Major Scottish Brewer Inaugurates World's First User-Generated Music Festivals

Tennents' New Business Model for Live Music Offers Some Answers to Industry Woes

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The Tennents Mutual site is a music destination as well as a hub for the user-generated non-profit.

Leading Scottish brewer Tennents has created a new music fund and online destination that allows fans to select artists, decide locations and call the shots on ticket prices for sponsored gigs in Scotland this fall.

The beer co. has invested £150,000 (about $300,000) in the start-up, dubbed Tennents Mutual, and fans who sign up before June 30th will be given "founder" member status, giving them the right to vote on the "who, what, why, where" of all decisions in regards to how it's spent. Tennent's Mutual is a not-for-profit enterprise, and no booking fees will be charged for shows. Ticket income will be ploughed back into the central fund, creating a self-generating amount that will grow and be reinvested into creating more live events.

As the live music industry increasingly becomes where the dollars (and pounds, in this case) are coming from, this model puts more control into the hands of fans, a natural development, considering they've been taking and receiving increasing control in other areas of the music industry lately through file-sharing and fan-led pricing models (i.e. Radiohead's "In Rainbows," Nine Inch Nails's "Ghosts" albums and Saul Williams' "Niggy Tardust" album.) It also plays nicely in the current environment, where fans and government/industry bodies are pushing back against ever-increasing ticket prices, although it's not clear if this venture will be able to stop the tickets from landing in "secondary markets" for which there is an increasing backlash from fans and (in the UK) the government.

Tennents, brewers of Tennent's Lager, the best-selling of its class in Scotland, has had a long-standing association with live music, in particular through its high-profile summer festival T in the Park. In addition to other music gatherings, the company also sponsors the T Break program, a Battles of the Bands style contest where unsigned acts compete for the chance to play sponsored gigs and jump-start their careers with other promotions like CD samplers.
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