NFTs: Umek to sell rights to live show as a token
Music analytics and data platform Viberate will tomorrrow be the first company to test the concept of a ‘live event NFT’ by selling the rights to a live performance as a non-fungible token.
The upcoming NFT ‘drop’ – ie the release, and subsequent auction, of the blockchain-based tokens – will start on 29 April at 8pm UK time (3pm EST) and run for 24 hours. Focusing on the work of techno DJ Umek, the drop will see buyers bid for rights one of three remixes of Umek’s 1999 hit ‘Lanicor‘, a livestreamed concert, or an in-person live performance.
Bidding for the livestream NFT begins at US$2,500, with the concert NFT starting at $5,000.
“We’re excited about NFTs and blockchain technology in general, as it really opens up new opportunities for artists and organisers to create transparent and secure bookings,” says Vasja Veber, Viberate co-founder and Umek’s manager.
“We hope to prove a concept with our NFT drop”
“The industry’s been in a sort of limbo this past year. As there are no live events, the artists try to make do by streaming their performances, but there’s no clear answer as to when and how things will return to normal – or even what ‘normal’ will mean by then.
“We hope to prove a concept with our NFT drop – any artist can make sure they’ll have a booking waiting for them once live gigs are back in the picture, and the terms of that booking are agreed upon in advance.”
If the concept proves successful, Viberate plans to provide its blockchain-based verification and token-minting services to the hundreds of thousands of artists in its database.
The NFT boom has so far seen artists offer VIP tickets, digital art and collectible albums in the format, though the Viberate event, in partnership with Blockparty, is the first to leverage the technology for booking artists.
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Finding gold in the glitter – how NFTs are going to impact ticketing
A recent discovery was made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that drew the attention of anyone in the vicinity: a hill was found to contain 98% gold in its soil. As can be expected after such a find, anyone within travelling distance with a shovel or fingernails has feverishly been digging away at the mountain, trying to extract its riches.
A video from the Republic of the Congo documents the biggest surprise for some villagers in this country, as an entire mountain filled with gold was discovered!
They dig the soil inside the gold deposits and take them to their homes in order to wash the dirt& extract the gold. pic.twitter.com/i4UMq94cEh
— Ahmad Algohbary (@AhmadAlgohbary) March 2, 2021
It’s not too difficult to draw a comparison between this mountain and the recent NFT hype.
If you have been consuming any type of media, social or other, chances are you will have heard the term ‘NFT’ several dozen times over the last few weeks. From Kings of Leon releasing their album as an NFT to sports mogul Ted Leonsis naming the benefits of NFTs in sports to digital artist Beeple auctioning off an NFT artwork for $69 million through esteemed auction house Christie’s.
Needless to say, there is a lot of hype around those three letters right now, as everyone begins sticking their shovels into this newly discovered mountain of gold. There seems to be no end to what it can provide; common dirt clusters are suddenly invaluable gems.
“NFT ticketing is a use case worth taking very seriously”
The obvious counter-response to a new trend that seems to be making everyone and their mother ridiculous amounts of money without any significant friction is to question its legitimacy.
However, simply dismissing NFTs as a fad or a money-grab would be a wasted opportunity. There is indeed merit to it, especially as its application and use cases are developed and fine-tuned.
For everyone in the entertainment industry, and especially the ticketing business, reading up on the possibilities and potential implementations of NFTs should be required homework.
Just an idea. There will be countless more from smart people in our industry. Innovation on digital platforms will be the big story of the economic comeback. Make dust— or eat dust.https://t.co/10JgS2Fgss
— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) March 16, 2021
I’ll explain why we’ve been working on an NFT ticketing approach over the past year at GET Protocol, and how we see it shaping the future of events.
But first, some basics. What is an NFT?
“The term is short for non-fungible token and, in plain English, refers to a small digital file – such as a drawing, a short video clip or even a tweet – that has been registered as one of a kind, or one of a limited batch, using blockchain software.” — Decrypt
Over the past few months NFTs have proven themselves useful in allowing digital content creators to take ownership over their craft and content. An artist now no longer relies on intermediaries such as agents, galleries or publishers to get their work in the hands of their (potential) fans.
