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Eventbrite confirms commitment to live

In a month that saw San Francisco-based event management and ticketing company Eventbrite lay off 45% of its staff, including many in its music division, the company’s founders have stated that they are not intending to pivot away from music.

The layoffs, which affected 500 employees, form part of a $100 million coronavirus cost-cutting plan and were carried out due to “the unprecedented shutdown of the global economy”, according to Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz.

Similarly to other live music executives, including heads of Live Nation, CAA, Endeavor, UTA and Paradigm, Hartz is foregoing her salary for the year to save costs.

In response to reports that the company’s music division was particularly hard hit by the money-saving measures, Hartz told Billboard: “We are not planning to exit music and we’re committed to serving independent creators,” adding, “can you imagine our country without independent live music venues?”

“We are not planning to exit music and we’re committed to serving independent creators”

Hartz states that Eventbrite is using this time to “double down” on improving its platform, adding that the company “has always had a self-service ethos”.

In 2019, almost 950,000 event organisers used the Eventbrite platform, in a year that saw net revenue increase by 12% from the year before to $327m.

The company’s 2017 acquisition of former competitor Ticketfly aimed to create a “powerhouse” for independent venues and promoters, although Eventbrite encountered some issues relating to the integration of the platform, which was completed late last year.

Ticketfly co-founder Andrew Dreskin, stepped down from his role as Eventbrite Music president in May 2019 and stayed on in an advisory role, although reports suggest he may have now departed the company completely, following a pitch to buy back Ticketfly’s assets.

Photo: JD Lasica/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Eventbrite faces lawsuit in fallout from shares drop

Eventbrite shareholders are taking a class action lawsuit against the ticketing and events company, alleging they were misled at the time of the company’s initial public offering (IPO) in September 2018.

International securities and consumer rights litigation firm Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP filed the lawsuit on behalf of claimants who purchased Eventbrite stock in the company’s IPO at US$23 a share.

The lawsuit alleges that Eventbrite misled potential buyers in its IPO registration statement, declaring that the acquisition of ticketing platform Ticketfly “had a positive impact” on net revenue growth” in the third quarter of 2017.

The claimants also state that the company failed to disclose that, at the time of IPO, the Ticketfly migration was progressing more slowly than stated, therefore delaying integration and negatively impacting growth.

Eventbrite shares have dropped more than 50%, from over $32 to almost $16, in the past three months.

The lawsuit alleges that Eventbrite misled potential buyers in its IPO registration statement

Shares first declined on 7 March 2019, upon the release of Eventbrite’s annual financial results and the admission that the Ticketfly integration “will impact revenues in the short-term”. Shares then dropped further, to $17, in May following a weaker-than-expected financial start to 2019.

At the end of May, Eventbrite Music president and Ticketfly co-founder Andrew Dreskin stepped down from his role to transition to an advisory position.

The company’s shares remain down at $15.74, at the time of publishing (6 June).

Eventbrite declined to comment.

The lawsuit is not the first that Eventbrite has faced in relation to Ticketfly. Claimants attempted to sue the company following a Ticketfly hack in May 2018, alleging that “lax cybersecurity procedures” allowed hackers to gain access to 27 million customers’ personal data.

An Illinois judge dismissed the case earlier this week. The claimants have until 9 June to file an amended complaint.

 


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Eventbrite Music president Dreskin to step down

Ticketfly co-founder Andrew Dreskin is taking a step back from his role as Eventbrite Music president and will not be standing for re-election to the board of directors as he transitions into an advisory role in early June.

Dreskin became president of Eventbrite in 2017, following the company’s US$200 million acquisition of Ticketfly from Pandora, and joined the executive board in early 2018.

Prior to Ticketfly, Dreskin co-founded TicketWeb, which he sold to Ticketmaster in 2000.

“After more than a decade at Ticketfly, two acquisitions, and all told almost 20 years running ticketing companies, it feels like the right time for me to transition into a different role,” Dreskin told Billboard.

“It has been a tremendous honour to lead both Ticketfly, and Eventbrite’s music division for the past couple years. I have mad respect for the team at Eventbrite and continue to believe that we are building the best music ticketing platform in the world.”

Dreskin adds that he is “stepping down but not stepping out” and has entered into a “new multi-year advisory agreement” with Eventbrite, remaining the “main point of contact” for his existing roster of clients.

