Dice launches in Canada
Music ticketing platform Dice has furthered its expansion across North America by launching in Toronto, marking its debut in Canada.
The launch comes alongside the app’s announcement of exclusive deals with partners including Toronto’s largest independent concert promoter Collective Concerts, as well as Transmit Presents, The Garrison, Baby G, Not Dead Yet, Soluna, South Paw and Prepare the Ground.
“Toronto is the perfect stage for Dice’s Canadian debut,” says Dice president Russ Tannen. “With our new partners, we can bring fans in Canada the shows they love with an easy, innovative, and transparent ticketing experience that was designed for them.”
Dice has also announced 15-year Toronto music industry veteran Dave Lock as its first Canadian hire.
“I’m thrilled to be leading Dice’s expansion into Canada and can’t wait to see how this transforms an industry that has been in desperate need of innovation”
“After my introductory meeting with the Dice team, the first thing I thought was how much I wish we had Dice when I was going to shows in Toronto growing up,” says Lock, who will serve as Dice’s director of venue & promoter partnerships in Canada.
“Their fan first app and discovery features are game changers that almost every promoter and venue owner I’ve worked with over the past 15 years have been asking for. I’m thrilled to be leading Dice’s expansion into Canada and can’t wait to see how this transforms an industry that has been in desperate need of innovation.”
Dice launched in North America in 2019, quickly scaling into key markets across the US including New York City and Los Angeles.
In August, the company raised a $65 million funding round led by MUSIC, which has helped accelerate Dice’s geographical expansion. Dice has recently entered new markets such as Scotland, Liverpool and Miami, in addition to landmark deals in Europe with venues like Alexandra Palace and recent renewals with Troxy, among others.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
Dice reveals plans after $65m funding round
Ticketing and event discovery platform Dice is stepping up its global expansion plans after raising a $65 million funding round led by music-focused investment company MUSIC.
MUSIC CEO Matt Pincus has also joined the Dice board of directors, while other investors include Structural Capital and Ahdritz Holding LLC, the investment vehicle for Kobalt Music founder and chair Willard Ahdritz, alongside follow on investments from Exor Ventures and Mirabaud Lifestyle Fund.
The funding will help accelerate Dice’s launch in new cities, as it continues to grow across the US and globally, with a new partnership announcement for Austin, Texas, imminent in the wake of a series of European deals. It will also support Dice’s ongoing product investments.
“The live music industry is adopting Dice faster than ever and proves our thesis that if you treat fans well, they buy more tickets, and go out more often,” says the company’s founder and CEO Phil Hutcheon. “We’re investing heavily in building even more technology and this year alone we released over 60 new features for fans, venues and artists. I’m excited that Matt has joined the board and we’re more focused than ever on our mission to get fans out more.”
In addition, Ali Byrd, most recently of AI healthcare technology company Olive, has been appointed as the firm’s chief financial officer. New York-based Byrd previously held senior positions at Microsoft, CoverWallet and Limewire.
“Dice did the impossible: They made buying a ticket fun. And by doing that, they became much more than a transaction provider,” says entrepreneur and investor Pincus. “Dice is the premier user-centric engagement platform for the most important consumers in music: people who love to go to shows.”
“Dice has come a long way on their vision, and today it’s even clearer that the live industry needs changing”
Launched in 2014, Dice reported the biggest year in its history last year, with more than 55,000 artists and 10,000 venues and promoters using the firm to sell tickets to their shows, but confirmed a number of redundancies earlier this summer as part of a restructure of the business.
“We recently made the difficult decision to restructure parts of our business to ensure we can focus on our most important initiatives,” said a spokesperson for Dice earlier this month. “This is not an exercise we carry out lightly and we’re sad that we have to say goodbye to colleagues that we love working with and respect enormously.”
The company, which launched in Scotland in April, already operates in markets including the UK, US, France, India, Italy, Spain and Germany.
“I met Phil [Hutcheon] in 2015 having heard about Dice,” says Ahdritz. “Rolling out AWAL at that time, I needed so many more venues for all my acts to play. Dice delivers a transformative experience for all stakeholders – from fans to venues to artists and looked like the future for live music. Dice has come a long way on their vision, and today it’s even clearer that the live industry needs changing. I am excited to have the opportunity to be part of the company as an investor.”
Kai Tse, structural capital co-founder and managing partner, adds: “Structural Capital is very excited to be involved in helping Dice continue its success and future growth. We believe Dice is a true industry innovator.”