While the headlines are filled with astronomical bidding wars and overnight millionaires, there’s a lot more to it than hot shot auctions and digital art, where most of the hype has originated from thus far.
“Dismissing NFTs as a fad or a money-grab would be a wasted opportunity”
NFT ticketing is a use case worth taking very seriously. When applied correctly, it enables ticket issuers a variety of benefits that impact and drastically improve the ticketing experience. Both for the fan and the organizer or artist.
Here are three benefits of NFT tickets we are embracing and will be offering to the ticketing companies using GET Protocol. Feel free to copy, tweak or critique them at your own discretion.
A. Perpetual revenue
Since NFT tickets are programmable, it is possible to introduce a built-in ‘royalty split’ for any resale on the secondary market. Profit sharing can be tweaked to the liking of the ticket issuer and written into the smart contract code.
Finally, those who actually deliver the value can profit from secondary ticket sales, instead of greedy touts or resale platforms. All without any need for complicated accounting or external parties.
B. Tickets as collectibles
This might seem gimmicky, but the sentimental experience of fandom should not be overlooked. Think of a digitised version of sticking the ticket to an unforgettable night on your refrigerator, only with way more possibilities to maximise the memories and cultivate a longstanding connection with a fan.
As NFTs, tickets can turn into proof-of-attendance badges (we are partnering with POAP for this purpose) which can be shown off online and even traded. It can also allow you to find and reward your diehard fans who go to every show, for example by sending exclusive content to those fans in possession of a previously issued ticket. The possibilities and variations here are limitless.
C. Pre-financing of future events
We are working on a ‘DeFi’ (decentralised finance – don’t worry, we’ll save that for another blog) approach that will allow event organisers to use their ticket inventory as collateral. This will enable organisers to offer up their (NFT) tickets for investment prior to making any organisational costs.
This type of crowdfund investing can help organisers mitigate (part of) the risk of setting up a new event. Especially in a post-Covid world, this can be a welcome change. Read more about this functionality here.
If you want to know more about the technical workings of our NFT ticketing approach, I highly recommend this blog: Tokenizing the right of entry — Using NFTs to solve ticket scalping.
Of course, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. As with all new developments there are certain doubts and downsides being propagated which are worth mentioning briefly.
The two major counter-arguments heard right now are:
- “It’s a bubble.” Certainly not every artwork is going to be sold for 69m dollars, nor is every initiative currently being founded and funded going to make a difference in the world. If you are looking to make a quick buck by speculating on NFT artworks, there is an ever-increasing chance that you might be too late and will end up taking a loss. However, if you approach the innovations that are taking place with a curious perspective, you will uncover ‘game-changer’ elements in many shapes and sizes.
- “It’s bad for the environment.” The most (loud) opposing voices use this argument to disqualify NFTs outright. While excessive energy consumption certainly is a factor worth monitoring and combating, there seems to be a lot of misinformation and confusion fuelling this particular train of thought. On top of that, there are several eco-friendly NFT initiatives already out there, and many more on the way. If you want to get a somewhat balanced sense of what this discussion entails, here are two recommendations: #1, #2.
Humble advice: Be critical – but don’t miss out by being a boomer. 😉
As NFT applications mature we will begin to see where the longevity lies and how impactful the newly uncovered innovations are going to be. There will undoubtedly be growing pains and challenges along the way, but all signs indicate that the road ahead is worth the trouble.
As long as you look close enough, there’s gold to be found for everyone.
Olivier Biggs is a marketeer at GET Protocol and GUTS Tickets. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to get in touch via the GET Protocol website or follow the company’s developments on Twitter.
Sick Festivals: 300+ events now affected by coronavirus
With the coronavirus forcing festival cancellations on a daily basis, music data start-up Viberate has launched Sick Festivals, a list of some 5,000 music festivals, updated daily, tracking which events are on, which are postponed and which have been cancelled altogether.
