How Do You Tour an Online Sensation?

I run Kilimanjaro, a live events promotions company. Our core business is music and we’ve worked with many major artists including Simply Red, Ed Sheeran and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Over the last few years we have expanded into other entertainment and events areas including theatre, comedy, spoken word and sports. This diversity has been an important part of adapting to a changing landscape. A crucial part of what we do is seeking out the freshest new talent, artists and performers who may be at the start of their career who we believe we can nurture and grow. But in a world where a teenager can become an Internet sensation from the comfort of their bedroom it’s no longer enough to just focus on the traditional routes. That’s why we have been also looking to the online world to seek out our stars of the future.

The power of the Internet, and most notably YouTube has already been felt in a huge way in terms of beauty and fashion vloggers, the most famous of which Zoella has seven million subscribers to her YouTube channel. This almost happened by stealth but of course now big brands have seen the value of people like Zoella and they are monetising what was previously a hobby. What we have found is that although these phenomenons start out online there is an audience appetite to see them in the flesh. And that’s where we can help. If you look at the amount of followers these people have it really is staggering, particularly in a world where there is so much entertainment choice. Of course, their content is often free but it’s going to be fascinating in the coming years to see what kinds of pay models will emerge. My guess is we will be looking at a mixed economy of free and pay. What’s interesting also is that the YouTube stars are also turning to traditional mediums – as per our gigs and live events but many of them have also written books. So we have come full circle in a way.

A few specifics; Miranda Sings is a classically trained singer who started to post spoof videos of a singer who was far from good. This comedy performance went viral and she now has 4.3million subscribers to her channel. We have taken her out on tours, which have all been sold out. Tyler Oakley is a lifestyle vlogger who has seven million subscribers and we worked with him to create a live show, building a stage set to mirror his bedroom, the place it all started. Again, a sold out national tour for Tyler. Then there’s an upcoming event with Rachel Brathen who has 1.5million followers on her Yoga_Girl Instagram page. This will be a 90 minute Yoga Class for 300 attendees followed by QA and book signing at a venue in London. On the music side of things we worked with Emma Blackery and put her on tour with established artist Charlie Simpson, giving her the chance to learn her live craft and for Charlie to tap into Emma’s existing million online followers. With Bethan Leadley we offered a full touring service as she hadn’t toured before and had her support established acts like Lucy Spragan.

So it’s an exciting and invigorating time for live events. This isn’t about a “year zero” approach, ignoring all the other ways talent can be spotted, but my belief is it has to be a big part of the equation – and can only get bigger.

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