Want to know where money will come from, when everything is free? Well, one area is real time events.  Synchronous (happening now, not delayed) means you are either there or you miss out. No place shifting, time shifting, format shifting. So events become important. Sort of the opposite of a few years ago when concerts were free/cheap marketing drives to sell albums. Now albums sell concert tickets. Heh.

Don’t believe me? Go price good tickets to see Sting in Concert. I said good tickets, not ones in the back of the stadium, in the next suburb, staring at a dot in the distance. Then check out how much the whole of The Police/Sting album set are online. Less than $100 bucks?

If you don’t want to pay, sure, you can get the information for free, digitally. But it’s the real time social nature that speaks to us, calls us to live events.

Advertisers are learning more about using live events for product placement. Been to the theatre lately? Or maybe this is only in Edinburgh:

Pot Noodle the Musical at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

It is financed by Unilever and written by the copywriters from Pot Noodle’s advertising agency: is this comedy or something sinister?

Product placement posing as product self-parody? An adman’s folly? Well, laughs can make you forgive a lot, but Pot Noodle The Musical (at the Assembly Rooms) is a rehydrated facsimile of Fringe fun.

It is not the cast’s fault, most of whom know how to play this mix of Hamlet, children’s TV and musical theatre.

The director, David Sant, uses his clowning background to pile on the bits of business, but the songs are so-so and the script is a phoney – facetious rather than comical, because it has no agenda.

To avoid it looking like an advertisement, the noodle content is low, but what takes its place is just random goofing around. What next? Cornetto The Opera? (

The link to the musical’s website is potnoodlethemusical.com.

pot-noodle

Pot Noodle

In social networks, we often run events – real time chat with stars of the social network, Second Life concerts, even online poker tournaments that you pay an entry fee to join. Limited places!  limited sign up time! be quick or miss the boat!  If you run a social network, don’t discount ‘manufactured’ scarcity and short shelf life as a revenue stream. It can earn you surprisingly good revenue.

Makes me wonder why Apple is pulling out of MacWorld.

Tuesday’s news that Apple had announced that Steve Jobs wouldn’t be appearing at Macworld Expo and that the company would stop exhibiting at the show after 2009 came as a shock. I’m stunned that Apple has taken a 25-year-old event that has been the single best meeting place for the entire community of users and vendors of Apple-related products and treated it like a piece of garbage stuck to the bottom of its shoe. But I’m not really surprised: Apple has been leading up to this moment for a long time now.

Lot’s more here, at MacWorld magazine.  I think Apple misunderstands MacWorld. It’s not just the attendees – it’s the fact that they blog, and tweet and push a massive wave of information out. Apple’s attitude of “we have so many stores now, we don’t need Expos” just ain’t gonna cut it.

As for all the Trade Shows are Dead discussions (Google that term). Nah, not by a long shot. But they will change substantially – less broadcasty and foot traffic and more community focussed. Just ask the travel agents: as corporates pull out of travel, social networks form tour groups for their favourite events.

Which brings  me back to my point. Events in Social Networks are the future.