Maybe it's becoming so immersed in the startup world that gives everything a startup glow. Reecntly I was at a film screening that just screamed startup learning moment to me, a documentary called Who The F**K is Arthur Fogel?, about a quiet but brilliant music promoter. It was totally inspiring.
Arthur came out of the music scene in the late 70's/early 80's in Toronto. He had a reputation as a bit of a maverick as a concert promoter with CPI, then Live Nation, being unlike others who'd come before him – he was nice, he was friends with the bands, played well with others and saw himself as working for the artists, rather than the other way around, which was how artists and their managers were used to being treated. Musical artists trusted and liked him because he had their backs and he did concert tours that were successful.
In 2008, he met with U2 and they started planning their next world tour to support the upcoming album release. The economy was awful, the music business was shrinking/crumbling as illegal music downloading had emerged and everyone had stopped spending. Conventional wisdom said they should plan a pared-back tour, reining in expenses. But he decided the show needed to be bigger, on a scale that hadn't been done before. He let Bono dream up a vision for what an amazing show would look like, and helped it happen. The U2 360 tour was filled with firsts, and they spent like no one else was to create the biggest concert tour that had ever happened. The global tour launched in Barcelona in 2009 and ran for two years, setting records for the highest-grossing concert tour with $738 million in ticket sales, selling out in every city, and totally bucking the trend for the music business.
What Arthur saw was an opportunity to bring people back to paying for music, a vision for the concert as a big bold extension of the musical artists' vision, a music experience people could only get by being there. He allowed Bono to dream and helped execute on the vision. U2, Madonna, David Bowie, Lady Gaga and other big acts trust him to think big and bring the best – seven of the 10 top grossing concert tours ever are his. His reimagined mega concerts embrace creative vision, technical excellence and business smarts.
It's a story inspiring for startups; just go bold and execute on the vision.
Brenda van Ginkel
Every great brand that's making a difference to people or the planet deserves to stand out and be noticed. I write about creative direction and brand strategy for entrepreneurs and those supporting them, packaging concepts with messaging for growth and audience engagement in a crowded, noisy digital space.