Ever since Ozzy announced it February 6th I've been thinking about--and meaning to blog about--the very interesting format of this summer's Ozzfest. I actually should attribute this innovation to his marketing savvy manager-wife Sharon (leave it to a woman to get it done), as it appears she brainstormed the new concert format.


What's innovative about it? The show is completely FREE to event-goers at every stop on the 25-date tour which kicks-off July 7th in LA.
In Sharon Osbourne's words:"This will change everybody's impression of the way touring in the summer in America should be."
Since 1996 Ozzy Osbourne has been headlining an annual summer concert tour, aptly called "Ozzfest." The festival showcases many bands, both known and fledgling.
Last summer, the tour grossed $18.7 million with poor ticket sales that averaged $42.50 per person. Other big-name acts that have been a part of past events, like Iron Maiden, have not yet been announced but Sharon is hoping they'll come for the fans and make it up in merchandise sales (or "merch" as it's known in the business).
As in past tours, "baby bands" will pay $75,000 for a slot on the tour--so just like in retail, bands too pay slotting fees. For bigger name acts the Osbournes will pay for lights, sound and trucking costs in return for asking the groups to play sans a percentage of the ticket sales (since there won't be any).
Naturally the sponsors will need to carry the brunt of the costs and so far Jagermeister and Monster Energy Drink are on board. By filling venues with free crowds, the Osbournes and promoter Live Nation figure additional beer, food and parking sales will compensate for some of the lost ticket revenue. It will be interesting to see what other sponsors 'bite' (sorry, had to include an Ozzy pun). More interesting is whether "free equals must see". Especially since free can go one of two ways: it can draw in many customers or it can negate a product's value entirely.
What do I like about this model? A lot, actually.
I like that it focuses on the fans. I like the experimental value in it. But I most like when companies who, in thinking "outside of the box," come up with programs that put their customers first. Like with Amazon pulling the plug on TV ads and instead putting that budget into free-shipping offers for customers. These programs come across as smart strategies because they're 100% customer-focused.
Could it fail? Miserably...but still admirably.
I say admirably because we need always push those envelopes and try new tactics, formats and models. And I'm impressed it's not just youngbloods but people in their 50s (60s?) that are reminding us to forever reformat and push that envelope. Same old is, after all, same and old. Good on you, Ozzy (and good luck on your first drug-free tour, we're rooting for you).
P.S.: No bats were harmed during the penning of this post.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Christina "CK" Kerley is a strategist, speaker, and trainer on innovation through mobile and smart technologies ("The Internet of Things"). Access her e-books and videos.

Twitter: @CKsays