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Artists offer fans AAA digital passes

Aitch, Hot Chip, Sugababes, The Wombats, Sigala and Kaiser Chiefs are among the first artists to offer fans Access-All-Areas (AAA) digital passes.

Launched by multi-channel D2F platform Planet, the resource allows artists to create customised experiences for content, tickets and merchandise.

The free AAA pass sits within fans’ phone wallet and notifies them whenever their favourite artists have something they’d either like fans to see, hear, or ask their opinion of. Ticket sales go directly from artists to fans, saving on additional fees.

“We want to make it easier for fans to get access to their favourite artists”

“Music defines some of the most memorable moments in our lives,” says Planet’s James Morrison. “We want to make it easier for fans to get access to their favourite artists and in turn enable artists to reward them more often for the part they play in creating these memories.

“The thing with social media is that it treats all fans the same, and the artists we are working with recognise that in many cases this relationship runs deeper than a like or follow but the algorithms have removed any sense of belonging.”

Sugababes utilised the app last week for the pre-sale window of their headline show at London’s The O2 in September 2023, while Aitch recently offered fans an exclusive early look at tour setlists and rehearsal videos ahead of his UK & Ireland tour.

Elsewhere, pop band New Rules met up with some fans on a recent trip to the US via their digital artist pass, and received almost instant feedback to new songs as soon as the shows had finished.

Soft launched back in late 2021, Planet has previously securing funding from TVG’s Ben Lovett and ie:music ventures.

 


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Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster

More than two dozen Taylor Swift fans are suing Ticketmaster owner Live Nation for “unlawful conduct”, alleging fraud, misrepresentation and antitrust violations over the controversial presale for the singer’s 2023 stadium tour.

Swift shifted a record 2.4 million tickets for her AEG-promoted 52-date The Eras Tour in a single day last month, but the sale was marred by reports of “significant service failures” and lengthy delays on Ticketmaster’s website.

Ticketmaster went on to cancel the scheduled general sale, citing “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand” and issued a public apology to Swift and her fans.

Now, as part of a new lawsuit filed with the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles, the company is accused of “anticompetitive conduct… to impose higher prices on music concert attendees in the presale, sale and resale market”.

“Defendant’s anticompetitive behaviour has substantially harmed and will continue to substantially harm Taylor Swift fans,” says the 33-page filing on behalf of 26 plaintiffs.

“Global investment and financial services firm Citi last week upgraded its outlook for Live Nation”

The lawsuit is seeking $2,500 for each violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law. Jennifer Kinder, attorney for one of the complainants, tells the Washington Post that around 150 fans have expressed interest in being added to the suit since it was filed on Friday (2 December).

“They messed with the wrong fan base,” says Kinder.

The Eras Tour experienced “historically unprecedented demand” as 3.5m people pre-registered for Swift’s Verified Fan presale, 1.5m of whom were later invited to participate in the onsale. However, the Ticketmaster site struggled to cope with the traffic after being swamped by bot attacks. Seatgeek (which took on $238m in private equity investment in August) experienced similar technical issues ticketing five of the Swift dates.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee announced last month that a US Senate antitrust panel would look into a “lack of competition in ticketing markets”, in response to the cancelled onsale. However, global investment and financial services firm Citi last week upgraded its outlook for Live Nation, saying it was unlikely to be split up as a result of the panel.

Live Nation has not responded to the lawsuit, but previously addressed competition concerns in a lengthy statement.

“Live Nation takes its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behaviours that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone orders that would require it to alter fundamental business practices,” it said.

 


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International Ticketing Report 2022: Ticket Tech

Ticketing is a hotbed of technological innovation, and there’s no shortage of companies offering new solutions to gaps in the market. We hear from some of the firms seeking to make ticketing better.

Secutix
“Real digital ticketing means being able to know your customer, whoever owns the barcode, and giving them the assurance that the ticket is real, it’s guaranteed, and it’s going to get them into the event,” says Secutix managing director David Hornby.

The Software as a Service company (SaaS) offers a wide range of cloud-based digital ticketing solutions. Its core platform, S-360, means promoters and venues can sell tickets through their own website, without needing to send their customers to a third party.

“Real digital ticketing means being able to know your customer, whoever owns the barcode”

The data can be used to build a picture of everyone in the venue, as well as using that information to engage them in a broad range of other ways.

