Introducing The Pollstar Daily Pulse
Welcome to the first issue of the Pollstar Daily Pulse. We’re thrilled to deliver the latest in music industry news — especially live music industry news — to your inbox daily. Ours is a dynamic, ever-evolving business, populated by hard-working, smart executives who are short on time. Hence, we believe that a daily music business newsletter, the first of its kind exclusively for the live business, is needed in our industry, delivering the biggest stories of the day directly to you.
Many of you know me from the many (many, many) years I spent at Billboard, where I learned as much as I could about this complex landscape, primarily from spending hours listening to the people that make the magic happen. As anyone who has been around this business longer than a couple of years knows, the business has changed drastically, and continues to.
When I started covering the concert business, the landscape was dominated by a group of hard-boiled, pirate entrepreneurs who risked their businesses every weekend to bring arena rock to the people. Or something like that. Every December, I would get on the phone and call the likes of Don Law in Boston, Ron Delsener in New York, Jerry Mickelson and Arny Granat in Chicago, Don Fox in New Orleans, Danny Zelisko in Phoenix, Jimmy “Mr. Connecticut” Koplik, John Scher in Jersey, Bill Graham and Gregg Perloff in San Francisco, Brian Murphy in L.A., Jack Boyle in D.C., and Louis Messina in Houston, among others, and they would tell me how the year had gone. Usually in very colorful language.
Many, if not most, of these guys were early believers and supporters of Pollstar. And, as the industry consolidated in the 1990s, most of these colorful characters have gone on to move mountains for what is now Live Nation. They, and many other managers, agents, venue managers, and others associated with this crazy business, were kind enough to let me look behind the curtain and help me figure out what the hell is going on. Like them, I, too, was always a believer in Pollstar and I came pretty close to joining the Pollstar team a couple of times during my career at Billboard. But, I enjoyed my co-workers (one of whom now joins us on the Pollstar/OVG edit team, Andy Gensler), along with the beat and the brand, so it took a while to pry me out of the Bible. A year in at Oak View Group, I’m having a ball playing a role in the evolution of both Pollstar and Venues Today. The irony is not lost on me, and I embrace the opportunity.
In the case of Pollstar, that evolution includes the launch of the Daily Pulse. To be clear, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel over here. We just want to give our readers more. The backbone of Pollstar has always been the best box office data (by far) in the industry, the most comprehensive, deep-diving numbers that exist, presented in a manner to really serve as a tool to help promoters, agents and buildings make the best possible decisions when going about their gigs, ultimately to serve the two main constituents of the industry: artists and fans.
OVG is a data-centric company, and we’re doubling down in this department. Not only are we building up our data resources, but we’re extending this data more than ever into the editorial of Pollstar, both digitally and in print. We believe the numbers provide context to virtually any story about our industry, so whenever appropriate, we’ll do some of the lifting for you, doing our best to make it clear why you should care about a particular article or piece of news. Pollstar has long been the best industry news curator for live entertainment, and we will continue to sift through the morass of information that floods across the Web every day in attempt to deliver what is meaningful to you.
When there is an incident of national or global impact (which seems to happen with increasing frequency), we will strive to tell you what it means to your business. And, more than ever, your business sits at the center of entertainment news, as it should. Those in live entertainment understand that live is the music business. I, like many of you, have watched the roles flip, as tours have gone from serving as support for a record release, to being supported by new recorded content. The tail is now wagging the dog. As important as streaming has become as the distribution channel of choice for fans, listening to music is a pretty passive experience compared to the effort and expense associated with buying a ticket and attending a show. There is no truer metric of fan passion than the purchase of a concert ticket. Plus, of course, that’s where the money is.
So we’re going to chronicle the live content world by the week in Pollstar, by the day in Daily, and by the minute on Pollstar.com. We’re committed to building on Pollstar’s reputation and credibility as the “paper of record” for the touring industry. Pollstar Daily Pulse is the first public manifestation of that effort, but you may already have noticed a heightened focus on Pollstar.com, and you’ll see more of our ambitions at the 2018 Pollstar Live! Conference & Awards in February.
Along with the issues and topics that are of most concern to the live industry, discussed by those in the trenches creating and delivering concerts to fans, we’re broadening the horizons of Pollstar Live! to include pertinent takes from visionaries and influencers from across the music industry, and beyond. Check it out at Pollstar.Live, and stay tuned, we’ve got some major announcements coming in the form of unexpected professionals and arena-level headliners. In Pollstar Live!, founders Gary Smith and Gary Bongiovanni have already built the biggest live music industry gathering in the world. Under the OVG umbrella, we intend to make Pollstar Live! the largest (and most relevant) music industry gathering in the world, period. This starts Feb. 6-8 at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
If it sounds like I’m tooting the Pollstar horn a bit, well, I am. I’ve long admired what the Garys have created and getting to play in this sandbox of premium data and concert industry connections is a career highlight and an opportunity for which I’m very grateful. With the Garys and Andy and the talented Pollstar team, we’re going to reshape how this business is covered, and Pollstar Daily Pulse is a major step in that direction. Let us know what you think.
President, Media & Conferences, Oak View Group