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As it struggled to secure ticket allocations for bigger shows, 'best gigs, no booking fees' was no longer a realistic proposition for Dice, says UK MD Russ Tannen
By Jon Chapple on 14 Feb 2018
Dice, the famously fee-free mobile ticketing platform whose founder, Phil Hutcheon, once criticised ticket fees as being “like a drug”, has quietly introduced booking fees of its own for some shows, saying its no-fee model meant it lost money on every ticket sold – and increasingly struggled to gain ticket allocations for bigger events.
Following a public Twitter back-and-forth with the band Shame, Russ Tannen, Dice’s UK managing director, has explained the move, saying the company’s growth, coupled with its recent expansion into North America, left a choice between introducing fees and Dice “being a small player forever”.
We’ve backed you from the beginning. From the free shows to the current tour. All without making a single penny. We’ve told tens of thousands of people on DICE about how great you are live.
— DICE (@dicefm) February 10, 2018
“As we grew (thanks to you guys) we discovered that to get a significant allocation of tickets for bigger shows, we had to agree to include a ‘booking fee’,” writes Tannen in a blogpost aimed at Dice’s customers. “This was particularly the case for our expansion in North America.”
“Ultimately,” he continues, “it was a case of either drop ‘best gigs’ or drop ‘no booking fees’. So we decided to start incorporating some fees to a small number of shows and dropped the ‘no booking fees’ line in January 2017. What didn’t change is our commitment to always try and be the lowest price.
“I wish we had written a blog post explaining all of this back then. And I’m sorry for not posting this sooner.
“So what are these fees? It’s essentially a small markup that covers some of our costs, and fulfils contractual obligations to some of our partners. We hate hidden extras and fake price breakdowns so the upfront price is always what you pay at the end. We believe in presenting one simple price to fans and there are lots of shows where we don’t have any mark-up at all.
“I hope this explains where we are right now. We started Dice to completely change how people discover and attend live experiences all around the world, and we’re as committed to this as we have ever been.”
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