Appealing to a New Demographic, Secretly

KITANDACE.COM March 31’s secret concert was put on by music app Wego Concerts in an effort to appeal to younger listeners. Bands included electro-pop band Shaed.

KITANDACE.COM
March 31’s secret concert was put on by music app Wego Concerts in an effort to appeal to younger listeners. Bands included electro-pop band Shaed.

With the assistance of the Georgetown Program Board, Wego Concerts — an app that connects music lovers to concerts and to each other — hosted a secret concert at the Healey Family Student Center the evening of March 31. It was attended by around 100 students.

Wego currently has approximately 5,000 users, a majority of whom lives in D.C. or New York. In an effort to broaden its base and widen its appeal, specifically among its target audience of young people, Wego Concerts has recently been targeting college-aged students.

Wego Concerts founder Fitz Holladay experienced firsthand how difficult adjusting to life in a new city can be when he moved from New York to D.C. five years ago. Initially pursuing a career in finance, the lifelong music lover found himself for the first time without a solid network of friends with whom to attend concerts, forcing Holladay to attend concerts in D.C. alone.

“I would meet all kinds of people who were going alone to shows or had to drag friends with them, so there was this demand out there for people wanting to connect with other people who liked the same music as them,” Holladay said in an interview with The Hoya.

Rather than wallow and accept this as inevitable, Holladay decided to address it head-on lest he and others perpetually show up to concerts alone.

As a project of passion, he began working on an app that would connect people to concerts and concertgoers. He soon quit his job in finance, and in November 2014, launched Wego Concerts. The point of the app, according to Holladay, is to connect people to other people through a common denominator: music. While other apps suggest potential concerts to their users based on interests, Holladay believes Wego is more dynamic.

“There are a lot of concert-discovery apps out there. What [Wego] does is it goes the extra step to help you connect with the people who are going to concerts,” Holladay said.

KITANDACE.COM Shaed, an electro-pop group formed in 2011 by twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst and Chelsea Lea, played a set at the secret concert.

KITANDACE.COM
Shaed, an electro-pop group formed in 2011 by twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst and Chelsea Lea, played a set at the secret concert.

Holladay noted that the app’s primary target is the younger, urban demographic since young college graduates often find themselves in a new environment and out of touch with their new city’s music culture. Wego Concert’s mission is to fill a void in the lives of young people who have difficulty building a network of concertgoers when they first move to a new town, similar to what Holladay experienced five years ago.

The lineup of the concert, which was kept secret until an hour before showtime, consisted of three acts; student band Faces for Radio opened the show, setting the stage for local rapper Lyrx’s performance, followed by a performance from the headlining band, Shaed.

Shaed is an electro-pop band from D.C. Brothers Max and Spencer Ernst provide the instrumental flavor to the band and are supported by the enthralling vocals of lead singer Chelsea Lee. Shaed expressed its excitement to perform on Georgetown’s campus to promote its music and perform in front of a new audience. The band also found value in the concert’s secretive component in a smaller venue.

“We’ve done some secret shows in the past and we really enjoy them. Secret shows are much more focused, it’s a much more intimate experience. It’s a different type of energy [than that of larger shows]. Everyone’s got their phone down and they’re just listening to you,” Holladay said.

However, Faces for Radio guitarist Ethan Beaman (COL ’16) said he would have preferred a concert that was advertised earlier.

“I enjoyed playing at the event but the secret idea felt a little exclusive, which isn’t the attitude I like to convey with music. Still, it was fun to get people to disobey the stay-seated rule,” Beaman said.

Ciara Hockey (COL ’19), who attended the concert, said she is excited for future events put on by Wego.

“It was a great way to get more people excited about the music scene at Georgetown. Hopefully, they continue to put on shows and have more events to encourage students to get more involved in the arts here,” Hockey said.

 

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