Marc Geiger for a Billboard article I wrote last month and it’s based on four benchmarks to watch: the increased adoption of paid streaming services, the rise of international artists with global followings, the shift toward a market-driven ticket pricing regime and advancements in the integrations of ticketing and streaming technology.
That last one is most important. Bringing together streaming and ticketing in a significant way represents the convergence of commerce in the music industry. Now that Ticketfly has laid the groundwork with its integration with Pandora, expect that convergence to speed up with deals in the works between the big ticketing companies like AXS and Ticketmaster as well as tech giants like Facebook and Spotify.
We No Longer Advertise, We Boost
Facebook has changed the way promoters advertise events and concerts, but with any widely used marketing platform, it becomes difficult to stand out as many voices crowd the field.
Enter the concept of the Boost — paid advertising slots across popular event sites and emails that enhance awareness. In fact, event discovery firm Goldstar is launching a new paid service tool called Boost to get fans in front of the company’s eight million members.
Other discovery applications are looking at ways to generate revenue from their own huge customer lists. Goldstar’s Boost program will promote events in emails to target audiences and company CEO Jim McCarthy said the program leads to an uptick in sales at both Goldstar and through primary ticket sales.
Trump Dystopian Fatigue Syndrome Will Take Its Toll on All of Us
It didn’t take Trump very long to turn on the crazy in the new year. Not even 48 hours after we toasted midnight, Trump went on another Twitter tirade, threatening nuclear war and issuing a batshit crazy proclamation that he prevented aviation accidents in 2017.
Hate to say it, but it’s only going to get worse. As the midterm elections approach, 2018 is going to be a nightmarish ride from crisis to crisis, with the spectre of nuclear annihilation, economic chaos and grotesque culture wars constantly sprung upon us. No matter what side you’re on, all that chaos and negatively will take a toll on our collective health, making it harder to get out of bed, log into social media or turn on the TV.
Symptoms will be loneliness, depression, hot flashes and the occasional vomiting spell. Supporters will lock themselves to Fox News, drowning out Trump’s visible deterioration with a constant browbeating from Sean Hannity. For the Trump haters, the consequences will be grave. Trump’s disconnection from reality will feel disorientating, invoking a drowning sensation coupled with hysteria. Booze sales will skyrocket, anti-depressant use will hit double digits and legal weed prices will double, triple and even quadruple from Jeff Sessions’ trolling.
It’s going to be awful and will probably kill most of us. Those who survive will hopefully carry on the legacy of mocking Trump’s tiny hands and fourth-grade reading level.