Fifteen years ago the Metropolitan Opera created customized platform Tessitura, an electronic database that tracked donations, ticketing, and contacts to better engage with patrons. In 2000, it offered up the licensing at a steep price, but nothing like it was available for individual artists or small community arts organizations—until now.
Nonprofit organization Fractured Atlas, which provides support services to independent artists, recognized the gap and delivered a solution with the official Oct. 21 launch of its Web app, Artful.ly. Artful.ly aims to amalgamate artists’ often scattered patron information into one accessible, visible, easy-to-use database. “It’s really about managing fans, serving fans, and building the relationship that an artist or an arts organization has with their fans,” said Artful.ly Program Director Selena Juneau-Vogel.
Artful.ly also serves as an electronic ticketing and donation platform. Users can apply the software to generate a unique URL for an event, embed a widget onto their own website, and sell through a live box office. This proves invaluable to producers, as all of the information a buyer or donor provides automatically backs up into their Artful.ly database. As solo theatrical artist Seth Lepore said, “It’s a way of keeping track of all of your people without anything in the way.”
“It’s a hugely powerful tool because we can see all the different ways these [consumers], their interests, and their activities intersect and who they are as whole people,” said Juneau-Vogel. This, in turn, allows organizations to better target fans based on past behavior and interests.
“This is a game changer for us,” said Brad Carlin, managing director of the Fusebox Festival in Austin, Texas. “In a festival where we only have 12 days to capture someone’s attention, we have to be able to respond very quickly to what people are interested in. We’re able to learn about our audience’s behavior and taste, what kind of projects in the festival they like, and help tailor our communications to them so that we can encourage them to see other things.”
As a bonus to this one-stop shop for easy communication, the software also allows users to create custom tags and mark consumers. Lepore believes that this is part of what makes Artful.ly conducive to small-scale artist-entrepreneurs.
“We’re democratizing this technology,” said Juneau-Vogel. As with all of the programming offered by Fractured Atlas, Artful.ly operates to level the playing field in the business of the arts. “We’re trying to take the good business practices those large institutions have been using for decades and bring it to the little guy.”