Turn of the screw

Detour Nottingham

17 September 13 words: Paul Klotschkow
Ian Hogarth from Songkick explains how you can pledge to bring your favourite bands to Nottingham
Songkick Detour

Pledge to bring you favouroite bands to Nottingham

Firstly, could you explain what Detour is?
Detour is an experimental project we're running to see if fans can help book shows for the artists they love. While building our main product Songkick we've learned a ton about music fans and artists (we now reach about 8 million fans a month). One of the things we've heard from artists and promoters is the risk involved in touring - how hard it is to know how much demand there will be in a market, and how you have to be more conservative in playing new cities than you'd like. Detour is our first step towards solving that problem by letting fans tell an artist that if they come to their city, they'll buy a ticket. On Detour fans pledge to buy a ticket which is the most significant way to reduce the risk in touring, so more shows can be booked in new markets or venues.

Why should both fans and artists get behind this initiative?
So far it's really been about making shows happen that wouldn't otherwise. We've staged over 20 shows since the start of the year and hopefully if more fans, promoters and artists get on board we can stage a lot more!

Once an artist has enough pledges, what then happens to turn those pledges in to an actual gig?
We pass the information on to the artists agent and manager and try to find a local promoter to put on the show.

It’s a pretty ambitious project, how did you go about getting it off the ground and what have the initial shows been like? Has it gone as well as you hoped?
It's been exciting. Obviously it's quite a different way of booking shows, so there have been a lot of lessons along the way, in particular around how best to explain how it works to fans and artists. But overall we've been really blown away by the response from fans, which is the best signal that we're on to something.

Is the system not open to abuse? What if for a ‘joke’, thousands of people pledged to go to a Jedward concert, would you still need to go ahead with it?
I think we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. So far because you have to pledge your credit card fans have been pledging for artists they would actually love to see live.

The whole Kickstarter and crowd-funding thing is helping to make the music ‘business’ more democratic in a way. For example, I can now give my money directly to a band, almost like I’m pre-paying for an album, to help them pay for the costs of recording, and in return receive that album and any other additional extras if I’ve stumped up enough cash. How do you see the relationship between crowd-funding and music going?
I don't really see Detour as crowdfunding, this is about fans committing to buy something they already want to buy (a ticket) ahead of the show existing, so it is a bit more like crowdsourcing - helping artists know which venues and cities to play.

After trialling Detour in London you have now rolled it out across the country, including here in Nottingham. How did you got about deciding which cities you would target?
We picked the cities that had the most active Songkick users and the most receptive promoters.

You have local promoters DHP involved. How did you approach them and sell them the idea?
We met them a while back via Songkick and were really impressed with pretty much everything about them - their independence, their vision and the quality of the experiences they create for fans.

Finally, what should music fans in Nottingham do to get involved in Detour?
Pledge for the bands you want to see!

To find out more about Detour and how you can pledge to bring bands to Nottingham visit the Detour website

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