A better way to book bluegrass?

hypothetical bluegrass showMusic Think Tank has a post up today with an idea for a better way to book shows for live music.

The idea is that instead of looking at past performances and trying to guess how many people might show up for a show, the promoter/band can look forward by having people commit to the proposed show.

Basically the promoter would set up a website for a festival, with a list of the particular bands they are thinking about booking. The bands would then promote the festival by contacting their fan base and asking their fans to go vote for them to get the gig by committing to buy a ticket to the festival.

The commitment would involve a credit card or Paypal transaction that would only be processed once the promoter made a final decision regarding which bands he would hire. If the band is hired, the ticket commitments are processed. If the band is not hired, the transactions are canceled.

The fan would have the option of specifying they only want the ticket if the band in question is hired.

The promoter sees how many people have pledged tickets for each band ‚Äì that is, she sees real-time, forward-looking demand for a give artist, at given venue, on a given date. She then selects which bands, if any, she wants to book for the show. The promoter doesn’t necessarily have to select the band(s) with the most pledges ‚Äì she might base her decision on other factors as well, like genre, how much compensation the bands are asking for, etc. But among the bands that match the criteria that the promoter is seeking, she would certainly have a financial incentive to book those with the most ticket pledges.

The author admits there are some details to be worked out. One of them would be that some fans will buy a ticket to a festival regardless of specific bands. Others will buy a ticket if a band or two that they like is playing, even if another band they like is not.

It could be a great way to book non-festival shows though. Especially for a band wanting to play in a certain town. The band could determine ahead of time if doing the show would be worth it.

Eventful kind of does this, but without actually taking credit card info for ticket transactions. Music Think Tank got the idea from Fundable, a website for doing just this sort of thing in a fundraising environment. You set a fundraising goal and let people pledge donations, but if the goal isn’t met no one pays anything.

It’s an interesting idea. I’d be interested to know what the festival and show promoters in the bluegrass world think of it.