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Amazon takes palm-recognition tech to venues

Amazon is bringing its palm-recognition technology to music venues, starting with the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the US.

According to AP, the e-commerce giant has inked a deal with AEG to bring Amazon One to the Denver venue, which sells tickets on AEG’s ticketing site, AXS.

Starting from today (14 September), concertgoers at the 9,525-capacity venue can sign up to connect their palm to a ticketing account by hovering their hand over a device.

Concertgoers only need to sign up once and then can use their palm to get into other shows and events at the venue. An Amazon account is not needed to use it.

It’s the first time the Amazon One technology will be used outside some of Amazon’s stores, where shoppers can pay for groceries by swiping their palms.

Concertgoers only need to sign up once and then can use their palm to get into other shows and events at the venue

Bryan Perez, CEO of AXS, says other venues plan to add the technology in the coming months but he declined to say where or how many. AEG partners with more than 350 stadiums and theatres around the world.

“Concertgoers can get to their seats faster with their palm than holding up their phone to an attendant to scan a bar code. Those who want to scan their palms will have a separate lane to enter,” says Perez.

“You don’t have to fumble around with your phone. Your hand is always attached to your body.”

Addressing privacy concerns, Amazon said it keeps the palm images in a secure part of its cloud and doesn’t store the information on the Amazon One device.

Users can also ask for their information to be deleted at any time, the company added.

 


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John Talbot joins AXS Europe

AXS has hired UK-based music exec John Talbot as director of business development.

Talbot worked for Ticketmaster from 2015 to 2020, overseeing business development for Ticketmaster International’s artist services business, and most recently headed up partnerships for electronic point of sale company Goodtill by SumUp.

“Joining the AXS team today is the latest step in my 15-year career in music, which has spanned concerts, ticketing and record labels,” he explains. “For almost a decade I was at Island Records, creating retail campaigns for acts such as Queen, Amy Winehouse and Florence and the Machine.

“I joined Ticketmaster in 2015 to oversee business development for their artist ticketing business in the UK and Europe, onboarding touring artists including Stormzy, Four Tet and the 1975.

“I hope to bring even more exciting partners to AXS’s wealth of existing high-profile clients”

“Earlier this year I worked for merchant services payment provider SumUp, targeting music venues, signing deals with Omeara and Lafayette here in London, as well as others.

“Outside of work, I’m an ardent music fan, I’ve managed bands and been an independent promoter and DJ for several years.”

Commenting on his new role at AXS Europe, which has preferred ticketing deals with events and venues including the O2 and SSE Arena Wembley (London) and British Summer Time Hyde Park, Talbot continues: “I’m very excited to be joining a company whose technology and culture is so well respected across the industry. I hope to bring even more exciting partners to AXS’s wealth of existing high-profile clients.”

 


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Bristol Ticket Shop closing after 30 years

Independent UK-based ticketing company Bristol Ticket Shop has announced it is closing down, citing overdue payments from a debtor.

Launched in 1987 as a concession in Virgin shops and then in record retailer Our Price, Bristol Ticket Shop later found its own home in the centre of the UK city of Bristol. With a focus on supporting the local music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop also sold tickets to events such as Glastonbury Festival and Download Festival.

“After more than 30 years being part of Bristol’s incredible music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop is sadly closing,” reads a post on the ticketer’s Facebook page.

“All the staff here are devastated. The list of incredible events we have supplied tickets for is overwhelming. There are so many regular customers, old and new, that we have really enjoyed talking to over the years and we will miss you all dearly.”

“After more than 30 years being part of Bristol’s incredible music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop is sadly closing”

The management team owes the closure to “news that a debtor owing a large amount of money was unlikely to be able pay in a timely manner”, as well as to the illness of the company’s owner, which has “had a large impact on the resilience of the business”.

The company states it is instructing a third party to negotiate with promoters in order to ensure that “there is as little impact to the customer as possible”. Although the ticketer aims “to honour tickets for future events”, it notes this may not always be possible, in which case refunds will be issued.

Bristol music fans have responded to the “sad news”, showing support for the ticketer, which formed a “huge part” of the local live scene.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, the primary ticketing business in the UK is “incredibly competitive”, with major international companies including Ticketmaster, See Tickets, AXS, Eventim and Eventim taking a large share of the market.

Many local independent outfits, such as Manchester’s Ticketline, Birmingham’s the Ticket Factory, Leeds’ Ticket Arena and Nottingham’s Gigantic – now majority owned by DEAG – also perform well.