Hornby says: “The difference between us and a traditional distribution ticket company is traditional firms still sell to the person who buys ten tickets for their group of friends. That person just distributes the tickets, and the event organiser doesn’t know who the other nine people are. Whereas with our solution, everyone has to register, meaning you can communicate with them all, as well as knowing exactly who’s in the venue.”

“The difference between us and a traditional distribution ticket company is traditional firms still sell to the person who buys ten tickets for their group of friends.”

S-360’s access control works with multiple ticketing providers, so audiences can buy from a variety of outlets.

Another capability in Secutix’s suite is its mobile blockchain ticketing technology, Tixngo, which not only provides security of ticketing but means event organisers can control resale or eliminate it altogether. Ed Sheeran’s July 2022 concerts at Stade de Paris in France saw 176,000 people attend, with digital tickets handled through Secutix’s platform.

At the request of the Shape of You singer, ticket resale was banned. Using the encryption and security of blockchain to create a unique, encrypted, and fully traceable ticket for every smartphone, Tixngo removes the risk of counterfeit tickets. The mobile ticket also generates a dynamic QR code that changes frequently so it cannot be screenshot or sold to another party.

“One of the things we’ve done is it’s always been built on API’s, but we’re now creating slightly different tools called widgets, packets of code that people can post on their own ecosystem. So let’s say, for example, you wanted a one-click purchase widget or you wanted an availability view, you could just post that on your own website or partners’ websites. We’re segmenting the product into bite-sized chunks and allowing those chunks to be used by our customers rather than having to have the whole thing.”

Flicket
Gaining a deep understanding of who’s buying your tickets is at the heart of Flicket’s mission. The New Zealand-based company was founded to fill a gap in the market where traditional ticketing firms were keeping control of the consumer experience and the data that went with it. Flicket wants to give that process to the promoters and venues – bypassing traditional ticketing companies and helping event organisers save money and improve their cashflow in the process.

“The events industry seemed to have a strange relationship with its consumers,” says co-founder and chief technology officer Jimmy Barwell-Smith. “There was such a limited amount of information that came back to the promoter or venue about who was buying tickets let alone the actual attendees.

So we took a practical approach to let people go direct to consumer and rearranged how we capture data.” He says by making changes to the ticket-buying process, the company has been able to drive up marketing opt-ins by as much as 50%.

“The events industry seemed to have a strange relationship with its consumers”

Layering this rich data set over social integrations and other third-party analytics, Flicket has a built-in marketing automation solution with the aim of helping event organisers reduce their marketing spend by having this deep understanding of each consumer.

Audiences are also motivated to buy tickets and tell their friends through a membership scheme and referral programme offers.

By making changes to the ticket-buying process, the company has been able to drive up marketing opt-ins by as much as 50%

“Much of the time, when you’re carrying out a marketing campaign, you only really get an understanding of who’s converted,’ says Barwell-Smith. “But that’s not really who you want to try and sell to right now – it’s actually the people that didn’t convert. You need to understand why your campaign didn’t resonate with them. Is it because you’ve got the wrong product? The wrong demographic?

We’ve done work with a couple of festivals here – their initial marketing was quite broad; they had a certain demographic in mind but what we saw was the people converting weren’t in that target. So we enabled them to adapt their marketing strategies with this focussed, useful data, saving them money and even helping them design the line-up.”

TicketPlan
The leading ticket insurance provider has had an “interesting” couple of years, notes TicketPlan relationship and development director Ben Bray, wryly. The company provides refunds to ticketholders if they’re unable to attend an event due to a variety of unforeseen circumstances – and Covid has obviously been the big factor here recently.

“But since reopening there’s been a boom in ticket insurance sales because there’s been a shift in the general public’s attitude to risk,” says Bray. “They want to book something to look forward to after having been locked up for so long. But equally, they’re more aware than ever that they might not be able to go through with it due to illness. As a result, sales have been good across all our partners.

“Since reopening there’s been a boom in ticket insurance sales because there’s been a shift in the general public’s attitude to risk”

“The onset of Omicron meant we had an awful lot of claims. But fortunately, we were able to ensure that our refunds team had all the resources they needed. And we took people on to make sure that we were still delivering the highest levels of service.”

