YOUR fans like you, they talk about you to their friends – why not get them to sell for you too? Artists getting fans to work for them is what the website Posse is all about – another sign that the line between artist and fan, producer and consumer, is blurring by the minute. Posse, conceived in Australia, aims to give fans the ”tools” to market the artists they love.
Photo: Kate Geraghty “It was a real nightmare to organise but it felt like the right idea” … Rebekah Campbell and Brett Murrihy from Posse.
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We made a lot of effort to build our database and that worked really well but outside of that we would do massive poster runs and not see an impact at all,” Campbell says. It was really, really difficult to reach people. Those tools are individually identified online links and apps which you can have on your web page or blog. Some fans sold up to 40 tickets for what became a sold-out show. ”It’s quite devastating when you are promoting an artist, you have a really small budget to work with and you spend $1000 for a pole poster campaign and you look at the ticket sales and it hasn’t done any more.”

Campbell reverted to her schooldays, when she made money selling dance party tickets, and posted on the band’s fan site a request for anyone who wanted to sell tickets for the show and get paid for it. And didn’t take 20 per cent of your revenue. And Posse has taken off, with small but rising artists like Little Red as well as American rock star Jack Johnson on board. If they worked properly. Campbell, who was a band manager, had an epiphany when touring Evermore around Australia. Just as importantly for the serious devotee, the fan also feels they have had a material impact on their favourite artist’s career. The response was overwhelming. Once there, you talk up the concert, album or T-shirt to your friends and social networks and direct them to follow links to ticket sellers and other retailers. But isn’t that what publicists, advertising and those ubiquitous posters are there for? ”It was a real nightmare to organise but it felt like the right idea,” says Campbell. Well, yes, says the Posse founder and chief executive, Rebekah Campbell. Or, as she puts it, an idea came to her ”out of desperation” when a Perth concert looked like tanking.   The fan gets a commission on each sale identified as coming through their link or app (with Posse taking a cut). With the guidance of senior managers like John Watson, whose firm manages Silverchair and Missy Higgins, the concept moved from the actual handling of the tickets to directing the fans to existing retailers. ”As a manager we were noticing the [lack of] impact that advertising was having, particularly on smaller, niche events. There’s also interest in Britain, where Campbell is establishing an office.