 


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Updated: AEG buys out AXS co-owners to take full ownership

Live entertainment powerhouse AEG has taken full control of its ticketing business AXS from co-owners TPG Capital and Rockbridge Growth Equity, as first reported by Billboard.

AEG, a founding partner in the ticketing platform, previously held a 38% stake with private-equity firms TPG Capital – the majority owner of Creative Artists Agency and owner of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group – and Dan Gilbert’s Rockbridge Growth Equity together holding the remaining 62%.

AEG established AXS in partnership with Outbox Technologies in 2011, following the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation a year earlier.

In 2015, AXS merged with ticketing company Veritix, owned by Rockbridge’s Gilbert.

In 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that TPG and Rockbridge were exploring options to sell their stake in AXS. It was believed the stake could go for as much as US$250 million.

The purchase comes after months of negotiations, with bids by CTS Eventim and ticketing startup Rival falling through. LionTree Advisors acted as financial advisor to Cirque Du Soleil, Outbox Holdings and Flash Seats in connection with the transaction.

“In just over eight years, AXS now sells nearly 50 million tickets annually around the world and this acquisition positions both AEG and AXS for continued growth,” says Dan Beckerman, president and chief executive of AEG.

“As a team owner, music promoter and venue owner/operator, ticketing is core to AEG’s business and this transaction allows us to more closely align our global asset portfolio,” adds Beckerman.

“AEG’s significant investment is a clear endorsement of our business strategy, technical expertise and growth potential”

“As an AXS client, we are focused on delivering innovation and product development that enhances the fan experience and creates opportunities to integrate data and generate new revenue streams for all AXS clients.”

Bryan Perez, chief executive of AXS comments that the transaction will allow the ticketing company “to further expand our footprint and product offerings.”

“AEG’s significant investment is a clear endorsement of our business strategy, technical expertise and growth potential,” continues Perez.

“Since 2011, our mission has been to transform the ticketing industry through innovative products, delivering the right ticket to the right fan and the right price and this transaction provides us the opportunity to accelerate that vision globally.”

AXS provides ticketing services to over 167 professional sports teams around the world and over 300 venues. The company is the official ticketing partner for venues including London’s O2 Arena (20,000-cap.) and SSE Arena, Wembley (12,500-cap.), the Los Angeles Staples Center (21,000-cap.), New York’s PlayStation Theatre (2,100-cap.) and the Target Centre in Minneapolis (19,356-cap.).

The company, which rolled out its resale solution in the UK in April, has been the official resale ticketing partner for AEG in North America since 2018.

AXS also recently expanded into Japan, where it is a joint venture partner with Yahoo Japan Corporation and Avex Entertainment in Passrevo, the ticketing entity behind Yahoo! Tickets.

For a comprehensive review of the state of the global ticketing industry, with in-depth explorations of recent consolidation in the sector, new ticketing tech and individual country markets, read IQ’s International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, available here.

 


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AXS adds former Eventbrite execs to business team

AEG ticketing partner AXS has added two former Eventbrite executives to its sales team, as the company continues to grow its music sector.

Shaun Eidson joins the team as vice president of sales for music and Stephanie Streeter takes on the role of senior director of sales for music.

Combined, the new hires have more than two decades worth of industry experience across business development, sales and strategic partnerships.

Having previously worked at fellow ticketing companies Eventbrite and StubHub, Eidson will develop and manage engagements with music venues, promoters and artists to implement the AXS platform in international markets.

Streeter, who helped lead the migration of Ticketfly clients over to the Eventbrite platform, will develop partnerships with music festivals, venues and promoters in her newly created role at AXS.

“Shaun and Stephanie bring deep knowledge of what artists and venues require from their ticketing partner”

Eventbrite now has fewer than 100 clients left to migrate, according to a recent Q2 financial report.

“The AXS platform is pushing the pace of innovation for the music industry at every level, from clubs and theatres to arenas, and we continue to add partners that are looking for more sophisticated and robust tools to help grow their businesses,” says Rob Sine, chief revenue officer for AXS, who both Streeter and Eidson will report to.

“Shaun and Stephanie bring deep knowledge of what artists and venues require from their ticketing partner to continue to serve the ever-evolving needs of artists, promoters, and fans and we are thrilled to have them join the AXS team.”

AXS launched its official price-capped resale platform at AEG-owned London arenas the O2 (20,000-cap.) and the SSE Arena (12,500) earlier this year.

 


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AXS partners with YouTube

AEG-backed ticketing agency AXS has partnered with YouTube to allow fans to purchase tickets to live events through the streaming platform.

Listings from AXS events across the United States will now appear on YouTube Official Artist Channels, allowing fans to directly purchase tickets to events.

