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60% of fans are not willing to cut back on live experiences

Ticketmaster’s vice president of music and festivals Sarah Slater discusses this year's consumer trends

13 Sep 2023

The desire to escape into a field with friends, family, and live music is not only alive but thriving – with Ticketmaster festival sales up 15% compared to 2022.

The summer will hold memories for hundreds of thousands of festivalgoers around the country. For me, it’s been about four key things:

  • The power of digital tickets in reducing fraud.
  • The plethora of festival upsells I wish had been around in my heyday.
  • The different ways we’re reaching festival fans.
  • How flexibility can take the pressure off payments.

Anyone who works in ticketing knows that the worst thing you have to do is tell a fan that they’ve been sold a fraudulent ticket – heart-breaking. Thankfully today, the technology exists to eliminate these scenarios – digital tickets, encryption, and animation coupled with official resale sites have all led to a huge reduction in the number of frustrated fans coming to our box offices.
Ticketmaster’s digitally encrypted tickets, SafeTix, have been successfully rolled out on large-scale festivals across the UK this summer, with our teams having scanned 4m SafeTix tickets so far this year.

This summer has also seen a boost in spending on upsells as fans look to make the most of their festival trip. From popular add-ons like posh loos and glamour areas (with nicer showers and places to do your hair and makeup), we’ve also seen a 300% increase in people snapping up early-entry tickets compared to last year.

Nearly a third of fans are travelling up to 100 miles to get to a venue

Ticketmaster surfaces these options at every touchpoint in the fan journey, from the purchase process to socials, email, and our festival guides. It’s clear that fans want to create their own bespoke experience and not buy a cookie-cutter one, making it critical to give fans as many options as possible. This is something that our upcoming TM1 upsell product will enable festival organisers to do, quickly and easily, whilst being able to manage their inventory on the go.

One thing we’ve noticed for many of our hottest shows and festivals is that nearly a third of fans are travelling up to 100 miles to get to a venue. As part of the live music ecosystem, we need to ask ourselves how we can best service these travelling fans – things like hotel packages are a no-brainer. But we also need to meet them where they are browsing, not just ticketing sites but travel and accommodation hubs, too.

Ticketmaster connects with a variety of channels where we can surface tickets to this segment – on sites such as Get Your Guide, Viator, and Expedia – and we’ve seen a definite increase in fans discovering and purchasing tickets this way.

2023 has of course brought its own unique set of challenges, one being the cost-of-living crisis, which has seen marketing teams having to work harder than ever to make their events stand out. The good news is that 60% of fans state that despite the economy, they are not willing to cut back on live experiences. We are responding to this by providing fans with ways to make their purchase more affordable. Whether through payment plans, which we have offered for several years, or ‘buy now, pay later’ options like PayPal and Klarna, which we have seen a 150% uptake in from 2022. The option to spread costs gives fans more flexibility on what they add to their basket, and they might just decide to add that posh loo after all.

Music festivals are the pinnacle of the summer, the chance to experience escapism, self-expression, and create core memories with family and friends. It’s our job to connect these incredible live experiences with an ever-evolving fanbase that shows no sign of tiring of green fields and mud.


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