At Reeperbahn Music Festival, Beacons Serve as Digital DJs

The Logbook tool in the festival's mobile app leverages beacons to create playlists for attendees of the music industry event, which features hundreds of musicians.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

Le Bodic explains that Greencopper updated the Logbook so that when a user entered a venue, his or her phone would receive a ping from the beacons. Based on this signal, Logbook would keep a record of the venue's name, as well as the date and time, and would continue logging this data for the entire duration of that person's attendance at that venue. As it logged this data, the app would generate a list of the bands playing in that venue during the attendee's visit. Then, through integration with Spotify, the guest could later access a playlist containing the two most popular tracks of each band that he or she heard while moving through the showcase events.

It may seem odd that attendees would have trouble recalling which bands they've seen, says Ramona Kappmeyer, Reeperbahn Festival's head of communications, but "bookers might attend each band for 10 minutes." With Logbook automatically generating a playlist, she says, individuals could move from one venue to the next very quickly without worrying about stopping to take notes or jot down the names of the bands as they see them.

Based on statistics that Greencopper shared, the beacon-based feature seemed to be well received. During the 2015 event, 62 percent of all festival attendees used the Reeperbahn app, up from 54 percent in 2014. What's more, guests listened to 30.7 tracks through the Spotify integration last year—about twice as many tracks as they listened to in 2014.

But deploying the technology had its hurdles, Le Bodic says, which he attributes to concerns that Germans tend to have about preserving personal privacy. "We had some cases where venue owners did not want us to install beacons, just based on their concerns [regarding the privacy of attendees]," he states. "In some instances, it took us more time to explain to them how it would work, and to convince them that we were not collecting data on attendees, than it took to actually install the beacons."

Le Bodic and Kappmeyer say they also had to keep reminding users, through the Logbook app and via messaging at the festival, to turn on their phones' Bluetooth radios, to enable the playlist function to work. "In Germany, in general, it's not that common to have [your phone's] BLE radio switched on all the time," Kappmeyer explains.

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