YouTube now covers more than 90% of the US ticketing market, adding the AXS partnerships to existing deals with Eventbrite and Ticketmaster.

The ticketing company’s FanSight purchase experience, which includes both standard and resale tickets on one platform, will be accessible via a link displayed on artists’ YouTube videos.

“In partnership with YouTube, we are proud to continue extending the reach of the AXS platform naturally where fans are being fans,” says Dean DeWulf, senior vice president of music at AXS.

“This contextual integration enables the more than 1.3 billion YouTube users to be a click away from seeing their favourite bands live at AXS venues and events across the country.”

“This contextual integration enables the more than 1.3 billion YouTube users to be a click away from seeing their favourite bands live at AXS venues and events across the country”

A YouTube blog posts states the AXS partnership “marks a major expansion” for the streaming platform in terms of “artist reach and show availability”.

“One of the many ways YouTube keeps fans connected with their favourite artists is by highlighting upcoming tour dates and ticket links to upcoming shows,” reads the post.

“Today we’re taking it a step further by partnering with ticketing provider, AXS, to allow fans the option of quickly purchasing tickets to upcoming shows across the US directly on YouTube.”

AXS launched its price-capped Official Resale solution at London’s O2 Arena and the SSE Arena, Wembley in April, allowing concertgoers to resell tickets to other fans at a fair price.

Music Ally’s Patrick Ross discussed the potential of streaming for the live music business at the International Live Music Conference this year, referencing the power of advertising tours through YouTube.

 


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AXS Resale launches at the O2, SSE Arena Wembley

AEG and ticketing partner AXS have launched AXS’s Official Resale solution at AEG-owned venues the O2 and the SSE Arena, Wembley, preventing the resale of tickets for profit.

AXS first announced the UK launch of its price-capped secondary ticketing platform, then called AXS Marketplace, in June, naming the two London venues as its first partners.

AXS’ resale platform is now the only legitimate way to resell tickets that guarantee entry to both the 20,000-capacity O2 and 12,500-capacity SSE Arena, Wembley. Customers that buy tickets from other resale platforms risk having their tickets cancelled and entry denied.

AXS Official Resale allows fans to resell their tickets to others at a fair price, in the event they are no longer able to attend a show. Buyers can be assured of the legitimacy of tickets as the transaction takes place on the AXS system.

Fans will be able to see both primary and resale tickets together, giving them the choice from all available options in one place. A 10% cap on the original price paid for a ticket will be applied to resale tickets to prevent touting.

All tickets sold through the venue websites and via AXS.com will also utilise Flash Mobile Delivery, using unique digital identification technology to assign each individual ticket. This includes a dynamically changing barcode system to prevent ticket duplication and allows fans to share tickets easily with friends.

“The entire customer journey from buying tickets to attending a show will improve as a result of this new technology”

“We welcome this new safer and fairer option for visitors to our venue,” says Steve Sayer, vice president and general manager of the O2. “The new technology from our partner AXS will allow fans to access the venue in a simpler way and guarantee their tickets – whether primary or resale – are authentic, avoiding any disappointment.”

Vice president and general manager of the SSE Arena, Wembley, John Drury says “the ability to offer a fan-friendly ticketing service and resales at a fair price has long been our key goal.

“The entire customer journey from buying tickets to attending a show will improve as a result of this new technology,” adds Drury.

Robert Byrne, managing director of AXS Europe believes the technology will be a “real game-changer”.

“AXS is proud to provide a fully integrated platform across both the primary and resale markets, giving everyone the opportunity to sell and purchase tickets at a capped, fair price. This will help prevent ticket touting and help combat illegal counterfeiting,” comments the AXS managing director.

The new ticketing technology will be used for the first time at the O2 from 14 April and at the SSE Arena, Wembley from 18 April, and applies to all new events going on-sale.

AXS has been the official resale ticketing partner for AEG in North America since September 2018, serving such venues as the Los Angeles Staples Centre (21,000-cap.), New York’s PlayStation Theatre (2,100-cap.) and the Target Centre in Minneapolis (19,356-cap.).

 


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AXS integrates PayPal for streamlined ticketing experience

PayPal has become the official digital payments provider for AEG-backed ticket agency AXS. Integrating PayPal across various customer interactions, AXS hopes to provide fans with a truly mobile ticketing experience from purchase to performance.

Following the agreement, buyers on AXS platforms will be able to enter their PayPal account information at checkout to purchase tickets more quickly and effectively. Fans who resell tickets through price-capped secondary ticketing platform AXS Marketplace will receive swift reimbursements via their PayPal accounts.