He says that the average uptake rate from ticket buyers has doubled since Covid. “I think although people want to go to things, they’re also aware that the amount they’ve spent on a ticket is important to them because we’re in a cost-of-living crisis. People still need to go to things, and they still need to have things to look forward to, but they’re more aware than ever that they might need their money back if they can’t use that ticket.”

“I think although people want to go to things, they’re also aware that the amount they’ve spent on a ticket is important to them because we’re in a cost-of-living crisis”

UK-headquartered TicketPlan has recently taken on new partners such as Skiddle, alongside existing clients, See Tickets and Gigantic. It’s added attractions such as [London’s] The View from The Shard and is expanding into sports events.

“We recently set up a subsidiary in Europe so that we can have a post-Brexit insurance solution,” says Bray. “What differentiates us from a lot of the other players in the market is our understanding that there’s no one-size-fits-all global solution. We tailor our solutions to each of our clients and each of the countries they operate in.” The firm has operations in the UK and across Europe and North America.

During the pandemic, the company invested in its API and ability to integrate its solutions, adding functionality and making the client dashboard more user-friendly, says Bray.

Tixserve
Tixserve’s white-label mobile digital ticketing service not only offers event organisers a secure and reliable entry system, it also provides a sophisticated understanding of exactly who’s coming to their show and the ability to drive up revenue through the company’s digital marketing and commerce features.

“As well as the secure QR code that gets fans into the venue, our app offers a ticket-based ‘mobile marketplace,’ which organisers and their business partners can populate with tailored, data-driven content, such as offers or pre-sales for merch, food and drinks, promotions and sponsored content, in-app ad space, or post-event messages,” says Tixserve co-founder James Kirby.

“As well as the secure QR code that gets fans into the venue, our app offers a ticket- based ‘mobile marketplace”

“It’s all about fan engagement and being able to monetise audiences using verified data combined with transparent and rigorous adherence to data privacy requirements.”

Kirby says as well as giving gig-goers the confidence their ticket is genuine through Tixserve’s verification process, the company has found that its app drives up marketing opt-ins.

“It’s all about fan engagement and being able to monetise audiences using verified data combined with transparent and rigorous adherence to data privacy requirements”

“We’ve noticed that sign-ups for marketing during the initial app registration process [are] way higher than online. For example, one of our clients in the sports sector has a marketing opt-in of 45%.”

The firm has delivered over 2.5million tickets, including shows by Dermot Kennedy, George Ezra, Ed Sheeran, and Stereophonics at the 1,200-capacity HMV Empire in Coventry, UK. For major artists like Sheeran and Stereophonics, the digital app meant the limited number of tickets could be strictly controlled and un-authorised resale prohibited. The firm also provided digital ticketing for five Sheeran stadium shows across the UK, through ticketing company Gigantic.

Easol
The organisers of snow sports and music festival Rise, Ben and Lisa Simpson, were frustrated with what was available for ticketing and marketing their own events. So they set up Easol in 2017 to bring together all the disparate strands associated with selling events.

“We ended up working with five different platforms: one for sales, one for ticketing, one for add-ons, one for packages, plus a front-end WordPress website,” says Ben. “And often they were taking the consumer off to another site. It was costing us a lot in conversion, and we couldn’t attribute data correctly.

“We ended up working with five different platforms: one for sales, one for ticketing, one for add-ons, one for packages, plus a front-end WordPress website”

At the same time, we felt these companies wanted to build the smallest amount of technology that served the smallest possible need, but they wanted to extract the maximum amount of economic gain for themselves: they wanted to keep 100% of the data, they wanted their brand to be the priority, and they charged ridiculous fees, sometimes in the region of up to 12%, when we took all the risk. Plus, they held onto our money, which strangled cashflow. We thought that was insane. Nothing else online today works in such an archaic manner.

Why can’t people buying tickets have the same experience online as, say Airbnb or any other multimillion dollar company’s transaction experience?”

Now, backed by over $25m (€25.35m) in financing from investors, Easol describes itself as the Shopify for event organisers.

“Why can’t people buying tickets have the same experience online as, say Airbnb or any other multimillion dollar company’s transaction experience?”

Simpson says the company offers “creators” a one-stop- shop for selling events and experiences, from out-of-the-box web designs, payment solutions, marketing options, and control over data. He adds that because Easol doesn’t keep ticket money in escrow, event organisers are responsible for their own cashflow, can charge their own booking fees, improve their conversion, and increase their basket value.

