Chicago-based firm Eventric, developer of the popular tour management software Master Tour, has launched a venue-specific version of the program to help streamline production logistics and show advancement from load-in to guest lists to settlement on tours of all type and size.
“It’s always been a vision of ours to make a system for the venues,” says Eventric CEO Paul Bradley, who jokes that the company is a “startup that took 10 years to start up.”
“We’re focusing first on standardizing the venue tech pack, so that every tour advancing can look at the same tech pack format for any venue that they’re playing at, which alone saves hours and hours and hours a week,” he said.
Eventric’s flagship product, Master Tour 3, has a community of more than 65,000 monthly active users, according to company officials, with early adopters including artists like Dave Matthews Band and Foo Fighters.
“The advance process in our industry is pretty primitive, pretty archaic,” Bradley said of Master Tour’s core purpose, organizing and managing complex show details while on the road. “You’re still emailing an Excel sheet back and forth 15 times with adjustments and alterations that can go unnoticed or unapproved. And that’s where many of the big costs come to an event because, day of show, you’re missing a significant part of the backline that wasn’t advanced or the wrong power requirement, and you’re spending thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars, to rectify that.”
With COVID restrictions seemingly a thing of the past, 2022 was by far Eventric’s biggest year, Bradley said, with business up 50% over a busy touring 2019.
The momentum continues with the Master Tour For Venues launch, which Bradley says makes sense now that Master Tour has widespread adoption among tour managers.
However, continuing into 2023, there remains uncertainty about macroeconomic conditions, supply chain issues and staffing shortages. Bradley offered his take on the current state of concert touring, and provides more information on Master Tour For Venues, which officially launched Jan. 19 at the Live Production Summit in Palm Springs, California.
VenuesNow: A lot has changed since the 2019 release of Master Tour 3. We went from no tours to seemingly everyone on tour.
Paul Bradley: About a year ago exactly, there was so much data getting funneled into the system for 2022. That’s when we saw the rebound truly starting to happen and we had confidence that it was more than just the date. It was the logistics, it was the planning, the tickets for airplanes and renting the tour buses and hotel rooms. All that stuff was actually being engaged, where most of that had been on hold until they got closer to the date for fear of it being canceled.
Last year wasn’t about making as much profit as possible, it was about readjusting the core of the business. I think it wasn’t until a month ago that everyone probably caught their breath and started looking at 2023.
The question for months now has been can this rebound be sustained? When is it going to level out? We haven’t seen that kind of leveling in our system yet. Everything now in Master Tour is looking like it’s going to be as busy or busier than 2022. There’s huge, stadium-level “world tours” going out. That’s a challenge, being a big stadium-level global tour for the first time in a couple years and figuring out the logistical structure to it.
Now that we’re in 2023, what I can unfortunately predict is the tours that are going out are going to do it with less people, and those people are going to do more of the work. And they’re not going to get paid for the extra roles they’re taking on, and that’s going to trickle down to other elements of the show. All those kinds of backstage elements affect everything, not just the profitability of the night or the P&L but it affects everything and translates to the fans.
What can you share about Master Tour For Venues? A lot of tours are already using the platform.
The first thing that we’re doing is offering a free standardized, formattable tech pack for the venues to use. We already have most of their data, because the information has either been crowdsourced by our users or updated by the venues themselves. So this is going to allow the venue to claim ownership. The vision to imagine a production manager advancing 12 different venues of different capacities. We want their experience to have the exact format of a tech pack for each venue.
We want people to be able to say, “Hey, I need a venue between 2,000 and 5,000 capacity with the stage size of 30 by 50 that has X amount of shore power that has X amount to etcetera.” That data is going to be accessible and searchable pretty shortly.
The first part is going to be free for venues. All we’re saying is update your information here and it’s going to be formatted in a beautiful, accessible tech pack that’s accessible by the tours you’re advancing with.
It’s not going to be expensive and it should save a lot of time and redundancies, and allow your team to do more important things than retype something in for the 12th time. One production manager we know very well in Chicago manages three venues. He can’t be everywhere at once, he’s putting on 18 shows a week sometimes. So it’s the idea of that person having one portal to do everything, and we’re very excited to offer that.
We’re not competing with any other venue systems. The performing arts centers and the stadiums and arenas certainly have great software used for budgeting, forecasting for contract management, scheduling — certainly for all in the front-of-stage stuff, the consumer-facing and marketing. We’re not getting into that space. We’re staying into our side of the business, which is backstage / operational.
The other thing we’re going to announce later this year is Master Tour for Crew. We’ve had over 200,000 people in our system so one thing I always wanted to realize once we had this critical mass is bringing other services to this group, which is very underserved, from healthcare, payroll services and job placement. So in the later part of this year we’re going to be close to announcing Master Tour For Crew, which is going to be kind of a career builder.