The Rolling Stones kicked off their 2005-2006 World Tour this week in Boston. I was lucky enough to score great seats for both shows at Fenway Park (14th row for opening night and 4th row last night). So how did a mere mortal get access to great seats without having to mortgage the house to pay a scalper? Because I had seen the Stones on the last several tours, I had automatically gotten a membership to the fans-only section of the RollingStones.com site and I registered my email address three years ago. So when the current tour was announced this Spring, I received a special pre-announcement email alert and an opportunity to purchase pre-sale tickets. How cool.
The Stones understand that their most loyal fans should be allowed to buy tickets before the general public. And the band uses the site to facilitate the process. Once the tour kicked off, the site has a neat Virtual Ticket section where you can free stuff like images, audio and video, set lists and more.
Aerosmith is another band that uses fan communities to great success. I profiled the Aeroforceone.com fan site in my book Cashing in with Content. Any organization that wants to cultivate a base of fans using the Web can learn from these two bands.
In a new twist, the Stones now allow cameras in their shows. Possibly this is because so many mobile phones have built in cameras that you just can’t stop photos anymore. But quite possibly, the band understands that when fans take photos they share them with friends and post them on blogs and photo galleries which creates a viral marketing effect. Here’s a photo I took at the show last night. You can’t get much closer than this. Yeah, the Stones rock – but their site does too.