Concert ticketing 2.0?

Posted on June 10, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This past weekend Olivia and I did a lot of driving…which for us means a lot of Spotify. We sort of have 2 modes for selecting music: 1) Creative: we’ll assemble a unique playlist for the drive and queue up a bunch of music that hits a certain vibe, or 2) Old Faithful: we have between 8 and 15 artists or playlists that are regular defaults when we don’t have the energy to curate our music. As I rotely scrolled through my library of recent listens, selecting from the default set, I thought to myself: “I wonder what insane percentage of my Spotify consumption is Leon Bridges?” I have to believe I listen to him more than most Spotify users, and I realized that, only with the advent of streaming, this is actually a pretty valuable piece of information.

Concert ticketing, at least in the primary market (the first time a ticket is sold, as opposed to say Seatgeek or Stubhub), is still living in the stone age. Priority as to who gets early access to ticket sales is still rooted in ridiculous loyalty programs like “Amex presale.” In what way does being a gold or platnum card member have anything to do with whether I deserve to see my favorite artists? Artist level loyalty is still living in the age of email sign up forms to follow your favorite acts. Perhaps, if you are a registered fan, you get an email with an early invite code, but even those programs don’t seem particularly effective in getting the most loyal fans to the show.

But what if access to ticket sales was rooted in relative consumption of a given artists’ music across streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, or Tidal. For fans, there are now objective metrics to demonstrate how loyal and dedicated a fan you are relative to others. You might even listen to a given artists more than you would otherwise in the name of jumping the ticket line. For artists, not only would you have more fun at shows playing to a sea of your most die hard fans as opposed to, say, your richest fans, but also you would introduce an incremental revenue boost to your standard concert monetization. You see, in the primary market, monetizing a concert presents a fixed upside, irregardless of demand for the tickets or who buys them. Your addressable revenue is: number of seats times x price per seat time x number of shows. The value of excess demand is captured largely by the secondary market, which on the surface, you don’t participate in. So how do you further monetize the tour? Well, if people know that listening to more of your music on streaming services gives them a better shot at tickets, you now have an uncapped increase in payouts from said services as your music is consumed more and more.

I think there’s real alignment in a listening based loyalty and ticketing strategy, and would love to see an independent company be the analytics and data provider to primary ticketing platforms, or to see any of the primary ticketing platforms leverage APIs from the streaming services to enable this type of presale. The big concern with a system like this would be people/brokers etc trying to game it, as they have every other angle of the ticketing market. I like the idea that there is a cost to gaming the system rooted in streaming subscription fees, and also that detection of unnatural listening patterns (i.e. one artist streamed 24 hours per day, 7 days a week) is within the realm of existing technology capabilities. There’s something very simple about the contract between an artist and a fan that says “if you listen to more of my music, I will hook you up with tickets, and we both win.” and that is a contract that could not be written in the age of CDs or even downloadable music.

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3 Responses to “Concert ticketing 2.0?”

RSS Feed for Jordan Cooper's Blog: startups, venture capital, etc… Comments RSS Feed

Hey Jordan,
Great post. This is definitely an area that we can see advances in for a number of reasons.
Id like to introduce you to the team at at some point to discuss all this more. They are in NYC as well. Great guys and really good concept with an early working product.

Great concept. I’m sure major labels would love to develop this concept further. I especially think this could be huge for independent artists, whose fan base seem to ‘go the extra mile’ in supporting who they like.

Hi Jordan,
Great post and I definitely agree with the point that the secondary ticket market captures excess value from artists and venues and drives up prices for true fans. 

You definitely see the issue of ticket accessibility to fans being addressed in some form such as artist ‘fan clubs’ that usually have membership fees, where the artist is generating incremental revenue from loyal fans. In addition, Ticketmaster now reserves certain seats to be priced based on supply and demand (akin to dynamic pricing) to try to realize some of the value lost to re-sale tickets.

The marriage between streaming figures and priority access to tickets seems like a simple one, but doesn’t yet exist. It is a novel idea to benefit both fans and artists, while edging out those looking for arbitrage opportunities. Although there are a lot more considerations into building a product like this, the concept is a sound one.

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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