By Mira Kuhar


This past week, I had the pleasure of attending South By South West (SXSW) conference and festival in Austin, TX. For those who are unsure, SXSW is a week-long set of conferences and festivals with categories in music, film and interactive. The conference portion offers badge holders a chance to hear from a wide variety of panels on many different facets of these three industries. I was fortunate enough to attend many incredible panels that had speakers from all different sides of the music industry.

One of these panel that stuck out to me the post was “Does Social Media Make Concerts Better?” I was intrigued by the title, because at first I thought it was going to be centered around the negativity of social media and how it can be a distraction and take away from experience. However, what I experienced was the complete opposite. 

The panel consisted of three professionals: Scott Carlis, VP of Digital Social Media and Marketing for AEG Global Partnerships, Hugh McIntyre, music write for Forbes, Glenn Minerley, VP Group Director of Music and Entertainment and Craig Goodfriend, Industry Manager of Facebook. Also on the panel was Jean-Philip Grobler of the band St. Lucia who spoke to the benefits/downsides of social media at concerts from an artist’s stand point.

The discussion started off with a few interesting statistics regarding music, millennials and social media:

These statistics reflected what the panel was all about: social media truly does make concerts better. In the opinion of these professions, social media enhances the concert experience before and after the show, not just during like one would think. This gives brands and bands a way to enter the social media conversation like never before; there are so many ways to continue connecting with your audience than just through the hour or so of your show. 

Social media has done so much more than just change the concert experience though; it has in return changed the way albums are cycled, the way concert tickets are purchased, the way artists connect with fans and the way fans consume music. The pattern of influence has shifted because of social media, and the impact on the music business because of this is extremely evident. 

It has completely changed the live music experience for millennials. Now, with just the few clicks of a button (or touch screen), fans can continue to engage with their favorite artists before during and after the show, and share that experience with so many others, especially the ones that couldn’t be in attendance. Being able to connect with a show in this type of way makes the experience better for the concert attendee; they feel more connected when they’re using all the tools available to indulge in a show in this way. 

One interesting piece of information that I took away regarding a specific social media site had to do with the Instagram experience. According to the professionals and artist on this panel, Instagram is a great way for brands and bands to connect with their fans. You can easily share your photos from here and push it out to all other platforms, which makes it an ideal place to house content. Also, there are so many users on Instagram that it’s easy for fans to connect with their favorite artists. Engagement rates are extremely high with Instagram, and because of this posting content on here can carry a lot of weight when you want your fans to see what you’re doing or you want your voice/story to be heard. 

In conclusion, when social media is used to enhance the concert experience, we view brands and bands in a better light and are happy that we can continue to connect before and after the show. In all, its about being authentically cool; making your fans love the work you are doing, and showing them in a way that is real and not fluffed or made up. Social media does intact make concerts better, and it will continue to help shape live music and the music industry in general for many years to come.