case study

How Going Virtual Increased Tibet House US Benefit Concert Attendance by 300%

What their success says about the hybrid future of festivals & special events

"To Remain Indifferent to The Challenges We Face is Indefensible”.

About Tibet House

Few events stand the test of time, and for more than three decades, the annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert stands alone. For over 34 years, this consistently sold-out concert has assembled some of the most legendary and exciting names in music and art at the iconic Carnegie Hall—dazzling concertgoers with its unique mix of surprises and mesmerizing performances. 

When the curtain fell at last year’s 33rd concert, Tibet House US, which promotes and preserves Tibet's unique cultural and spiritual heritage through various innovative educational and cultural programs, set its sights on planning future fundraising events that would support the organization’s incredible mission. But, a global pandemic had other plans.

With a scaled-down team and New York under tight protocols, it appeared as if the 34th annual concert would be placed in jeopardy as well. Tibet House US team initially turned to Mandolin to keep the doors open, but in the process found opportunities to innovate, provided unique VIP experiences to attendees, and discovered revenue streams to thrive well beyond the pandemic.

"If A Problem Can Be Solved, It Will Be".

The challenge for Tibet House US was not merely knowing how to go virtual, but also how to capture the uniquely collaborative and communal feeling the benefit is known for in a virtual concert. In addition to making the general admission experience unique, to effectively fundraise, Tibet House US relies heavily on its loyal and consistent supporters and special experiences for VIP donors. So they needed a livestream partner that could seamlessly create the special environment in the virtual experience. Without them, the night just wouldn’t be the same.

Mandolin’s Artist & Experiential Services team provided Tibet House access to a full-service creative strategy and production partner—who worked closely with them to conceive and execute an unforgettable evening.

Together, the Mandolin and the Tibet House US team mapped out a plan that would imbue the nuances of Tibetan culture, as well influence the concert’s execution to include livestream programming for years to come.

Tibet House US worked with Mandolin to create:

  1. End-to-end video production and customer support, including crafting a Run Of Show and assigning dedicated show runners, video editing, video graphic and sponsor entitlement creation
  2. Full-service creative direction, including branding, admats and copy
  3. A turnkey marketing strategy that would effectively reach its very first global audience and grow attendance year-over-year through event hybridization
  4. Unique ticket & VIP packages that improved fan experience
  5. A comprehensive pre and mid-show merchandise strategy, including the conception, production and fulfillment of thematically enticing, yet culturally-sensitive merch
  6. A plan to rebroadcast the evening to fuel Sponsorship and Donor growth well beyond the event itself

"Our Prime Purpose In This Life Is To Help Others”.

When it was all said and done, Mandolin helped Tibet House US produce a livestream that featured performances by Philip Glass, Eddie Vedder, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Annie Lennox, Flaming Lips, Phoebe Bridgers, Brittany Howard, Valerie June, Angélique Kidjo, The Black Pumas, Laurie Anderson, Chocolate Genius Inc., Tessa Thompson, Tenzin Choegyal, Jesse Paris Smith, Rubin Kodheli, Saori Tsukada, and even included a personal video message from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

Long-time attendees hailed the event as one of the most intimate to date while new fans praised the evening's diversity. Overall, the decision to go virtual resulted in a +300% increase in event attendance YoY while allowing the organization to decrease production cost by almost 70%

Mandolin's unique merchandising strategy also allowed fans new and old to support the Tibet House US through the purchase of thematic cultural pieces, including show-exclusive merch, prayer beads, blessing scarfs and in-stream name acknowledgment. These bundles produced an average profit margin of 63%, and, thanks to the inclusion of annual memberships within merch bundles, grew their annual membership by +10%.

As His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama reminds us, there is always a way to honor what's always been while making way for something new. The Tibet House US team viewed their entry into a virtual benefit concert space as a big success and have already engaged with Mandolin on how best to execute a livestream strategy for next year’s in-person benefit at Carnegie Hall. 

Tibet House Success Reveals Future of Festivals

Through their adaptive efforts in 2021, Tibet House US didn’t just walk away with one successful celebration under their belt, they now move forward with an entirely new festival toolkit. Here’s what the 2021 Tibet House US Benefit Concert tells us about the future of music and arts festivals:

  1. Adding a virtual layer to any festival creates a more inclusive event—welcoming attendees previously barred by capacity limits or geographic location
  2. While equipping a venue for livestream & virtual experiences may seem daunting, with the right partners, it’s often easier and cheaper than previously imagined
  3. Offering fans the ability to pay for virtual access to a festival serves as an effective marketing tool to attract new audiences, grow memberships, and to draw larger crowds in person next year
  4. Offering digital VIP & Merch bundles allows both in-person and fully virtual audiences to uplevel their experience in new and unique ways

    Tibet House US is not alone in this discovery either—their success reflects a larger trend emerging among live music fans. In fact, recent fan research shows that 82% of fans would spend extra on perks in addition to the ticket price, and of those fans, 70% would spend more than $25.

As in-person shows return, going hybrid means there’s no limit to the number of fans who festivals, venues, and artists can welcome in for unique experiences just like this one. In fact, as the smoke clears and we leave the pandemic behind, the future of live music is just beginning to reveal itself.

Take your in-person festival to the next level

If you’re ready to amplify your next in-person festival or concert with virtual fan experiences, hit us up! Get in touch via the form below to reimagine your next concert with Live+. A member of our Industry Relations team will be more than happy to share best practices and build an experience that works for you.


“For the first time ever, this year’s concert offered viewers around the world the unique opportunity to experience the warmth, sense of community, and amazing music the evening has provided for so many years at [New York’s] Carnegie Hall.”

Kyra Borre, Director of Programs & Special Events, Tibet House

Highlights

300% increase in event attendance YoY
130% ROI from event
Decreased Production Cost by 70%