“There is only one screen on Easol you cannot customise: the final checkout page where the consumer puts in their credit card details. Everything else can be customised because every event is different and has its own needs. There’s very little [that] a creator on Easol can’t achieve in order to build the right journey for their customer.

They can set their own booking fee and can keep all of it; we’re launching more flexible payment methods now, such as payment plans, buy-now-pay-later, open banking. These are all incredibly important after what we’ve seen in 2022. We expect that in 2023 you’ll need to give customers more ways to book that work for them.”

Easol is also working with established financial lending businesses to offer festival organisers loans, as a way of helping established promoters with cashflow.

Total Ticketing
Leading promoter Magnetic Asia felt frustrated with the ticketing landscape in Hong Kong while looking for options for its flagship music and arts festival, Clockenflap. So it decided to set up its own in-house B2C ticketing platform in 2012 – Ticketflap. Now, it’s making it available to event organisers around the world.

Under its B2B brand, Total Ticketing, the company launched its Enterprise Ticketing System (ETS) in 2020 as a modern enterprise-grade Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that works for any scale of event, venue, attraction, or festival.

“We’re creating bespoke solutions for people who’ve got complex problems,” says sales director Martin Haigh, who explains the company signed a significant number of clients during the pandemic.

“We’re creating bespoke solutions for people who’ve got complex problems”

“Our fully customisable solution can be scaled to meet massive spikes in demand,” he adds. “It has multiple APIs for integration with sales partners; turnstiles and admission control systems; CRMs; RFID cashless payment; access control and more. Real-time reporting offers data visualisation and analysis tools within the system.”

The Total Ticketing platform can offer complex dynamic pricing and promotional tools to increase sales and revenue and respond to changes in demand in real-time. Clients can set their own fee structures, and funds are received directly from the client’s chosen payment processors, reducing pay-out times and eliminating counterparty risk inherent in the traditional ticketing service provider model.

“Our fully customisable solution can be scaled to meet massive spikes in demand”

With multiple sales channels covering a variety of online sales interfaces with different branding and URLs, box office, contact centre, agent networks, and extensive sales APIs for integration with apps, websites, WeChat mini-programs and kiosks, the white-label solution can be hosted worldwide, enabling promoters to sell wherever their consumers are.

As well as enabling promoters and venues to sell to their domestic market, agents can sell for events no matter where they are in the world. For example, an agent based in Canada could sell tickets to a festival in Korea, opening up potential new audiences.

The company has operations in Canada, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the UK.

Stager
Event planning software, plus event marketing tools, and an online ticketing service in one? That’s what Stager promises. Built by a group of people working in events and festivals in the Netherlands who wanted more control over their business processes and to reduce ticketing costs, the online tool is now at the fingertips of hundreds of venues, theatres, festivals, and event organisers across Europe.

“There are some important differences between Stager and other software tools in the ticketing industry,” says CEO Mike van Gaasbeek. “One is that others focus on making the customer ticket-buying journey as smooth as possible. But our approach is completely different. Making the customer journey smooth isn’t the real challenge.

“There are some important differences between Stager and other software tools in the ticketing industry”

The real challenge is organising your venue and being on top of all the processes of running a show or a festival. So our approach is to support the event organiser, then they are able to sell the tickets themselves.”

Stager’s virtual backstage provides the tools for preparing productions in detail and ensuring that crews know what to do, as well as running schedules, and personnel and task management. Its marketing capabilities include a CRM system, online marketing systems, email marketing software, and reporting tools.

“Our goal is to be a worldwide player in supporting event organisers to produce their shows, bringing in their audiences and making the people working on the floor happy”

And its multifunctional online ticketing service allows promoters and venues to sell direct to their audiences. What Van Gaasbeek says is so powerful about all this is not only that it’s been created by events professionals but that everything is under one system.

“Our goal is to be a worldwide player in supporting event organisers to produce their shows, bringing in their audiences and making the people working on the floor happy,” he says.

Ticket Tailor
Building a ticketing service that keeps as much money and data in the hands of promoters was the motivation for the founding of Ticket Tailor. The platform was built by Jonny White with the idea of keeping per-ticket costs down as much as possible.

But how do you build a successful business based on minimising costs? “It’s all about scale,” says commercial director George Follett. “If we were doing 100,000 tickets, it probably wouldn’t work. But we’ll do about 13m this year.”

