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Using Apps to Find Live Music By John Moore for Digital Innovation Gazette

Back in the day, finding live music involved observing notices tacked to telephone poles or having someone press a flyer in your hand outside the record shop. Today though, live music finder apps offer the 21st century easier ways to locate a show.

One example is Thrillcall, a live event discovery service that provides show listings and localized live music offers. A Thrillcall app for iOS debuted in February with an Android app following in October. We spoke to Matthew Tomaszewicz, co-founder of Thrillcall, about the company’s development approach and marketing plan.

In creating the Android version of Thrillcall, did you develop in Java or are you using a development platform that lets you tap a single framework to develop for both Android and iOS?

Matthew Tomaszewicz: We used a development platform called Phone Gap. It’s a tricky situation developing a mobile app in a single framework, given a mobile ecosystem where there is a premium put in the iOS world on native development to accentuate user interaction.

We deployed an iOS app first in its complete native environment and that has been a positive experience. As we grow on both the Android and iOS platforms, we'll make these decisions weighing the value of the single framework versus the form factor. If you don't have a brand like Facebook or Yelp or LinkedIn that is automatically going to drive people to use the app, you need to weigh the look and feel, elegance, and adoption of the app versus the control over the code.

What have you learned about the app since releasing the iOS version in February? Has user feedback led to any particular additions/changes?

M.T.: First, I think we prepared for the launch of our app very well. We had fulfillment and customer service teams in place not only to mitigate issues should they arise, but also to quickly harness and evaluate feedback.

We learned quite a bit that has been or will be adjusted about our navigation and specifically the listings within the app. The metrics within the app, in terms of ticket sales, have exceeded our expectations. Concert goers find it much easier to purchase through our app than any other mobile or web interface. We’re excited about that data.

How do you market the app?

M.T.: The marketing of the app is an iterative process. Like any app distributor, we look at our cost per install and then downstream our cost per certain actions. We’ve learned that there is also a clear distinction between marketing the app and marketing the shows within the app.

We use many avenues to market the app, including social media and partner marketing. Our most successful marketing campaigns to date have been less about “where” and more about effectively planning, integrating and sequencing all of our communications

Has the biggest challenge in creating Thrillcall been technical or more organizational -- getting the cooperation of artists, promoters, venues, music festivals, etc.?

M.T.: First, when you look at the event and ticket landscape in North America, there are two macro-factor challenges: First is the frequency of customers attending live events, which oscillates anywhere between 3 to 20 events for the midsection of the bell curve. The second is navigating the industry itself. There are many different constituents and layers and understanding that technology in the space has to be about being complementary, not disruptive.

Fred Rosen, who started Ticketmaster and more recently helmed AEG’s Outbox ticketing, said it to me best, paraphrasing: “Anyone can steal music these days, but concerts can still be regulated.”

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Photo: Corbis Images

Copyright (c) 2012 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.


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