Introducing the innovative live circuit #ESNS17

alt (From left to right Bas Grasmayer, Ide Koffeman, Govert Reeskamp, Robert Schaeffer, Mark Minkman)

We're back from Eurosonic Noorderslag, the yearly international event where music lovers and music professionals gather to enjoy music and discuss the industry. Paradiso Labs organized a panel on innovation in the live music circuit. Paradiso's Mark Minkman moderated the discussion. Here's what the experts talked about.

Innofest: the power of festivals as living labs

Govert Reeskamp (Innofest):

"Innofest is a safe testing environment for companies and organisations. We represent eight festivals that can function as living labs, as places where businesses and non-profits can test new products. We want to prove that the temporary cities that festivals are have potential beyond the core of the event."

"We can test products that are intrinsically relevant to an event and improve the audience experience. We can also allow companies to test stuff that's not directly related to any particular event. For example we have tested a camera that counts the amount of people that are passing by in a certain period of time. The company that makes that product wanted to find out how good their present product worked. That specific test was not aimed at the festival, but could be tested there very well. We want to facilitate innovative companies."

Effenaar Smart Venue: using the brains of the city

Robert Schaeffer (Effenaar Smart Venue):

"According to the Intelligent Community Forum, Eindhoven is the smartest region in the world. We have the High Tech Campus where a lot of innovative startups and companies are based. In the past we have seen that new technologies have had a huge impact on the music industry. Production, distribution, marketing, a lot has changed through technology. We believe that the new possibilities of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will have a big impact as well. In Eindhoven we have a lot of companies exploring AR and VR. In exchange for using our venue they help us innovate and experiment."

"AR and VR is not all we experiment with. We experiment with the format of music and interactivity as well. Recorded music in the past was static because the tracks were made for record or cd. Now there are more options to make music dynamic and interactive. We did an experiment with swings. The harder people were swinging the more the music changed as a result of that. That has an impact on the audience as well as on the songwriting of an artist. We are looking for forward thinking artists to experiment with."

Down The Rabbit Hole: innovation is building a new world with everything you know

Ide Koffeman (Down The Rabbit Hole):

"When we started Down The Rabbit Hole we saw room for a new festival, we saw an opportunity to lift the festival experience to a higher level by decoration, by art, by setting. One part of a festival is the music of course. But there is so much more that makes a festival what it is."

"We started with designers and other artists to discuss the concept. They came up with a lot of great ideas. For example the idea of vertical grass. We loved that. For us, innovation is not only about high tech, it is also trying to build a new world with everything you know. And a festival is the ideal place to do that. To make something special, you have to make room for ideas, you have to set up a structure to create. But you all do it together. It's a teamwork effort to make something great."

Music X Tech X Future: own the data

Bas Grasmayer (Music X Tech X Future):

"As a consultant I look for trends and possibilities concerning music and technology. One topic I think is important for clubs and festivals is the shift from social media to messenger apps. With bots and artificial intelligence it's possible to communicate with audiences in a new way. A bot is an automated way of questions and answers. For example you could make a messenger that could give answers to all the questions people have around a festival like ESNS. Artificial intelligence makes that possible. Because of that option you don't need your own site or app for direct communication but you can play a role in the apps people already use. For example Facebook Messenger."

"Another important thing I think every club or festival should do is to try to own the data of its customers. To own the contact with your audience. Of course something like Facebook is important to stay in touch with your customers, but you don't want to rely on them. So do everything to get for example the e-mail-adresses of people so you can reach them and can tell them about the acts you program and the events that fit their musical taste. As a result, you can provide better service and sell more tickets at the same time."