But how do you build a successful business based on minimising costs? “It’s all about scale”

The pricing structure is simple and transparent: a flat fee on every ticket. “That can be paid for in two ways: you either do pay-as-you-go, which tends to be for smaller event organisers where it’s, like, 50p per ticket, or 65 cents in the USA. But you can also do pre-pay: the more you commit to the platform up front, the bigger the discount you get.

Let’s say you’re doing a festival for 20,000 tickets. You can buy 20,000 credits upfront, so instead of it being 50p per ticket it’s 20p. That’s a huge saving, which can make all the difference to a bottom line.”

He adds that the company doesn’t have a sales team, relying instead on word of mouth and the quality of its product, leading to average annual company growth of 50%. He says the company focuses on purposeful growth and puts 80% of spend into improving the product and 20% on marketing the company.

“We’ve had on-sales where we’ve done 10,000 tickets in five minutes, and it’s barely touched our queue system”

“Some self-serve platforms might be considered as not that robust when it comes to large on-sales,” adds Follett. “But we have a sophisticated system that will put people into a queuing system if demand is huge but that very rarely is needed, to be honest. We’ve had on-sales where we’ve done 10,000 tickets in five minutes, and it’s barely touched our queue system.”

Equally as important as building the business is creating an ethical organisation, says Follett. Ticket Tailor is the only independent ticketing company that’s B Corp certified, meaning social and environmental issues are in the DNA of the firm – the company is carbon neutral, it donates 1 pence (1 cent) of every ticket shared between three climate charity partners, and it has a very strong focus on being a great place to work.

Working worldwide, the company does 40% of sales in the UK, 40% are in the USA, and 20% in the rest of the world. The firm sold tickets in 180 countries last year.

Audience Republic
Losing AU$20,000 (€13,000) as a promoter, sparked Jared Kristensen to launch marketing software firm Audience Republic. The all-in-one CRM and marketing platform is specifically designed for events because, as Kristensen says, “the live industry is completely different to any other industry.”

A core part of the software is incentivising word-of-mouth sales. As well as being the most powerful form of marketing, it means promoters aren’t reliant on the vagaries of social media marketing, with all the often inefficient spending that they involve.

The all-in-one CRM and marketing platform is specifically designed for events because “the live industry is completely different to any other industry”

“We’ve got a unique gamified incentive process, which is all about encouraging people to refer their friends. One of the most popular is the presale registration process. The way that works is people sign up for presale access through a link created on our platform.

The promoter can then promote that across all their usual channels to drive people to sign up. And then people invite their friends to also sign up for presale access, getting points for each referral. They can also earn points for following across social media and completing other actions. You can reward top point scorers with things such as VIP tickets, meet-and-greets, or whatever you like.

“We’ve got a unique gamified incentive process, which is all about encouraging people to refer their friends”

“Typically, we’re seeing a doubling or tripling of the amount of signups through this process. But it’s not just about selling more presale tickets, although that helps. The point is using that announcement to build up a massive audience that the promoter owns. And then using that audience to sell the remainder of the general on sale.

“That invite from the friend is so much more persuasive than a sponsored post. And that right now has been super important because of the delayed buying pattern.”

He says the additional benefit of word-of-mouth sales is it reduces event organisers’ reliance on online paid ads to drive ticket sales. “Three or four years ago, people didn’t really care because it was working really well, wasn’t that expensive, and was pretty cost effective. Now it’s changed, it’s getting more expensive every year, ROI is decreasing, the results that they get from the same spend is decreasing.

Having your own audience means you’re not dependent on Facebook and Instagram to drive ticket sales, and you can communicate directly with fans through email, SMS, and any sort of other channels they have as well.”

The company has over 50 employees and operations in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Europe.


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Japan mulls ID card plan for concerts

Concert-goers in Japan could require government-issued ID cards to attend gigs under plans being considered by the government to help combat ticket touting.

According to Japan Today via Yomiuri Shimbun, the country’s minister of digital affairs Taro Kano has told the cabinet’s digital agency to open talks with event organisers to encourage them to require ticket-holders to present their My Number Card when buying tickets, and again when entering venues.

The card is typically used as a form of identification for pension, tax, and other government functions, and the requirement would confirm the fan attending the show was the same person who bought the ticket.