Slovenia-based Viberate has, at the time of writing, identified 141 cancelled and 185 postponed festivals. The data is sourced from artists, venues, events and festivals featured in Viberate’s blockchain-based music industry database, which the company hopes will become the ‘IMDb of music’.
The idea for Sick Festivals came when one of the company’s founders, techno DJ Uroš Umek (aka DJ Umek), started receiving a slew of festival cancellations, he explains: “Just a week ago, I played on the Resistance stage at Ultra in Melbourne and Sydney, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. When I landed back home and turned my phone back on, most of my upcoming gigs had already disappeared from my calendar.
“That was when I realised how serious this outbreak had become in a matter of days. It feels eerily dystopian.
“It’s up to us to do whatever we can to manage the damage”
“Now it’s up to us to do whatever we can to manage the damage. At Viberate, we quickly put together a service that we hope will help people see what’s going on with the festival they had been planning to visit, and shed a light onto industry professionals’ income loss, which is no laughing matter.”
In addition to listing festivals’ current statuses, Sick Festivals allows fans to express their disappointment at cancellations/postponements, demonstrated by a sad-face emoji next to the festival’s entry. (At press time, Coachella had 19,175 sad faces, some 5,000 more than Ultra Miami and 9,000 more than Glastonbury.)
Viberate, one of the first wave of music-focused cryptocurrencies, started out as an Airbnb-like service which promised to cut out the agency middle man and connect unsigned musicians (who would be paid in Viberate’s native crypto, the vibe) with a database of those who might want to book them.
Nearly three years on, its creators are focused on building blockchain-powered database that maps the entire live music business, including artists, music venues, booking agencies, festivals and other music events.
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Amsterdam’s GUTS Tickets sets up shop in Korea
The team behind Dutch blockchain ticketing platform GUTS Tickets is launching getTicket, a new ticketing company based in South Korea.
Working together with local partners, GUTS is bringing its anti-tout and anti-fraud ticketing technology to Asia. GetTicket is ready to sell its first tickets, with GUTS stating that “multiple big events” are already lined up.
Founded in 2016, GUTS uses the blockchain-based GET Protocol to register all transactions, allowing organisers to track each ticket bought, alerting them to duplication or above-face-value resale. All ticket bought through GUTS are registered to the buyer’s mobile phone.
Put simply, says the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, “GUTS has come up with a technology that prevents unwanted third parties intervening in the ecosystem between event organiser and the end consumer.”
“Our mission of becoming the worldwide standard for digital ticketing is nowhere near to complete”
The company has broken multiple blockchain ticketing records, most recently powering the sale for two 35,000-capacity shows by pop star Guus Meeuwis at the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven. GUTS is the official ticketing partner of Dutch festival Oerrock.
GetTicket is GUTS’ first venture outside of the Netherlands.
“Over the 3.5 years since we sold our first ticket, the team has put forth a world-class achievement,” says Maarten Bloemers, founder of GUTS Tickets.
“The fact that we are now getting recognition on a global scale makes me incredibly proud. However, our mission of becoming the worldwide standard for digital ticketing is nowhere near to complete. We won’t rest until we get there.”
Companies in over 40 countries worldwide have shown interest in using GUTS’ white label ticketing solution. Following the launch of getTicket, the company plans on launching its technology in other markets.
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GUTS Tickets partners with Dutch festival Oerrock
Amsterdam-based blockchain ticketing service GUTS Tickets will supply all digital tickets for the upcoming edition of Oerrock festival in Friesland, the Netherlands.
Founded in 2016, GUTS has broken multiple blockchain ticketing records, most recently powering the sale for two 35,000-capacity shows by pop star Guus Meeuwis at the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven.
The new partnership will see GUTS provide ticketing for the three-day festival, which takes place from 21 to 23 May 2020. Line-up details will be released when tickets go on sale on Wednesday 15 January.
