The music business has changed drastically over the last couple of years with the release of free streaming devices which give fans access to musicians work without a cost. This has been devastating to the music world to the point where musicians can no longer make a living through album sales. However, musicians still have tours as a way of income and live shows are often what fans wants from their favorite musicians. A new company called Sound Rink has learned to capitalize on this idea and is setting themselves apart from every other ticketing agency by giving fans an intimate experience, allowing them to meet their favorite musicians while at the same time helping musicians profit off of tours. We had a chance to talk with the President of Sound Rink, Jason Mangaeu, who told us more of what Sound Rink is all about.
TSL: I’m aware that the music business has changed dramatically over the last couple of years and that it’s becoming harder and harder for musicians to continue making a living by playing music. Can you talk a little bit about the many factors that play a role in this and how it’s affecting the entire music business as a whole?
Jason: The music space is changing daily, it is quite interesting to watch it all unfold honestly. I think one of the problems that happened early on was no one reacted fast enough to the digital movement. It took some people a while to catch up, some still refusing to adapt. Everyone just kept doing the same old song and dance while technology was being created making certain formats and distribution channels obsolete. I think people now have finally learned to react quickly when something new is introduced to the marketplace and take it seriously. You never know who has the next Facebook or streaming service being developed from a laptop in their kitchen. It is just wild how these things start up and catch on so quickly. Magazines who have been in print for years are closing shop, music retailers for teens like Hot Topic are now just selling the life style but not the sound track.Everything from magazines, books, music and how you shop on the daily has become digital. I think it is a great thing in the sense of getting news and information fast and directly from the source but some things I still enjoy leaving my couch to go do, like buy music. I used to love rushing down on Tuesday to see what new releases were out and buying the CD on the pure chance that I might like it just because the name and album cover were cool looking to me. Now, I just Google the band and I can read reviews, stream their entire album, find it for FREE on some kids blog and decide based on the Internets opinion if I am going to like it or not. It is quite sad that we trust the opinions of complete strangers in a review thread and decide not to give it a chance.
I guess what I am getting at is the digital movement while a good thing in a lot of ways, has made peoples attention span shorter and interest levels so much smaller. If a music video is too long people wont watch it, if it doesn’t have a funny caption people wont like it, if the link title isn’t attractive enough you wont click it. It is so easy to filter now as before you grabbed a CD out of a listening station, put the headphones on and jammed it until you loved it or hated it all on your own opinion, not by some internet troll on YouTube. There is too much information at the palm of our hands now. It is quite scary sometimes.I think people and fans of music have played a major roll in its downfall more so than the technology it self. Everyone feels entitled and wants it for free or “Why cant I stream the whole album online before I decide if I like it enough to buy it?”. Kids these days may not like an album enough to buy it, but they like it enough to post on their blog with a download link. The internet is just a strange place sometimes.
TSL: How would you say this also affects fans?
Jason: Well in a lot of ways it affects them in positive ways. It is easy to find your favorite band member on twitter and follow them and feel a sense of connectivity with them. The internet really does some good, like bring people together. Connectivity is important, but it cannot be purely digital. We still need to interact on a one on one basis. I think what Sound Rink does is offer fans the chance to actually shake the hand of their favorite musician, get their favorite shirt signed and hang out and talk to them. It becomes less intimidating for the fan due to the fact you follow them on twitter lets just say, so you might strike up conversation with them much easier. The chances of your favorite singer following you on twitter are pretty slim so they may not always know what to say to you other than “Thank you for the support”, but when you feel like you already know a bit about them it is a nice ice breaker sometimes.
TSL: Can you tell us how Sound Rink plays a role in helping musicians make a living?
Jason: Sound Rink offers the band a chance to interact with their fan base on a personal level which is good for strengthening your core audience relationship. Without the core audience or die hard fans, you have nothing. Fans come and go based on what their friends listen to or they moved to a new neighborhood and no longer listen to punk rock, and they move on…it happens. The core fan base is there for you no matter what and most of the time the die hard fan is the one buying the meet and greet packages. So we make sure to keep fans happy by granting access to personal experiences with their favorite bands which in turn helps these artists make extra income. We help market the tour in a lot of unique ways so we are helping sell more tickets through our site for their tour, not just packages but we offer general pre-sale for tours as well which increases attendance at shows, which increases the chances of more people buying merch from the band. It is all around good for fan engagement and another avenue for income at a place the artist was already going to be at, the show.
TSL: What inspired you guys to start Sound Rink?
Jason: Sound Rink was initially started to help offer our internal clients a new source of revenue and tour marketing. My fellow parter Scott Lee and I still manage bands and Cody DeLong was a booking agent for many years (he still books a few hip hop acts). So we were looking for ways to strengthen that business and we found out that others in our field were also having similar desires and started to use our services.
TSL: What are some bands Sound Rink has worked with?
Jason: Many many artists but a few are Of Mice and Men, Danity Kane, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Anthrax, Machine Head, The Rock Star Energy Mayhem Festival, Thrice, Brand New, Bayside, Senses Fail, Halsey, Coheed and Cambria to name a few.
TSL: What sets Sound Rink apart from other companies in the touring industry that are focused on VIP/Fan Experience/Ticketing?
Jason: We have very good technology. It is streamlined in a lot of ways that is automated from generating real time reports for managers, agents and tour mangers to sending ticket counts to venues all on auto pilot so we can focus on other things. We have made it so the check out experience is very simple and easy to use for the consumer. Our customer service is real, we spend time answering questions with people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Emails all day long and if there is ever an unhappy customer, we always do right.We are one of the few who are actually branding ourselves by sponsoring tours, events, festivals and being out on the road showcasing our name to fans and bands. We want people to know we are more than just some website, we are also on the road witnessing and participating in the experience packages first hand this summer on Mayhem Tour. I have not seen too many other companies who claim to be like us, actually doing that. Our social media pages are active and engaged, not just sitting there to claim a URL.
TSL: What are future plans for Sound Rink? I hear there’s an app in development?
Jason: We have an app that will roll out later this year, and we are very excited about it. it will streamline the user experience and strengthen our geo targeted marketing initiatives, and much more. Other things we plan to do is more onsite festival and event activation. We love being on the road and seeing first hand how to better understand the engagement. We talk to fans and ask them what they want, what we can do better etc.
TSL: Are there any musicians Sound Rink is currently in the process of being future partners with?
Jason: We are partners in a few branded tours such as the Revolver Hottest Chicks of Metal / Hard Rock tour and we have plans to do our very own tour soon. We have some great tours and events going on sale all the time.
TSL: How do you hope Sound Rink changes the music business in the coming years?
Jason: Well the one thing I do not see going away any time soon is the live show and the fan. So as long as those still exist we will be here to connect the two together in special ways. We will be here to help market tours to our internal user base which we hope continues to grow and through our social followings as well. I see us becoming a very strong asset to bands as other aspects of their revenue become diluted, as we are already witnessing.
TSL: Where can we find out more?