The concert ticketing industry is finally entering the 21st century. Welcome

Tickets for Dead & Company’s January 2022 destination concert, Playing In The Sand, were purchased within minutes by alumni of the third annual multi-day all-inclusive event that brings together some 6,000 superfans in Riveria Cancun, Mexico. .

“For Dead & Company, the live show is the experience. We don’t really sell records; it all depends on the presence of the fans and their experience, ”says group manager Kris Tanner, senior art director and head of ticketing, commerce and sustainability at Activist Management. With pent-up demand since Covid shelved last year’s event, she said, the ticket frenzy was at an all time high.

In the typical scenario, fans who aren’t quick enough on the keyboard have two options: forgo seeing a beloved artist in concert, or paying a hefty price to snag tickets in the aftermarket.

But the ticketing sector, linked for decades to a rigid formula that generally does not benefit artists or fans, is finally entering the 21st century. Thanks to Playing in the Sand’s producer CID Presents’ relationship with tech company Tixr, there was a third storyline this time around. And three times, it seems, it’s a charm.

Among its offerings, Tixr has waitlist technology that allows those who have been excluded from a live event to commit with a credit card to purchase a ticket if an additional show is added to the program. . Thanks to this feature, CID was able to offer a second weekend next January, which also sold out almost immediately.

“I would say with 99% certainty that this event is the biggest single-earning artist event in history,” said Robert Davari, co-founder and CEO of Tixr, of the upcoming dual program. “This is unheard of.”

The comparison is not exactly apples to apples. With four days of entertainment and resort amenities, the price of Playing In The Sand is thousands higher than the average single show. But that’s not the point. Tixr, founded in 2012 by Davari and Patrick Stavro, allows artists and event producers to level up and fans to reap the benefits.

“The ticketing companies that have been the gateway to these experiences are archaic. Systems collapse, secondary markets explode. There is a fundamental lack of optimization and efficiency, ”says Davari. “In the early 2000s, there were a lot of new entrants like TicketFly and Event Brite. But a decade later, there are very few entrants in primary markets and a lot has changed: migration to mobile phones, higher internet speeds, social media being the main driver of awareness, pricing. dynamic. “

Tanner says the Tixr technology, developed four years ago, has given the group the confidence to score an extra weekend. “We knew we would probably be able to sell a new weekend, which means we are able to open the event to new fans,” she says. “If we didn’t have this data, we would really only be selling to alumni year after year. “

Other musicians and the management take note. The business of Tixr, which is privately held and currently has a small number of angel investors, has tripled in the past year, according to Davari.

“We’re not just tickets. We are a business engine for live entertainment as a whole, ”Davari says. “We sell merchandise, travel packages, NFTs. Ticket office is the hardest thing to build, but in and around ticketing, we’ve built an ecosystem where live event producers can scale and monetize their product. This is the direction we are going. “

Jonathan Fordin, partner at CID Presents, is a fan. “There is no doubt that they are one step ahead of everyone else in that they run it as a technology platform, as an application that they are constantly investing money in and improving on,” he said.

Including shows from Dead & Company, CID will produce seven signature music events in Mexico next year: Crash My Playa by Luke Bryan, Moon Palace with Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, and The Big Splash by Hootie and Blowfish among them. The company, a division of Endeavor’s live events business, uses Tixr for all of its destination concerts.

Fordin says Tixr’s ability to recognize inventory shared across multiple ticket types is “by far” the biggest change for CID to date. There were over 350 types of tickets for Playing in the Sand, from room type to length of stay to additional excursions and more. These specific iterations were then grouped into 60 pieces of inventory, allowing fluidity in the sales area.

“Their system allows us to assign multiple types of tickets to a single item of inventory rather than having to manually enter the system and move them,” he says. “When that very specific piece of inventory goes missing, the system immediately switches to a package that’s nearby and then sells it. It’s a big deal.

“Healthy competition”

Tixr isn’t the only ticketing disruptor in town, and traditional companies like Ticketmaster and AXS are starting to step up their game.

“I think others are adjusting, no doubt, and that’s going to create healthy competition,” Fordin said. “Tixr is not a cheap platform. We pay a lot of money to Tixr because of their systems and their platform. As soon as there are other products and series on the market, the price will drop. It is the standard economy, supply versus demand. Right now there is a high demand for their product because no one is doing it or is doing it right. “

The technical booking platform Lyte recently partnered with the Newport Folk Festival to power a personalized booking and returns platform, the Folk Exchange, which allowed the festival to release a limited series of additional tickets from orders. scalpers canceled. Lyte has partnered with other festivals, including Life Is Beautiful, Pitchfork Music Festival and Riot Fest, to reduce scalping and aftermarket sales.

UK-based ticketing agency Dice opened a US headquarters in New York in May and this spring launched a direct-to-fan sales service through which fans can order limited-edition merchandise through the Dice app. , receive updates before the live and broadcast live. concerts. The company counts A $ AP Rocky, Kylie Minogue, Nick Cave and the Primavera Sound Festival among its clients

“There will be some consolidation between ticketing platforms as more are swallowed up. I imagine Ticketmaster and AXS and the big guys will really rely on the waitlist system, ”Fordin said.

Davari doesn’t seem too worried. Cite companies like Uber as inspiration

, AirBnB and Tesla

, he says, new niche competitors are only part of what Tixr does: “We are a macro system; these things they offer are features of our system ”—and old businesses are hampered by narrow thinking.

“Ticketmaster is an old-fashioned story, much like a lot of car manufacturers. They’re using old systems to do things that over time will be killed; it’s just part of the natural evolution of things that something new has to come out, ”he says.

And after

In the meantime, the Tixr pipeline is bursting. The company is testing a reserved seating product that would open the door to the sports market as well as seated concert halls. He’s also working on technology that would integrate customer payment plans through the waitlist – a feature according to CID’s Fordin that can’t arrive early enough for important events.

“It’s okay for a few hundred dollars, but for a $ 4,000, $ 6,000, $ 10,000 bill, that’s another story,” says Fordin. “But someone who has to pay that much all at once potentially seven to eight months before the show could really benefit. It would be a much more affordable way to spend $ 10,000 with 10% down and six months of payments. equal, without interest. “

The Tixr Play virtual channel, a hybrid live event and live broadcast product, is also in the works. “We always planned to do video, we just sped it up because of Covid,” Davari said. He describes it as a “full stack video monetization product” that currently has Apple TV and Roku apps. Tixr has already helped performers elevate their live streaming business, as it did for Florida Georgia Line when it aired a show at over 300 Encore Drive-In Nights in June.

Tixr is also accelerating its global expansion. Currently, 95% of its business is done with companies based in the United States, Davari says, but Tixr is rapidly increasing its international sales, particularly in the live streaming market, and is “currently planting roots in 12 countries.” .

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