BEHIND THE SCENES OF LNE’S FIRST PODCAST – ON TOUR WITH LIVE NATION
BEHIND THE SCENES OF LNE’S FIRST PODCAST – ON TOUR WITH LIVE NATION
October 30, 2017
Live Nation's US Concerts and US Sponsorship teams recently kicked off the company's first podcast, On Tour With Live Nation, available now on iTunes. The weekly podcast covers all things live – from tour announcements, fest-life, to up-and-coming artists. We caught up with the brains behind the podcast – Samantha Sichel (VP – Digital Products and Business Development) and co-hosts Joey Scoleri aka Joey Vendetta, (SVP – Marketing Partnerships) and Shira Lazar, on-air personality and Founder of WhatsTrending.com, to get details on what goes into creating a podcast.
Check out the interview below and be sure to take a listen here, rate the podcast and of course, tune in next week to get your fix of On Tour With Live Nation.
How did On Tour with Live Nation originate? Take us back to those beginning conversations.
SAMANTHA: As VP of Digital Product for the Sponsorship Division, it's my job to make sure our sales team has best in class digital products to offer to our partners. With the increasing fan & brand interest in the podcast space, it made sense to test an ongoing live focused audio product which provides valuable content to fans, works as a promotional tool for concerts/festivals and is advertiser friendly.
We RFP'd five of the top podcast production companies and Westwood One stood out from the pack. Once we landed on them as a production partner, they suggested Shira as a host and we thought she had the perfect sound. After Shira interviewed Joey in our second episode it became clear that he would be the perfect co-host for every episode to follow.
SHIRA: I've worked with Westwood One for years and obviously a big fan of live music myself and the live experience of these events. When I got asked to participate in this it was a no brainer! I was like, "Duh, Yes!" It's an honor to work on a project with partners like Westwood One and Live Nation. I was also excited about the ability to meet and interview a lot of the talent behind the scenes of these concerts, tours and festivals. They are the true warriors of these events, and it's fascinating to discover how things work behind the scenes.
Podcasts have become the top platform for entertainment and education across a multitude of industries. Tell us a bit about how the podcast entertains and educates music fans.
JOEY: Podcasts are very focused and intimate to the audience; it's like a one on one conversation, which results in a more targeted experience for the listener. When you know who your audience is and why they are downloading, streaming, tuning in it is much more important to be topical and specific with your information. The brevity of the format also lends itself to a different experience vs. a daily talk show or music program. As a host, you know you have 20 or 30 minutes to get your point across and the that the listener is tuning in for a very specific purpose. That creates a bond between the podcast/listener from a content ideation standpoint.
It's also important to give them what they don't know they want, positive surprises and information that informs and entertains – infotainment isn't a word but it should be.
SHIRA: What I love about podcasts is the conversational element. It's not about soundbites and quick hits. The format allows us to keep it fun or dig deeper if we want to. For music fans, this means we're going to be able to cover things differently-- and that is a good thing! It's not like a radio show- with quick intros going in and out of commercials or songs. It's going to feel like you're hanging out with friends, but friends who know the music biz, are pioneers, music icons and have interesting and crazy stories!
Moving into trends – can you give us some insight into how you predict what's here to stay and what's fleeting?
JOEY: In the live music space, digital/social media, fear of missing out, communal experiences, curation, VIP access and authenticity are all here to stay; they are driven by digital analytics, social media, instant consumption and reaction. Study Marshall McLuhan (Canadian media futurist) to get a better picture on how the digitization of society can impact humanity. It's fascinating.
What's also here to stay? The music business making sure fans feel appreciated, served and cared for. The Disney/Universal model is now part of the music biz approach to fan engagement – sell bigger and better access, VIP and special offers to make the consumer feel like the most important person in the world. At Disneyland no child feels that Mickey doesn't think they are the most important kid on earth. Concerts are heading that way and it will only get better from here – just look at festival offerings, from private tour buses to cabanas and helicopters – and that is just the start!
SHIRA: There's obviously data around everything these days, and technology can predict these things but I also think it comes down to an instinct. That's purely human and based on having been around to see things come and go and what stands the test of time.
One of our favorite segments in the podcast is Deconstructed Set list, where you break down shows of Live Nation artists, using set lists found on setlist.fm. Tell us a bit more about the content process for the show and how you decide which ideas make the cut.
JOEY: We try to be topical and relevant for the setlist segment, making sure it ties in with an on-sale, festival or this week in music history makes it much easier to work into the podcast. Fans love talking about what songs artists play at shows – it's a lot of fun to see how musicians change it up or work in cover songs into a set. It's all about the music, right?
SHIRA: I love this addition – besides our opening conversations around music, upcoming shows and interviews, the setlist.fm segment was a fun surprise as we were figuring out other ideas for the show. Typically, we choose a setlist from an artist who going on tour, so when we talk about Kendrick Lamar's tour we can go to setlist.fm and talk about one of his set lists. It allows us to speak about the artist and what they bring to a live show in a unique way.
From Kelly Hansen of iconic rock band Foreigner, to festival gurus Tom Russell and Alex Joffe of Founders Entertainment, you haven't let up on bringing all-star guests on the show. Any hints you can give us on what's in store for the rest of the season?
JOEY: We'll continue to take listeners "backstage" in the business – fans want a glimpse behind the curtain and some insight into how the live music experience works. That's what we strive to do while having some fun doing it! More artists, managers, agents, bookers, marketers and big wheels coming up.
SHIRA: We'll definitely be hearing from more festival founders too. Also, tune in for an appearance by a favorite singer of mine, Sabrina Carpenter!
If you had to narrow it down, what's one takeaway you want for listeners after tuning into On Tour with Live Nation this summer?
JOEY: I hope listeners learn something new about the live music business that will help them have a greater appreciation for their experiences going forward. Live events don't happen without an incredible amount of effort, planning, thought and most importantly the people who work at Live Nation and our other event brands - taking some of the mystery out of it is what we do. It's a lot of fun to share the experience with Shira and all the Live Nation fans around the world.
SHIRA: Although social media and tech have us all experiencing our favorite artists digitally, there's nothing like a live show. Seeing an artist live is a story you'll always have and a moment you will always remember. So, like Joey, I'd like for listeners to leave the podcast with a greater appreciation for the live experience. Discovering more of what goes into putting on these tours, concerts and festivals is fascinating!