However, critics of the proposal say it would make it impossible to purchase tickets for the 40% of residents who are yet to apply for a card, and would also rule out those without smartphones.

The move would also lock travellers and short-term visitors out of live entertainment events unless organisers set up separate protocols

In addition, the report notes the move would also lock travellers and short-term visitors out of live entertainment events unless organisers set up separate protocols.

Arama Japan recalls Japan’s previous attempts to curb touting, including the introduction of facial recognition technology and the launch of campaign group Tenbai No (Resale No) in 2014, backed by 116 music acts, 24 events, and four music organisations. Tenbai No took out full page ads in two of Japan’s biggest newspapers, which read: “We are against the high-priced reselling of tickets, which is depriving music of its future.”

In the same year, it notes, a woman was arrested after allegedly making 10 million yen (€70,500) profit by scalping tickets for boy band Arashi.

 


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Rallying call for Festicket creditors

Promoters owed money by collapsed festival package company Festicket are being urged to contact administrators ahead of Friday’s (2 December) deadline.

The London-headquartered event discovery and booking platform had debts of more than £22.5 million when it went bust in September. Six firms were each owed in excess of £1m, with a further 20-plus creditors owed six-figure sums, according to documents filed with Companies House.

Administrator ReSolve Advisory said previously that despite several promoters being under the impression the cash from their ticket sales would be ringfenced by Festicket, that does not appear to have happened.

“We have received communication from a number of promoter creditors who are asserting that the net realisations from their ticket sales were to be held in trust for them by the company,” it said. “Our understanding is that the company did not segregate or ringfence any assets for the benefit of specific parties.”

At the request of administrators, the Insolvency and Companies Court has ordered that any creditor asserting that its monies were held on trust by Festicket should notify administrators of its “trust claim” along with an estimate of its value by no later than 4pm on 2 December. Following an initial meeting on 17 November, a second directions hearing is expected to take place at the London court on 9 December.

“If you were led to believe the money from the sale of your events was to be held on trust by Festicket then you must notify the administrators by the aforementioned deadline”

A letter circulated around the industry, seen by IQ, puts the number of promoters owed money by Festicket as “at least” 105, “some of whom are asserting trust claims whilst others are suggesting they are simply creditors”.

“If you were led to believe the money from the sale of your events was to be held on trust by Festicket (or any of its other trading names) then you must notify the administrators by the aforementioned deadline,” it adds. “Any such respondent must also notify the administrators if you intend to attend the second directions hearing and whether you intend to oppose or support the main application.

“Please provide any such information to [email protected] as soon as possible and in any event by the deadline.”

Any promoter wishing to join current and potential future litigation is advised to email [email protected]

Founded in 2012 by Zack Sabban, Jerome Elfassy and Jonathan Youne, Festicket also ran offices in the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, France and Australia. The company, which acquired Event Genius and Ticket Arena in 2019, recorded losses of approximately £11.3 million and £8m in the 2019 and 2020 financial years, respectively.

US-based ticketing exchange Lyte acquired Festicket and Event Genius assets for £100,000 in September and pledged to protect Festicket employees and find “ways to reconcile and rebuild with affected promoter clients”.

 


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Italy’s live biz reports ‘significant recovery’

Italy’s live music industry is seeing a “significant recovery” since returning from the pandemic, according to newly released data.

The Italian Society of Authors and Publishers (SIAE) presented the concert statistics for the first nine months of 2022 as part of the sixth edition of Milan Music Week, which was held from 21-27 November.

Despite a 19% decrease in shows compared with the last pre-Covid year of 2019, the SIAE reports a 6% increase in attendance this year along with a 22% increase in box office spending.

The total number of shows held from January to September 2022 was 24,119 with 13,013,269 admissions, while spending at the box office totalled €450.6 million with an average ticket price of €35.

For the same period in 2019, however, the number of shows was 29,951 with 12,263,624 admissions. Box office takings were €369.4m with an average ticket price of €30.

“The first elaborations of the SIAE data for 2022 confirm a significant recovery especially in the concert sector”

Events staged at open-air venues fared particularly well, with the biggest concert being Italian singer-songwriter Vasco Rossi’s performance at Trentino Music Arena in Trento, which attracted a reported 111,881 fans.

