To List Or Not To List?

Wednesday 10th August 2011

Not sure what to do on an evening in London? Have you ever checked the local listings for interesting events? If you happened to see that an unknown band was performing in your area, would you take a chance on them?

Almost every newspaper and magazine dedicates some of its pages to showcasing local concerts and performances in a condensed form: date, name, time, venue, genre, what to expect. As our eyes take in the dozens of places we could be hearing good music at that particular time, names are supposed to jump off the page and entice us into going to a particular event. Musicians and artists covet the chance to be featured in those listings, and media relations companies view them as a definite result of success. When the point of listings is to advertise performances to the public and get people out to the ticket booths, to what extent do they succeed in this mission? Here at WildKat PR, a growing curiosity over the influence (or lack thereof) of music listings led us to investigate the issue.

An extensive research began: through statistics, numbers, articles, we searched into who looks at these listings, are they worth it, do they work? Our research was, to put it mildly, unfruitful: it seems the Internet contains no data whatsoever tracing how effective music listings are. Our curiosity grew even more. In an ideal world, the scenario above would come true and hundreds of unknown artists would find fame and recognition after being featured in the listings section of a music magazine.  In reality, it isn’t always likely that this person scanning the page will want to experiment and take a chance on a band/musician they’ve never heard of. Even if we do happen to have no plans on a particular day, or find ourselves fancying a bit of live music, would we actually trust a small paragraph recommending an event? Surely a more in-depth feature about a concert or performance would be more likely to attract the reader, but competition for those is more than fierce, especially in reputable music magazines. When it comes to the artists in question: is this feeling of victory and these visions of fame and fortune that come after being featured in a listing actually called for?

One can be sure that somewhere, sometime, musicians will have been pulled from the darkness and into the spotlight after a series of gigs advertised at the bottom right-hand corner of the listings page. But what about the overall success rate? It seems this overlooked area of research would be an essential tool for the future of media relations, up-and-coming artists and venues on a larger scale. Have you ever seen statistics pertaining to music listings? What is your opinion on this issue? Do you believe listings to be successful in advertising events to the masses?