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Bring Your Favorite Artists to Ghana with TOORLY, The World’s First Fan-Driven Global Touring Platform

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Despite having a young and burgeoning population attuned to global music trends, Sub-Saharan Africa remains largely off the radar for international artist tours. In a comprehensive study that analyzed over 300 tours of artists touring outside their home market in 2023, Sub-Saharan Africa emerged as the least-toured, with only 1.7% including a tour stop in the region. And apart from American legacy acts Backstreet Boys, Imagine Dragons, and Kip Moore, no other acts included African stops in their “World Tour” in 2023. The situation is so dire that African fans have repeatedly stated on social media that they “don’t even bother checking international tour announcement flyers”, knowing fully well that their country won’t be there.

Being left off international tour routings, African fans have to rely on major festivals such as Global Citizen Festival, Rocking The Daisies, or the recently launched Hey Neighbour festival to catch their favorite international acts. Fans of K-pop, the music phenomenon that has taken the world by storm over the past few years, are particularly frustrated as no K-pop artists have included Sub-Saharan Africa in their tours, despite the genre making significant waves in the region. And even homegrown global superstars like Tems, Uncle Waffles and Asake are yet to announce dates on the continent for their current tours. 

This scarcity is primarily due to artist teams and promoters relying on streaming numbers to identify tour stops. While streaming can be a decent indicator, it is limited in capturing hard-ticket demand accurately, leading to the neglect of emerging markets like Africa.

Recognizing these limitations, Jenny Tan founded TOORLY, the world’s first fan-driven global touring platform. Having spent over a decade in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, Tan notes, “There are so many fans that don’t get to see their favorite artists live. Not because there isn’t enough local demand, but because many countries, and sometimes entire regions, don’t show up on streaming maps. As much as that’s disappointing for fans, artists are also missing out on huge opportunities.”

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With nearly two decades of experience in the music industry as an artist manager, promoter, talent buyer, booking agent, and festival producer, Tan seeks to pioneer a shift towards a more fan-centric and geographically inclusive live music space. “The way tours are planned isn’t making much sense. Why are artists and promoters guessing ticket demand by looking at streaming numbers instead of getting feedback directly from fans? Everyone knows that streaming doesn’t equal ticket sales, so we need a new metric for tour planning and that’s “fan demand”.” On TOORLY, fans follow artists they want to see live and can team up with other fans to request them to their city. Resulting analytics provide artist teams with a real-time global heatmap for hard-ticket demand, and promoters with invaluable insights on which artists local fans want to see. 

Having moved from its invite-only beta to an open platform in June, the global music industry is already catching on. Recognizing the immense opportunity untapped markets hold for touring, Warner Music’s Emerging Markets division is collaborating with TOORLY to generate fan demand data for their label artists, home to global superstars like Dua Lipa, Megan Thee Stallion and Benson Boone, in view towards exploring new touring destinations. “There is a strong interest in emerging market touring, but until now it’s not been possible to reliably quantify fan demand for shows, and that’s the gap we’re aiming to fill”, Tan states. While TOORLY is a global platform, fans in emerging markets will undoubtedly be among those to benefit the most from a fan-driven approach to touring. “We’re excited to work with forward-thinking artists, labels and agents to unearth entirely new touring markets, and give fans in underserved countries the chance to finally be heard.” 

BOOSTING LOCAL AND REGIONAL TOURING

However, TOORLY’s focus isn’t limited to bringing artists with international fanbases to emerging markets. Supporting the development of local and regional touring industries in markets with little streaming data is another key objective. 

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“Without access to relevant data, artists end up touring only in major cities, missing out on the remaining cities that could easily make out 80-90% of the market. In South Africa and Nigeria, for instance, most artists tour at best in the three commercial hubs, while there are over 15 other potential tour stops in each country.”, Tan confirms. “In such an environment, both fans and artists benefit tremendously from TOORLY’s fan-driven approach to identify booking opportunities.” 

FOCUS MARKET SOUTH AFRICA 

While TOORLY is open to fans, artists and promoters around the world, the Hong Kong-based startup has selected South Africa as its first focus country for local activations. “With amazing local talent, incredibly engaged fans, and so much untapped touring potential for local and international acts, South Africa is an ideal market to show the enormous impact fan demand data can have on local music scenes.” TOORLY will be supporting artists with high tour potential and rabid fanbases by leveraging fan feedback for developing their live music business – domestically, across the continent and globally. 

Internationally recognized South African rapper Nasty C is pioneering the platform’s fan-driven features for identifying additional tour stops for his upcoming tour. By giving fans the chance to request him to cities in Africa and around the world, he’ll be the first artist to leverage TOORLY’s fan demand analytics to expand into new markets. 

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MAKING TOURING FAN-DRIVEN

As much as the platform is solving issues for the live music industry, TOORLY’s mission is first and foremost about giving fans a voice. “We recognize that fans are incredibly powerful, and giving them a platform so they can team up with others and take initiative to make shows happen is the big vision.”

With TOORLY now moving from its invite-only Private Beta to an open platform, live music fans around the world can follow their favorite local and international artists and launch Requests for them in their city. Through these Requests, fans can prove local demand, thereby helping artists and promoters plan shows with more certainty. 

Alongside its core functionality, TOORLY also features a Global Top 50 Chart of artists that fans want to see live the most. “As fans worldwide follow artists they want to see, artists will not only understand the huge disconnect between streaming and ticket demand, but finally have insights on their ideal tour routing,” Tan affirmed. “And chances are, it will surprise artist teams how many new tour stops are out there that they hadn’t even considered.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Penelope Ashioya

    July 9, 2024 at 2:26 pm

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