SIAE attributes the upturn to a younger audience “more willing to frequent crowded places”, but acknowledges the boom is partly due to dates rescheduled from 2020 and 2021, for which tickets had already been sold.

The organisation’s general director Gaetano Blandini notes that while the figures are encouraging, the live business still requires assistance from the authorities to fully return to its former glory.

“The first elaborations of the SIAE data for 2022 confirm a significant recovery especially in the concert sector,” says Blandini. “These are positive signs that bode well, but to complete the crossing of the desert the help of the State with targeted interventions, tax incentives and other measures that give companies the opportunity to invest in technology and security [is needed] to overcome the challenges of the future.”

Speaking to IQ last month, Adolfo Galli, co-founder of Italian promoter D’Alessandro e Galli, said the public’s appetite for live shows had not waned since the pandemic-enforced break.

“People are buying tickets,” he said. “Lucca Summer Festival this year, which was the first one we’ve managed to do since Covid, did incredibly well. We sold almost 140,000 tickets and most of the shows were sold out.

“We have sold a lot of tickets for all of our shows this year, including Eric Clapton in October, our Elton John show at San Siro Stadium, which sold out – 50,000 tickets – and the Rolling Stones show also in Milan – 57,000 tickets.”

Subscribers can read IQ‘s recent market report on Italy here.

 


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ITR 2022: Mark Yovich’s global perspective

Unprecedented numbers of events, the ever-shifting technology landscape, new sales patterns, and recovery from Covid – 2022 will certainly go down as one of the landmark years in ticketing.

Throughout the International Ticketing Report we see stories of change across all markets, but let’s zoom out for a moment to consider the worldwide perspective.

In this exclusive interview, Ticketmaster president Mark Yovich takes stock…

 


ITR: Looking back at summer 2022, what’s your assessment of how business has been?
MY
: Summer 2022 will go down as one the biggest in Ticketmaster history. September alone was a record-breaker, with teams in fields, stadiums, and arenas across the Northern hemisphere scanning more than 34m tickets – the largest scan volume we’ve ever seen in the span of just one month. We always knew it was going to be big, but this summer really has blown previous years out of the water. Looking at our own house, we truly have the best people in the business – they rose to the challenge to deliver one of the most electric summers of live.

What lessons do you think Covid has taught the ticketing industry, and what does the ‘new normal’ look like to you from a global perspective?
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the demand for live events endures. The demand from fans clamouring to get back into theatres, clubs, fields, and stadiums has been palpable. It’s a testament to just how important live events are in all of our lives. That act of coming together with friends, family, and other fans to experience the power of live music together is incomparable.

As for the ‘new normal’ – digital is king. We knew this long before 2020, but the pandemic certainly hastened adoption of digital ticketing. Globally, our clients are using double the amount of mobile tickets this year than they were in 2019. Ticketmaster has long been a pioneer in this space, and we continue to invest in innovation to lead the industry.

As we move ahead, it’s obvious that business is now more global than ever. Which is why we evolved ourselves into a single global team, one that is even better equipped to solve the needs of our clients and delight fans wherever they are in the world.

“If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the demand for live events endures”

What key themes do you think the industry will be facing in the coming 12-18 months?
Sitting back and waiting for the fan to come to us is a thing of the past. It’s all about convenience and adapting to consumer behaviour patterns. That’s why we’re bullish with our partnerships that help our clients reach potential ticket buyers in whole new ways – on the channels they use the most. This year, we partnered up with Snapchat where we have seen more than 7m event swipes already, and TikTok where we have 55m unique users already engaging with Ticketmaster content. Partnerships like these are invaluable. They further establish Ticketmaster as the place for clients to showcase their inventory and will only continue to lead to increased conversions.

What technologies do you think will be playing an important role in the near future for ticketing?
Fans are at the heart of live events. We are hyper-focused on using fan insights to evolve our marketplace experience for ticket buyers, to even better support our clients’ goals. Our teams have been hard at work evolving our marketplace experience so that it is deeply rooted in responding to fan needs.

As we look at other innovations, NFTs continue to be an exciting area of exploration. We are working in partnership with clients to extend the life of the live event experience before, after, and during the live event experience through the distribution and gamification of NFTs. I expect to see even more creativity in this space roll into 2023.

 


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Italian Supreme Court backs TicketOne appeal

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court (CdS) has ruled in favour of TicketOne in its appeal against a €10.9 million fine for alleged abuses of its dominant market position.

