Market research company Technavio predicts 20% growth annually until 2020, in contrast to 2% overall in event ticketing
Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
Only genuine fans will be able to gain access to Four Tet's upcoming Brixton parties, thanks to all-digital ticketing and Verified Fan, say Ticketmaster and promoter EYOE
By Jon Chapple on 22 Aug 2018
Marking the first major UK deployment of its new mobile platform, Ticketmaster has partnered with Four Tet and promoter Eat Your Own Ears to power ticketing for the acclaimed British DJ’s return to Brixton Academy this autumn.
Four Tet – real name Kieran Hebden – announced yesterday that his traditional autumn all-nighters, preceded by two live shows, would return to the 4,921-capacity O2 Academy Brixton from 10 to 13 October. With tickets for all four nights priced at just £5, Ticketmaster is combining 100% digital ticketing with its Verified Fan technology – which uses “algorithms and unique data analysis” to weed out bad actors, such as ticket touts and bots, from the presale – to ensure all tickets get into the hands of “genuine fans” at the price intended.
The Four Tet shows, says Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons, are intended to be “a celebration, a party, with the artist giving back to the audience – and the pricing fits with that ethos. So for us, it was about how best to be able to deliver that.”
“Kieran, aka Four Tet, was inspired by a Fugazi show he went to in 1995 at Brixton Academy and paid £5,” says Eat Your Own Ears’ Tom Baker, commenting on the inspiration for the event. “They played with all the house lights on and Kieran wanted to replicate this. I said, perhaps at 4.33am people won’t want to be staring each other in the face with bright lights glaring into their faces, so why don’t we do the £5 ticket at Brixton Academy club shows in the dark…”
“We’ve worked with Tom for as long as I can remember, and this string of shows at Brixton Academy is just another example of their innovative approach,” adds Parsons. “We’ve both got the same goal here – to get fans in the door at £5 – and I’m pleased to say Ticketmaster has the technology to do just that. ”
“The future is definitely digital”
Contrary to much of the non-industry media’s coverage of Verified Fan – most notably around the onsale for Taylor Swift’s Reputation stadium tour last summer, which allowed fans to boost their chance of a ticket by buying albums or merch – the system is, “at its essence, the invitation [to buy tickets], the presale and the weeding out of bad actors,” Parsons tells IQ. While Swift-style boosts may be built into the platform, they aren’t a requirement, he says: “It’s about making sure we go on sale on sale with a clean list and ensure we are selling directly to fans.”
It’s still “comparatively early” days for Verified Fan in the UK, Parsons continues, though TM has already seen success with the platform for several high-profile club shows, including Harry Styles and Jack White at the Eventim Apollo in London.
The second, and arguably more important, aspect for the Four Tet dates is the mobile one: All tickets are digital and – similarly to platforms such as Dice – are tied to the mobile device from which they’re purchased, making resale for profit impossible. (They can, however, be transferred to a friend using the buyer’s Ticketmaster account.)
“It’s something we’ve been building up to for a while,” continues Parsons, who says the new mobile ticketing functionality is part of a “whole host of changes” the company has been making to its core product over the past 18 months, including a more editorially focused homepage, a new responsive check-out process and – most significantly – folding all ticket resale into Ticketmaster proper, following the shutdown of Get Me In! and Seatwave.
“There’s a huge opportunity in tying tickets to mobiles and taking away those little pieces of paper,” he adds. “Fans are ready for it, artists and promoters are fully on board… It’s really going to be ramping up in the coming months.”
“There’s a huge opportunity in tying tickets to mobiles and taking away those little pieces of paper”
As for the multi-step process of becoming a ‘verified fan’, is Ticketmaster worried it’s becoming too difficult to simply log on and buy a ticket for a show? “Everything we do is about balance,” suggests Parsons. “All the work we’ve done with Verified Fan so far shows we can do it in a very slick way – with artist engagement, we can spread the net as wide as possible – and if you speak to fans about whether or not it’s a good thing, they’re very supportive of it.
“The fans really appreciate the artist going the extra mile.”
“I think the future is definitely digital,” adds Baker. “Everyone uses their phones now for almost everything they do, and that will just get more and more easy as venues and promoters and ticket agents all embrace this technology. I think it makes it so much smoother for all involved, and cuts out touts, with the money going to the artists – and fans aren’t unfairly paying over-inflated prices.
“It’s a win win for everyone and I’ll certainly be looking to use both Verified Fan and digital ticketing for more and more Eat Your Own Ears shows.”
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.