Founded in 2000, Oerrock now attracts over 35,000 visitors a year. Last year’s festival featured Dutch artists including Meeuwis, Golden Earring, Miss Montreal and the Dirty Daddies.
“It’s a huge improvement that we are now preventing all unwanted resales of tickets”
“We think this step is beneficial for our festival and our visitors,” comments festival treasurer Kees-Jan Dijk. “And of course it’s a huge improvement that we are now preventing all unwanted resales of tickets.”
Tickets bought via GUTS are registered to the mobile phone of the buyer, protecting fans from touting or fraud. All transactions are registered with blockchain technology, allowing organisers to track each ticket and preventing duplication or above-face-value resale.
“We are proud to work with such a likeable and sincere organisation. Together, we’ll provide the visitors of Oerrock an awesome and carefree weekend,” adds GUTS founder and CEO Maarten Bloemers.
Tickets will become available here, with weekend tickets priced at €38.75.
TM targets 500m tickets on the blockchain
Ticketmaster’s vice-president of blockchain products, Sandy Khaund, says the world’s biggest ticket seller aims to have up to 500 million tickets registered and sold using blockchain-based smart contracts, following its acquisition last year of Khaund’s company, Upgraded.
Speaking at Elev8 in Las Vegas on Monday (9 December), Upgraded founder Khaund discussed the value that Ethereum-style self-executing ‘smart’ contracts can bring to the ticketing sector, telling delegates: “Our goal is to support 400–500 million tickets using smart contracts and blockchain technology.”
According to Cointelegraph, Khaund said Ticketmaster is focusing on the value that blockchain technology (best known as the framework for cryptocurrency transactions) can bring to its business, as well as how best to communicate that to its customers.
“We want fans to get more value out of their tickets, while ensuring that tickets end up in the right hands. Blockchain is the only technology that can do this by using smart contracts to digitally define the ticketing industry,” he explained.
“Ticketmaster has technology that is almost 40 years old. Using smart contracts on a blockchain network creates a unique system for Ticketmaster by writing code for each ticket we sell. We run this over a private blockchain network to ensure privacy and optimisation around tickets.
“We want fans to get more value out of their tickets, while ensuring that tickets end up in the right hands”
To explain how this works in practice, Khaund used a case study focusing on Pearl Jam, reports Cointelegraph. When Pearl Jam performed its series of Home Shows to help raise money for the homeless, he explained, the band wanted to charge US$150 per ticket, which inevitably led to their being resold for profit.
“Some people wanted to pay more than $150 per ticket, even though they were purchased at this price,” he said. “We needed to make these tickets non-transferable, so we gave out two tickets. The first went to the issuer and couldn’t be transferred. The second ticket could only be transferred once. We were able to do this in 15 minutes once we wrote a smart contract for this use case, which contained an overriding function around transfers, along with a transfer counter.”
While the blockchain tech is useful for Ticketmaster, Khaund said it should be invisible to the customer. “We want people to like our products,” he said. “It’s not about the technology for the end users.”
“Our job is to make sure the integration process for tickets is seamless with other systems, like SafeTix,” he added. “We also plan to support millions of tickets that won’t cause lag time for customers. Finally, we plan to make tickets smarter. This technology is programmable by nature and we need to continue coming up with creative use cases.”
Chainsmokers back blockchain ticketer YellowHeart
Electronic dance music (EDM) stars the Chainsmokers, along with manager Adam Alpert, have lent their support to YellowHeart, a blockchain ticketing platform led by music industry executive Josh Katz.
Katz, a former record company executive and the founder of corporate subscription music provider El Media Group, plans to launch YellowHeart next year, as a “socially responsible live event ticketing platform”.
YellowHeart allows artists, organisers and venue operators to set a maximum resale price and dictate how profits are divided.
The platform is fully decentralised and runs on a public blockchain, allowing those selling the tickets to identify and sell directly to fans.
