November 3, 2010 at 10:23 am

Brilliant: UK Venue’s App Lets Regulars Skip the Line

Smartphone apps dedicated to a specific band are often hailed as the next natural way for fans to express commitment — they’re like a tattoo for the smartphone that delivers just about any combination of media and band can charge anywhere from zero to $99.

From the “Why isn’t this happening everywhere?” file comes news that the famous London dance club and label Ministry of Sound released its own app on Tuesday that, among other things, lets those who buy tickets through it flash their phones and “jump to the front of the queue,” as our English friends would have it.

Non-smartphone owners will surely scoff once again at the privileged lives of those of us who own smartphones, as they witness us flash our expensive devices and skip past the velvet rope.

After all, isn’t it enough that we can ride our bikes anywhere in the city without worrying about getting lost, thanks to our phones’ GPS apps? Do we get to skip to the front of the line, too?

What’s next, free beer and chicken?

Screenshot courtesy of iTunes

Smartphone-owning ticket buyers will get to skip to the front of the line, at Ministry of Sound anyway, but other venues are likely to follow.

Why? Because when you have Ministry of Sound’s app installed, you become far more likely to go to the club.

Its app includes a streaming audio feature for iPhone, iPod Touch, and now the high-res iPad too, including exclusive DJ sets streamed on-demand and Ministry of Sound’s favorite dance music radio stations from around the world, in addition to the chance to buy tickets, as noted by AppShopper (via MusicAlly). By analyzing which songs the people who buy the most tickets like the most, this London club can increase sales by merely shifting its streaming playlists around and including music that’s more popular with its most frequent attendees.

Then there are the so-called “upsell” opportunities: Hear a DJ you like on their streaming radio stations? Buy a ticket now — and skip to the front of the line, for good measure.

After all, you’re informed. You deserve it.

Music apps that connect with live music should be a hit, by conventional wisdom, because the live music or club experience cannot be downloaded for free. Still, music industry behemoth Live Nation (which now includes Ticketmaster) saw its sales drop 22 percent earlier this year, after which it extended its $50 universal “passport” to allow holders entry to its Live Nation’s stadium and amphitheater shows across the country to include smaller venues such as the Fillmore in San Francisco.

Clearly, Live Nation (now merged with Ticketmaster) has some empty seats to fill, despite all this talk of live music thriving because it’s impervious to illegal downloading. Maybe the concert behemoth (as well as local music venues) need to start thinking more like Ministry of Sound. The idea has lots of potential — for instance, you could check in to the venue on Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter etc. this time, in order to skip the line next time.

Update 2:26pm ET 11/3/10: It appears Ministry of Sound’s lawsuits against file sharers are have encountered rockier terrain.

Top photo courtesy of Ministry of Sound