The e-commerce giant's UK ticketing business appears to be gearing up for a US launch as it bids to become "Earth’s most customer-centric ticketing company"
Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
Amazon UK has stepped back from its concert ticketing ambitions, telling clients it is to begin returning inventory ahead of a shutdown of Amazon Tickets
By Jon Chapple on 21 Feb 2018
Following an about-turn on its long-awaited North American launch, Amazon has ordered the closure of its UK event ticketing operation, Amazon Tickets, IQ has learnt.
In an email to clients, James Moore, Amazon Tickets’ category director for music, says the ecommerce giant has “taken the decision to close Amazon Tickets, and today [21 February] will commence the process of marking back to you any tickets currently on our website and of ceasing the sale of new tickets”.
The announcement marks the end of Amazon’s difficult foray into ticketing, which culminated in November with news it had delayed its launch in the US indefinitely after failing to secure a distribution deal with Live Nation’s Ticketmaster.
As IQ wrote at the time, in contrast to the UK, ‘the US ticketing market is a different beast, with big ticketers such as Ticketmaster, AXS and See Tickets eschewing the open-distribution model common in much of the rest of the world in favour of handing over huge amounts of cash upfront to venues to sell their tickets exclusively.
‘According to Amplify, that model proved Amazon’s undoing: a source close to the company says Amazon Tickets US’s business model, as in the UK, would have been about “doing deals with all the ticketing platforms to pull inventory and help content owners allocate tickets”. Ticketmaster – which enjoys a 80% marketshare in the US – reportedly declined to work with Amazon, offering it the only opportunity to sell discounted tickets to underperforming shows – a proposal rebuffed by Amazon, which wanted to be able to offer members of its Prime scheme deals on premium tickets.’
“We would like to thank you for your support of Amazon Tickets, and to reiterate our commitment to trying to minimise the impact of this decision”
Despite its difficulties in North America, Amazon Tickets in the UK was outwardly successful, partnering with AEG and launching its own concert series, Prime Live Events – although the unexpected departures of top execs Geraldine Wilson and Jason Carter hinted at difficulties within the company.
Along with Sky UK’s Sky Tickets and Alibaba’s Tao Piao Piao/Damai.cn, Amazon Tickets was one of several potentially disruptive ticketing ventures launched by major multinationals over the last two years. Following the quiet closure of Sky Tickets last September, only Alibaba’s challenger remains.
According to Moore, all Amazon Tickets clients will be contacted “shortly to discuss marking back your tickets”, but until then, all events will “remain available on Amazon Tickets.”
“We have already emailed all customers with outstanding tickets informing them of our decision to close the Amazon Tickets business and assuring them that any tickets already sold for events in 2018 and 2019 remain valid and will be fulfilled as normal,” he concludes.
“We would like to thank you for your support of Amazon Tickets, and to reiterate our commitment to trying to minimise the impact of this decision on you and your customers.”
An Amazon Tickets spokesperson declined to comment further.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.