“The plague of the scalping industry is something I’ve talked to artists and friends about for years, and with the unprecedented growth of this underground system, we knew it was time to find a real solution,” says YellowHeart founder and CEO Katz.
“Blockchain offers us the unique ability to track the entire ticketing lifecycle, which means the tickets end up in the hands of the fans, and no one else”
“While technology and secondary ticketing sites are to blame for the growth of scalpers, we believe that technology is also our solution,” continues Katz. “Blockchain offers us the unique ability to track the entire ticketing lifecycle, which means the tickets end up in the hands of the fans, and no one else.”
Alpert, CEO of Disruptor Records and the manager of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, known as the Chainsmokers, adds that the duo have been “outspoken” about the issue of ticket touting.
“We are excited to partner with YellowHeart to provide a smart and effective solution that gives control back to artists and fans,” says Alpert.
Blockchain is one of a range of new technologies changing the ways tickets are sold. Read more about the different tools ticketing firms are using in IQ‘s International Ticketing Yearbook 2019.
Tickets Cloud launches new smart ticketing tech
Cloud-based ticketing platform Tickets Cloud trialled an updated version of its crypto.tickets distributed ledger technology at electronic music festival Signal.
Tickets Cloud launched ethereum-based crypto.tickets in 2017, using the blockchain platform to sell tickets for a 6,000-capacity Kraftwerk concert in February 2018. The newest version of the technology debuted at Signal festival, which took place from 15 to 18 August in Nikola-Lenivets, Russia.
More than 2,000 tickets were transferred using the technology, increasing the data available to organisers by 15%. Festivalgoers were also able sell unwanted tickets through the platform, with organisers receiving a cut for tickets sold on for higher than face value.
Each ticket was distributed with a unique, dynamic QR code to a Tickets Wallet, available on Android and Apple smartphones. All transactions were recorded in a distributed blockchain registry, providing access to the ticket’s “history” and owner information.
“We wanted to save our customers from issues like fake tickets and scams happening around the resale of tickets, and we also wanted to streamline ticket purchase and admission, making it safe and convenient,” says Sergeev Fadeev, CEO and founder of Signal Festival.
“We like to implement new exciting technologies so we decided to experiment with smart tickets, and we were not disappointed,” adds Fadeev.
“We like to implement new exciting technologies so we decided to experiment with smart tickets, and we were not disappointed”
Festival organisers were able to send messages to attendees, notifying them of any schedule changes or sending greeting from artists. Data from the app allowed organisers to identify the most engaged fans, offering promotional opportunities for future events.
Over 250 valid ticket holders communicated with each other via a chat room, arranging meet-ups, exchanging gig photos and swapping performance opinions.
“Every festival, every musical event unites like-minded people, and that’s why we’re focused on the social component of our app,” says Egor Egerev, founder of Tickets Cloud and сrypto.tickets.
Tickets Cloud currently sells tickets using crypto.tickets technology to more than 30 local events in Russia and is preparing to launch the technology at its first events in Europe and the USA.
Crypto.tickets can be integrated with any ticketing system, with Eventbrite already offering the necessary integration, in addition to Tickets Cloud.
Speaking to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, Tickets Cloud founder and managing director of the Moscow Ticketing Forum, Katerina Kirillova, told IQ that crypto-tickets were the “antidote to illicit resale”.
Ticketing start-up FanDragon makes senior hires
Mobile ticketing firm FanDragon Technologies has announced three new hires, including ticket industry veteran Steve Machin as global director of ticketing strategy and innovation.
Machin is joined by chief business officer/general counsel Mark Weiss and chief of staff Jason Black, with all three reporting director to FanDragon’s CEO, Robert Weiss.
“Seasoned executives like Steve, Mark and Jason will help inform our market strategy and push the limits of innovation,” says Robert Weiss. “These key hires bring decades of ticketing, business and tech expertise to FanDragon. I’m excited to continue building out our roster of industry experts who will fuel rapid company growth and reimagine the ticketing experience for all events.”