In the United States, customers will also have the option to buy through the PayPal-owned digital wallet, Venmo, facilitating simple split payments and allowing users to share their live event experiences through social platforms.

“With the integration of PayPal, the entire event experience is even more seamless”

“Fans expect a familiar and secure payment experience to make purchasing tickets to a live event even easier, and integration with PayPal was the obvious choice for us,” said Ashish Kapur, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Digital Media at AXS.

The ticket agency aims to become ever more mobile-friendly with the addition of PayPal. The payment service will integrate with AXS Mobile ID, an innovative identity-based digital ticketing platform, through which fans can buy tickets and gain entry into events using mobile devices.

“Our ticketing platform combines standard and resale tickets so that no event is ever sold out for a fan who wants to attend,” says Kapur.

“Now, with the integration of PayPal, the entire event experience is even more seamless, and we look forward to working with them as we continue to innovate the ticketing process.”


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Ricoh Arena names AXS ticketing partner

AXS has agreed a four-year deal to become exclusive ticketing partner of UK rugby club Wasps and its home ground, Ricoh Arena.

With immediate effect, AXS will ticket Wasps games at the 32,609-seat Coventry stadium, as well as Wasps Netball and concerts, exhibitions and other live events.

AXS, partially owned by AEG, will provide Wasps with AXS Mobile ID, its identity-based digital ticketing platform, allowing fans to buy tickets and enter the stadium using their mobile devices for the first time; Fan Account, a portal that allows ticket purchasers to create a friends and family group; and Fansight, which displays seatmaps of the stadium in high-definition virtual reality.

“This partnership with Wasps is a major landmark as we move to expand our fan-friendly ticketing experience to more venues in the UK”

“This partnership with Wasps is a major landmark as we move to expand our fan-friendly ticketing experience to more venues in the UK,” says AXS senior vice-president and managing director for Europe, Rob Byrne. “AXS technology puts the fans back at the centre of the experience – where they should be.”

Upcoming concerts at Ricoh Arena include Stepback 90s (Peter Andre, Vengaboys, Five) on 13 October, Stepback 80s (Bananarama, ABC, Tony Hadley) on 22 December and next June’s Soundscape Weekender.

 


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Perez reveals international ambitions for AXS Marketplace

AXS is taking its US-based resale solution, AXS Marketplace, overseas for the first time, establishing its facilities in two iconic British venues – but potentially offering its services openly to primary ticketing operations across Europe.

AXS Marketplace has been operating in the United States for a number of years, where it has been extensively used by sports clients, but its launch in the UK will provide those visiting The O2 and the SSE Arena, Wembley, with a fair way to resell their event tickets. The Marketplace platform will provide the option to resell tickets at face value with a cap of no more than 10% above the price originally paid, thus allowing the original buyer to break even on a ticket’s resale.

Built-in controls also allow artists and promoters to manage restrictions on the resale of tickets to their shows as required. With the ability to provide better management over the resale market, AXS claims this will be the only ticketing solution that allows fans to buy and then resell through the same platform, meaning that both primary and secondary tickets for sale on AXS will be visible to consumers at the point of purchase in real time.

The method of delivery for AXS Marketplace – Flash Seats – is a mobile-friendly, identity based system, with tickets assigned directly to fans attending, replacing the standard PDF attached to an email. To alleviate the problems surrounding counterfeiting, all tickets are assigned to individuals via Flash Seats’ unique digital ID technology. This includes a dynamically changing barcode system, which ensures that the tickets cannot be copied or shared illegally, emphasising the company’s ongoing commitment to combatting fraud.

“We’re hoping other primary ticketing retailers will embrace Flash Seats”

“The ability to launch in these two iconic UK venues is pretty extraordinary,” AXS CEO Bryan Perez tells IQ. “We’re now working on getting the technology deployed and incorporating the tech into the AXS app: we need to set up accounting systems for the fans to include payment, for instance.”

Perez believes that because the problems associated with secondary ticketing affect the industry, the best way to resolve those issues is via an industry driven solution. “Our Flash Seats system is a very powerful anti-counterfeiting solution and we’re hoping that other primary ticketing retailers will embrace this,” he says, adding that the technology allows AXS to convert other tickets into Flash Tickets so that they can be resold via Marketplace.

The technology will be offered free of charge to the sellers of primary tickets for events at Wembley and The O2, but Perez reveals ambitions beyond those venues. “We’ll look to roll out Flash Seats in our AXS venues in Sweden, and will act otherwise on a market-by-market basis. But Flash Seats is built outside a ticketing system, so it can also be made available to other ticketing operations.”

 


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