The original 2021 ruling by the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) had previously been dismissed and the fine annulled by a Lazio court in March this year.

It followed an investigation into the market leader’s parent company CTS Eventim and related to complaints by venue operator Zed Entertainment, which accused TicketOne of “an abusive strategy of an exclusionary nature” involving complex deals, contracts and acquisitions.

The dispute first became public in 2019 when a handful of Italian promoters, led by Zed’s Valeria Arzenton, alleged unfair competition on the part of Eventim-owned Friends and Partners (F&P).

“The CdS found that the ICA had in fact failed to examine sufficiently the applicants’ defence of the existence of a lawful purpose pursued by the acquisitions”

Arzenton accused CTS Eventim/F&P of trying to strong-arm promoters and artists into ticketing contracts with TicketOne at the expense of non-Eventim operators – a claim strenuously denied by CTS Eventim, TicketOne, F&P and sister companies D’Alessandro e Galli, Vertigo and Vivo Concerti.

According to the CdS, reports Lexology, the contested practices – in particular the acquisitions and related exclusivity clauses — “may plausibly be objectively justified” and do not necessarily result in an unlawful restriction.

“The CdS found that the ICA had in fact failed to examine sufficiently the applicants’ defence of the existence of a lawful purpose pursued by the acquisitions,” it adds.

However, last month’s judgement suggests the matter is not yet closed.

“The CdS confirmed that the retaliatory conduct and boycotts implemented against other operators such as Zed, may in fact constitute abuses of dominance requiring further investigations by the ICA and possible revision of the fine initially imposed on CTS Eventim – Ticketone,” it adds.

 


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International Ticketing Report 2022 out now

The latest edition of the International Ticketing Report (formerly the International Ticketing Yearbook) is out now, accessible in print, via a dedicated mini site and as a digital magazine.

Since it was first published in 2015, the ITR has been the only global guide to the live entertainment ticketing market.

The seventh instalment features in-depth profiles of the top 40+ live entertainment markets around the world, as well as insights and information from the most important companies in each market.

The Report also offers features on ticketing tech, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and an in-depth interview with Ticketmaster president Mark Yovich.

“2022 has seen one of the busiest periods for ticketing companies ever”

“With most countries joyously greeting audiences in venues once more, 2022 has seen one of the busiest periods for ticketing companies ever,” says the Report’s editor James Drury.

“And despite the challenges this pressure brings, the sector has been responding with ingenuity. Every year there are new tech and hot topics to discuss, and as always we’re taking an in-depth look at them. In this edition, you’ll discover some of the companies that are finding creative solutions to some of the industry’s problems, while we take a special look at NFTs and what their growing popularity means for promoters and ticketers alike.”

This year’s ITR is available in print, digitally, and on the dedicated year-round mini-site. IQ subscribers can read the digital magazine here, or access the mini site here. To purchase a print copy of the report, please email [email protected].

Ticketek hires Danny Hannaford as UK GM

TEG-owned ticketing firm Ticketek has announced the appointment of Danny Hannaford as its UK general manager.

Hannaford, who brings more than 13 years’ experience in ticketing operations, and was most recently in charge of ticketing strategy & digital delivery for London’s The O2.

He previously led ticketing for Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo and multiple special event projects at AEG Presents, as well as heading up Global Live.

Hannaford also launched and headed up Twickets Australia and was the lead on global ticketing operations at Dice.

“In addition to Danny’s extensive ticketing knowledge he has a demonstrated track record of digital transformation and innovation”

“Danny is an experienced and accomplished ticketing executive who will lead our UK team with commitment, integrity and passion,” says Ticketek MD Cameron Hoy. “In addition to Danny’s extensive ticketing knowledge he has a demonstrated track record of digital transformation and innovation and I look forward to his contribution to our global ticketing leadership team.”

Ticketek became one of the five divisions that comprise TEG Europe, alongside TEG Live Europe, TEG Venues, Propaganda and Ovation, after Australasian live entertainment powerhouse TEG consolidated the company’s UK-based operations into a single entity.

“I am delighted to be joining Ticketek UK and have the opportunity to work with a business that thinks differently about ticketing,” adds Hannaford. “I am really looking forward to and joining a great team that is already delivering impressive growth in this market.”

 


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