How to Engage Fans to Power Your Tour With Mobile Tech

Book More Effectively & Mitigate Road Risks With Free App Fanflex 

Touring is hard, always has been. There’s the constant scheduling with booking agents, clubs that want to ram a mid-week discount down your throat, and that nagging feeling that you’re going to play a half-empty venue.

Sure, it’s not a big deal for major bands that pretty much get the cash in hand even before the first amp is loaded, but for most of us, touring is an expensive risk that can end up crippling a band’s year – or it just might give you the break you need.

▼ Article continues below ▼

So, how can we mitigate some risk, serve our fans all over the country wherever they may live, and tour effectively? Many platforms have cropped up trying to solve this problem by crowdfunding a tour with fan support before that proverbial amp is loaded. The problem is, most of those platforms make bands decide on the dates, cities, and venues before finding out whether there is enough fan support to do so. Consequently, many of these campaigns fail to come to fruition and the bands end up cancelling all or part of the tour they probably never had the support for anyway.

One new app trying to solve this problem is called Fanflex. Yes, it is a crowdfunding platform, but there are some major differences that might make it a better option for you as an artist to take control of your touring, and hopefully take your music to more people.

Fanflex is available as a free app for iPhone (no word on Android), and the setup is fairly straightforward. Bands setup a profile and then create a campaign to put the power into fans’ hands. The bands pick regions and timeframes to tour, as well as the threshold of ticket sales they need to meet to go out on the road. Fans can then pre-pay for tickets to a future show within those parameters. This enables a band to reach out to their fanbase and find those who maybe wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see them on a normal tour. Fans are actually helping bands chart the path of the tour. This is where the technology comes in. The app then pairs the regions, timeframes, and venues into a valid touring plan and it gives fans earliest access to show tickets, plus premium add-ons.

Once the band’s threshold has been met by fans, the campaign is then “Flex’d,” hence the name.

As any vet of crowdfunding will tell you, it’s all about the premium add-ons. Fanflex does a good job of integrating these seamlessly into the campaign. We’re not just talking about t-shirts, either.  Some examples of cool offers I noticed were “sing along on stage,” “fan photographer,” “signed EP,” “have breakfast with the band,” and more.  These add-ons are powerful way to get early buy-in from demanding fans.

For fans, they can browse opportunities, and set their region preferences, all without signing up.

For artists, you can sign up and add videos, beautiful cover photos, premium add-ons, and then start your campaign, which is free for 30 days.

Let’s break it down.

In the following screenshots, you can see the band Carmela (love them) has set a campaign for “Orange County” (meaning it may happen anywhere in that county, no specific club yet), with the dates of June 10-July10.

fanflex -Screen1When a fan signs up, they choose which region they want to see available touring campaigns in. So, I have Orange County selected, and I’ll see this campaign.

Fanflex -Screen2

Fans then click on campaign and can see that there are only 15 tickets left before the campaign is “Flex’d.” Once that threshold is reached, the money for the tickets will be charged, and the shows are booked. Fans then get emails telling them where and when the show is, as well as any info on how to get the premiums ordered.

Fanflex -Screen3

Simple enough. It’s early, Fanflex has just begun, but there a few things to note here. The app needs to have a lot more regions locked in for this to work. That means your band needs to sign up and give it a try. Second, as someone who works with booking agents and venue owners, I’m concerned about how Fanflex is penetrating these clubs for very late bookings. But so far, bands that are using are not having problems.

Anything that can help bands tour, while also building a valuable fanbase is worth your time, in my opinion. Give it a whirl and see if it works for you:

-Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development.

Like this? Share this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *