Back in the ’90s, when “indie” music was still young, Noise Pop was promoting it. What began as a “one-night showcase for local bands writing songs rich with guitars, melody, and noise” became a multi-day festival a la SXSW, featuring the likes of Modest Mouse, the Flaming Lips, and Neko Case.
Even though Noise Pop has grown into an independent production company, Marketing Director Lamont Harper remains proud of its DIY roots. “Our mission statement is ‘championing independent culture since 1993,’” he tells me. “We try to live by that — music and culture.”
Harper’s been involved in every aspect of the music industry — creating album art, playing in bands, working at record labels — so he’s keyed into the lifecycle of an event. “We promote independent artists and help bring them through the different stages,” he says, “from opening to second support to one day, hopefully, headlining their own show.”
Noise Pop’s vision is holistic, but keeping that in mind can be tough when you’re busy and getting busier. At any moment, Harper is marketing more than a hundred shows — something he does with ease, thanks to ToneDen.
“I’m definitely checking [ToneDen] every day,” he admits. “Any day I could be starting a new campaign as one’s wrapping up.” One recent campaign that’s had great success? Noise Pop’s pre-sale for Fleet Foxes.
Outfoxing the Pitfalls of Pre-Sale
Who wasn’t excited to hear that Fleet Foxes were ending their hiatus? The Seattle-based rural folksters’ “Sun It Rises” is a modern classic.
Harper saw the Fleet Foxes show as the perfect opportunity to pilot one of ToneDen’s Playbooks.
“What I really appreciate in a partner — I’m going to call you guys a partner now — is bringing something to the table,” he says. “Being, ‘hey, we’re rolling out this new thing, we think it might be a great fit for you.’ That kind of teamwork is super valuable …It helps me become aware of the best practices and marketing strategies out there.”
Plenty of strategizing goes into marketing events. It helps that their lifecycles are predictable: 23% of aggregate ticket sales happen within the first week of general on-sale, with 11% selling the first day. And promoters know if they offer early access to a show, fans will jump. Pre-sales lead to more ticket purchases, which, in turn, sell out a show quicker.
Before partnering with ToneDen, Noise Pop’s pre-sale involved emailing fans a code or link to buy advance tickets. While that may seem simple, issues arise. For one, if fans gets the pre-sale code too early, they may forget to use it. From there, the dominos fall: if fans skip pre-sale, odds are they’ll miss on-sale.
Harper helped Noise Pop avoid those pitfalls for the Fleet Fox show by using ToneDen’s Pre-Sale Playbook. The Playbook — which Harper calls “super automated” and “a blessing for us” — addresses several marketing objectives with one, multi-tiered strategy. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: A fan sees the post and comments to get the pre-sale code.
Step 2: A message is sent from Noise Pop to the fan. This confirms they want that pre-sale code — and subscribes the fan to the Messenger list.
Step 3: The day pre-sale goes live, the fan gets a message from Noise Pop. The day of general on sale? They get another message.
“Everyone Was Kind of Stoked”
The results of Noise Pop’s Pre-Sale Playbook were staggering. “We were pleasantly surprised by the reaction and the opt-in rate,” Harper says. “The fans had a positive reaction: everyone was kind of stoked that we were offering them a pre-sale code to a show that they were excited about.”
The numbers paint an even rosier picture. For just $100, 112 people asked for Noise Pop’s pre-sale code; 102 of those people opted into their Messenger list. And even though the code was solely given to the Messenger subscribers, it was used 292 times. This means people were sharing the code, likely with multiple people. Those shares drove the cost per click down to a mere $0.34.
Furthermore, those clicks led to ticket purchases — enough to sell out 30% of the venue’s capacity before the general on sale even went live.
And while diehard Fleet Foxes fans were happy to get insider access, Harper was happy to sell those tickets to the show sooner.
With Noise Pop continuing to expand — they host Treasure Island Music Festival and 20th Street Block Party, along with namesake festival— integrating tools that make marketing more efficient is crucial to Harper. This is why he’s such a proponent of ToneDen.
"It’s one of those management tools that makes our workflow easier. Taking yourself out of Facebook to just work and not get distracted by posts or friends or the noise of the social platform has been super productive. You guys make it simple. The interface is just really, really great."