What was the first concert you ever went to?
Mine was The Smashing Pumpkins — Garbage opened for them — at the San Jose Pavilion (now the Shark Tank). How’s that for some ultimate 90s nostalgia? I was 10 years old, and, after a strong and convincing campaign by yours truly, my mom agreed to let me go with my cool older cousin. That was right before I started taking music lessons. Now, I’ve been drumming for 30 years and have played in so many bands, but back then, I was just a fan, just a kid, rocking out, getting inspired, and apparently deciding that the drums were the coolest instrument in the band.
Seeing your favorite band play live can be a life-changing experience. (It was for me.) That’s why, on the latest episode of The Next Great Thing, I was delighted to speak with Fabrice Sergent, Managing Partner at Bandsintown.
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Fabrice’s team has built a live music discovery app that lets you know when your favorite artist is — as the name suggests — coming to your town and recommends new artists on tour to check out based on your musical tastes. What’s particularly cool about Bandsintown is that artists can use the platform to connect directly with fans under their own branding and voice and (finally!) own their fan engagement data. (This is awesome for new and emerging artists.)
One “great thing” I learned: Web3 has massive potential, but it’s not nearly consumer-friendly or product-obsessed enough…yet. Lots of people are hoping that Web3 will deliver some amazing digital experiences. I’m one of them. But what we’ve seen so far with Web3 is, if we’re being honest, clunky and confusing. As professors from the Wharton School and University of Ottawa put it, the big problem is that, “for a product meant to democratize everything from investment to activism to art, Web3 — the universe of blockchain, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies — is devilishly difficult to use.”
Fabrice agrees. “I was trying to download the NFT of a major festival six months ago,” he explains. “It took me 25 minutes! There were 100,000 people attending that festival, but only 6,000 were trying to download this NFT. That's a total failure in my opinion.”
He’s right. But a bad Web3 experience today doesn’t mean we should give up on it tomorrow. If anything, we should keep innovating, keep pushing what’s possible, and do it all around the people meant to experience it. “What can help the artists and the fans are consumer-friendly solutions," Fabrice says.
Right now, what’s missing from Web3 is a lack of customer obsession and, by extension, a lack of product obsession. We’ve yet to see a customer-obsessed Web3 leader emerge — a.k.a. the “Steve Jobs of Web3.” What we have seen is a spate of press releases, hype, and marketing. None of that is enough to conceal one simple fact: we’re still waiting for a killer Web3 experience that’s designed around what customers really want. First one to figure that out wins. Maybe it’s you!
Agree? Disagree? Let me know if and how you’re thinking about Web3. Share your thoughts, ideas, and life-changing first concert experiences in the comments.