The appointment of Machin, Weiss and Black comes after FanDragon’s official launch late last month. According to the LA-headquartered company, the three will oversee FanDragon’s “efforts to deploy its full portfolio of SaaS services across the entire ticketing ecosystem”, including sports, music, theatre, cinema, family entertainment and more.
FanDragon provides software solutions that can be integrated into existing applications, and has been designed to commercialise the Aventus digital assets-focused blockchain protocol.
“These key hires bring decades of ticketing, business and tech expertise to FanDragon”
Steve Machin’s industry experience comes from several senior corporate roles, including at Live Nation, where he developed the UltraStar fan-club business. At Ticketmaster, Machin served as head of European music, introducing several new services, including global presales, following a spell overseeing acquisitions in corporate development.
More recently, he has worked as an independent entrepreneur and consultant on various ticketing and tech businesses. He also chairs the popular annual new tech session at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London.
Mark Weiss, meanwhile, spent 18 years at Staples, where he closed over US$15 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions, and recently worked at private investment firm Cerberus, while Black’s experience includes spells at MTV, Fuse and EMI Music Publishing.
“With our proprietary SaaS [software-as-a-service] tech, FanDragon is setting a new standard for mobile ticket delivery,” continues Robert Weiss, “from tackling fraud head on and simplifying ticket transfer to putting the digital ticket at the heart of fan engagement.”
FanDragon eyes mobile ticket revolution
FanDragon Technologies has launched with US$12 million in funding to spearhead the development of secure ticket delivery solutions for mobile ticketing. The company has simultaneously announced veteran technologist and entrepreneur Robert Weiss as founding chief executive officer.
FanDragon does not sell tickets, but rather provides software solutions that can be integrated into existing applications. The technology has been designed to commercialise the Aventus digital assets-focused blockchain protocol.
The company claims that rights-holders and fans can experience a more secure ticketing event experience and eliminate counterfeiting and unauthorised ticket resale. At the same time, rightsholders can engage directly with fans through FanDragon’s unique wallet feature, provide ticket purchasers with information about the event, and better understand the fans who attend multiple shows.
A FanDragon spokesperson says the company is unable to disclose its investors, but provided IQ with the following quote from Weiss: “At FanDragon Technologies, we’re focused on transforming ticket delivery. Our mission is to provide innovative, secure technology to any organisation that sells tickets helping them to delight their customers with a truly agnostic mobile-first experience.
“Our blockchain-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) [platform] empowers anyone from venues to ticket vendors, and all points in between, to acquire visibility and regain control while unlocking new revenue streams through audience engagement. We’re targeting businesses across the full spectrum of ticketing markets, including sports, music, theatre, cinema, family entertainment and theme parks.”
“We’re targeting businesses across the full spectrum of ticketing markets…”
The FanDragon and Aventus teams have been collaborating for the past several months to design a next-generation blockchain-powered SaaS platform.
In a joint statement, Aventus founders and IQ Trailblazers Annika Monari and Alan Vey comment: “We created the Aventus Protocol with the goal of addressing consumer frustration, giving talent and venues the option of enforcing pricing, and improving confidence around selling and buying tickets.”
FanDragon’s board of directors consists of Weiss, Monari, Vey and Mike Jones, the former CEO of Myspace and current CEO/co-founder of start-up Incubator Studio and the Science Inc. fund.
Before being named CEO of FanDragon Technologies, Weiss served for nearly five years as the CEO of the Arpanet Group, a technology and digital media advisory and investment firm.
The convergence of secure ticketing and blockchain technology saw the acquisition of Upgraded by Ticketmaster in October 2018, the company which also added anti-counterfeiting service SafeTix to digital tickets in May. The Aventus Protocol, meanwhile, launched its solution in 2018, after raising more than $18m in an ICO (initial coin offering) and recruiting the likes of promoter Bernie Dillon, ticketing consultant Michael Waterson, tech guru Andrew Ford and former Eventim UK MD Rob Edwards.