“After more than a decade at Ticketfly, two acquisitions, and all told almost 20 years running ticketing companies, it feels like the right time for me to transition into a different role”

“We’re grateful for Andrew’s dedication to leading Eventbrite’s music division since Ticketfly and Eventbrite came together nearly two years ago, culminating in the release of the Eventbrite Music platform late last year,” says Eventbrite co-founder and chief executive Julia Hartz.

“Today’s news does not change our fervent commitment to the independent live music community both in North America and globally, and our clients and the team that serves them remain our highest priority,” states Hartz.

The new Eventbrite Music platform, a ticketing solution aimed at mid-sized independent venues and promoters, launched in November 2018 as the company announced plans to retire the Ticketfly brand. All existing Ticketfly clients will be moved onto the new platform by the end of the year.

The transitioning of Ticketfly to the Eventbrite platform has not proved straightforward. The company cited the integration process as a reason for its “modest growth” in the first financial quarter of this year. Eventbrite’s shares dropped 30% to $17 after releasing its Q1 report, which detailed almost 70% losses as compared to Q1 2018.

Almost a month after the publishing the report, the company’s shares continue to hover around the $16 mark, 30% below its IPO price of $23.

 


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Andrew Dreskin joins Eventbrite board

Ticketfly founder Andrew Dreskin, now Eventbrite’s head of music, has been appointed to the Eventbrite board of directors.

Dreskin has more than 25 years’ experience in the live music industry, founding TicketWeb (sold to Ticketmaster in 2000), promoting several major festivals, including the Virgin Mobile Festivals on the US east coast, and establishing Ticketfly in 2008. The company was sold music streaming service Pandora in 2015, and last year was acquired by Eventbrite, with Dreskin becoming president of music.

“Andrew’s deep roots in both music and ticketing have already made him a great addition to our executive team, and I’m thrilled to welcome him to the board of directors,” says Eventbrite CEO and co-founder Julia Hartz. “His appointment further demonstrates our commitment to live music, and accelerates our efforts to address the unique challenges faced by independent promoters and venues today.”

“Andrew’s appointment further demonstrates our commitment to live music”

“It’s an honour to be appointed to Eventbrite’s board of directors. Eventbrite is a fantastic company with great leadership, and a strong board,” adds Dreskin.

“Not only am I excited to be leading Eventbrite’s music division, which is a large and important part of our business, but also to be part of the team guiding the future of the company.”

Eventbrite, headquartered in San Francisco but with local operations globally, is the world’s largest ticketing platform by number of organisers and events, having processed more than three million tickets per week in 2017.

It this week became the latest ticketing company to sign the FanFair Alliance declaration against online ticket touting.

 


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Eventbrite finalises $200m Ticketfly acquisition

Eventbrite has completed its acquisition of Ticketfly from Pandora, establishing a combined ticketing/event technology platform it says will process more than 200 million tickets to 3m+ events globally and generate US$4bn in gross ticket sales this year alone.

The US$200m acquisition of US-based Ticketfly, announced in June, is Eventbrite’s third this year and seventh in total, and follows the buy-out of European market leader Ticketscript in January.

Julia Hartz, the company’s co-founder and CEO, says the acquisition of Ticketfly – which works with almost 2,000 promoters and venues in North America, including the Bowery Ballroom in New York, the Troubadour in Los Angeles and Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago – enables Eventbrite to offer a “market-defining solution for independent venues, promoters and festivals”.

“The union of Eventbrite and Ticketfly changes the game for the music industry,” she comments. “Our respective customers will benefit immensely from access to the best of what each company brings to the table.

“Eventbrite’s proven track record of innovation and global scale, combined with Ticketfly’s deep industry relationships and domain expertise, is underpinned by a shared commitment to independence and unparallelled service to our customers.”

“This deal brings together the two most progressive live event technology companies”

As previously reported, Ticketfly founder Andrew Dreskin joins Eventbrite as head of music, where will continue to work with former owner Pandora to deliver in-app concert recommendations, a feature rolled out in July last year. Eventbrite, meanwhile, has existing partnerships with Facebook, Spotify and concert-recommendation service Bandsintown.

“We are happy to be teaming up with our friends at Eventbrite,” says Dreskin. “This deal brings together the two most progressive live event technology companies to form a powerhouse for independent music venues and promoters the world over. We will combine the best of both our platforms into one game-changing solution, the likes of which has never before been seen.

“This is going to be a heck of a lot of fun!”

Eventbrite, headquartered in San Francisco but with local operations globally, bills itself as the largest independent ticketing company in the world by number of organisers and events.

 


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