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How is mobile ticketing impacting the live biz?

It is no secret just how much the music industry has evolved in the last five years alone, not to mention the last 20. Where teenagers once hovered over the ‘stop’ button to tape the top 40 charts on a Sunday evening, they now have millions of songs available on a mobile phone in their pocket. Indeed, the way we experience music has been completely revolutionised, and this is only set to continue.

Research from Visa Europe shows that one in five Europeans will make daily mobile payments by 2020 – a distinct leap from today’s one in ten. This shift from cash payments is now translating into the music space, with more and more concert-goers adopting mobile tickets as their preferred means of admission.

For the millennial music fan looking to attend their favourite concert, having to go through the whole rigmarole of purchasing the ticket, printing it or waiting for it to turn up in the post – and then finally take the paper ticket to the venue on the night of the event – is antiquated.

Today’s consumer uses a mobile device for even the most menial of tasks, and adopting mobile tickets to purchase concert tickets is another way of streamlining a process that would otherwise have been a great deal of hassle.

With mobile tickets eradicating the risk of tickets being lost or stolen, the security benefits of purchasing m-tickets are unquestionable, not to mention a solution to the issue of ticket touting; with the ticket now user-specific and on a mobile phone screen, touts pushing overpriced or even counterfeit tickets can be prevented.

There is a distinct sense of immediacy among younger music fans, and with new technologies, such as the Amazon Echo, listening to a preferred song takes no more effort than saying, ‘Alexa, play David Bowie.’ No further action is required beyond thinking of a song and verbally asking to hear it, and the consumer has instant gratification.

At a time when there is brand competition for almost every product on the market, personalisation is imperative for a business to win and sustain customer loyalty

These instantaneous behaviours translate into the live music space: as opposed to the old format of awaiting tickets to arrive in the post weeks before the concert, users are now more inclined to book a concert at the last minute. Be it as a result of seeing what’s on when visiting a new city, surprise line-up changes or simply as an impulsive outing, 30% of concert-goers buy tickets the day before the event. Save for relying on touts on the door, this spontaneity would not be possible without the dynamic technology that provides access to experiences in the here and now, as opposed to months down the line.

There is also significant demand to control the secondary market for tickets more efficiently, preventing touts and similar individuals looking to exploit consumers from acquiring large numbers of tickets and selling them to dedicated fans at extortionate mark-ups. With digitally encrypted, secure, account-based mobile tickets, promoters and event organisers can have more input into how tickets are resold if their original purchaser no longer wishes to attend the event. Not only can this help to control demand, pricing, security and keep an understanding of who is attending the event, it also benefits the secondary market purchaser as it ensures the tickets are indeed real and the music fan is not caught up in an online scam for a counterfeit or heavily overpriced ticket.

Along with providing better security and a simpler transaction, by purchasing a concert ticket via an app the user’s experience is widened greatly to provide an omni-channel experience that extends beyond the concert. By adopting mobile ticketing, the user also has the unique ability to be able to gift and share tickets immediately with friends and family; a father buying concert tickets for his two daughters can send the ticket directly to their device without the need to store it on his own.

Not only does this eradicate unnecessary admin for the user opting to send a ticket as gift, but also eliminates ‘ghosts’ in stadiums. A concert venue once had very little information on the people passing through its doors; now, however, through data accumulated via gifted m-tickets, they now have separate information and a more detailed picture formed on each of those ticketholders via the app.

Equally, once a stadium is fully aware of exactly who is in the building, it is also far easier for the business to manage its own capacity, with the ability to collaborate with a transport operator or music brand to incentivise a consumer to attend a concert at an alternative venue. For example, if a consumer based in Surrey is looking for tickets to a show in London that is currently running at a higher capacity than another tour date in Southampton, the ticket vendor has the opportunity to link with a transport operator or retailer to incentivise the customer to attend the concert at the second venue with an offer of discounted travel or goods as a reward.

As opposed to the old format of awaiting tickets to arrive in the post weeks before the concert, users are now more inclined to book a concert at the last minute

Through utilising the smart data received via a mobile app to harness the behaviour of the consumer, the business can monitor and adapt crowd levels in stadiums while at the same time creating an integrated eco-system that can manoeuvre queues within the building and manage the staff levels to accommodate these, sell product and, most importantly, provide a personalised service for the consumer that will enhance their experience and encourage repeat custom.

Not only this, the business has a direct line of communication with the consumer and has the capability of sending push notifications to alert the user to any updates around the concert, such as cancellations or line-up changes, in real time. At a time when there is brand competition for almost every product on the market, personalisation is imperative for a business to win and sustain customer loyalty.

Mobile ticketing apps are also a game-changing platform to offer pre and post-concert exclusive content – a consumer can log into a data capturing portal to register for bonus features such as video footage of the concert they just attended, competitions or even new music releases, all of which intensify the consumer’s experience.

The music business is ever-changing, and while some old-school music-lovers may not be as keen on the impact of digitalisation on the arts, it is evident that the benefits of mobile technology are prevalent throughout the industry through quicker, safer and easier channels for consumers to experience live music.


Ashley Murdoch is CEO of Corethree, a global leader in mobile ticketing and commerce.