This funding follows a string of strategic hires including the appointment of music industry veteran Caron Veazey to Dice’s board of directors, as well as former SVP of growth and marketing at HBO Max, Katie Soo, as chief business officer.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
Ticketing platform Dice confirms layoffs
Ticketing and event discovery platform Dice has confirmed it has let go a number of employees as part of a restructure of the business.
Resident Advisor reports the creative and marketing teams most heavily affected, as the firm plans to work with more freelancers going forward. It is believed the number of redundancies accounts for less than 10% of Dice’s global workforce.
Launched in 2014, Dice reported the biggest year in its history last year, with more than 55,000 artists and 10,000 venues and promoters using the firm to sell tickets to their shows.
“This is not an exercise we carry out lightly and we’re sad that we have to say goodbye to colleagues that we love working with and respect enormously”
“We recently made the difficult decision to restructure parts of our business to ensure we can focus on our most important initiatives,” says a spokesperson for Dice. “This is not an exercise we carry out lightly and we’re sad that we have to say goodbye to colleagues that we love working with and respect enormously.”
The firm, which launched in Scotland in April, operates in markets including the UK, US, France, India, Italy, Spain and Germany.
Dice tells The Ticketing Business that it would be continuing to make “strategic hires that will drive forward” growth opportunities, such as the appointment of Katie Soo as chief business officer earlier this year.
Dice raised up to US$122 million in Series C funding in 2021, led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with follow on investments from Tony Fadell’s Future Shape, Blisce, French entrepreneur Xavier Niel, Mirabaud Private Equity, Cassius and Evolution.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
LGBTIQ+ List 2023: Dev Mistry, DICE
The LGBTIQ+ List 2023 – IQ Magazine’s third annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.
The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s third Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.
To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.
Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Check out yesterday’s profile with Saskhia Menendez, Keychange innovator & board of directors at The F-List Music in London, UK.
The series continues with Dev Mistry (he/him/his), global internal comms manager at DICE in London, UK.
Dev Mistry started his career in communications just under ten years ago, working across automotive, entertainment, and tech industries. Working predominantly within communications roles, he also championed DEI within his work and personal life, ensuring practices and processes were amended to be more equitable, creating safe spaces and forums, and more recently, championing diverse representation in live performance spaces – both on and off stage.
Now at DICE, Dev not only co-chairs the #Pride365 employee community group, but he also consults on LGBTQ+ projects across the business, as well as being an active performer in London’s queer cabaret scene.
Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2023 so far.
Helping to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ members at DICE, to encourage debate, conversation, and community. We’re in our early stages, but it’s been refreshing to see people actively want to get involved and drive conversations on topics, which range from queer pop culture to legislation and human rights. It’s important to me that people from across DICE globally have this space to share how they feel but also feel seen, heard, and included.
Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
Tom Rasmussen! I’ve already seen them, so this is technically cheating, but I’d been wanting to see them for so long, and their music and stage presence are insane. The setup was so simple, but the execution was perfect – you could hear the passion in their voice, and the crowd lapped it up.
What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Believe in your work and yourself. Your identity is a strength, giving you a unique insight and lens on the world and that should be championed. We’re so often pigeonholed into how we should look and behave in the workplace – which is often based on outdated stereotypes, and actually what’s overlooked is what we actually bring to the table. I’ve worked on that through my career, with the help of mentors and friends, and now I use my identity as a strength, the power of self-understanding goes a long way.
“I once called my former COO ‘hun’ in a meeting by accident…it opened a conversation that I never dreamed of happening”
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
I once called my former COO ‘hun’ in a meeting by accident. It was mortifying at the time, but it opened a conversation that I never dreamed of happening. We spoke more about LGBTQ+ experiences, about being our authentic selves at work, and also about how corporate workplaces are often subconsciously designed to be daunting to anyone who isn’t a cis white straight man.
In terms of challenges in the industry, what’s currently keeping you up at night?
The appropriation of queer culture, communities, and aesthetics, without the reinvestment into the LGBTQ+ community and also the creation of safe spaces and policies for LGBTQ+ people. There have been countless examples of this in 2023 so far alone, and it’s something that needs to be addressed across the industry. Mighty Hoopla festivals are a great example of teams who are getting this right – creating safe spaces that are enjoyable and engaging.
How do you see the live music business developing in the next few years?
DICE’s mission has always been ‘to get people out more,’ and I don’t think that will change, people will always be drawn to live music as it continues to bring people together. I think the way we see people come up through different platforms will shake up the traditional ways in how artists and venues are discovered and championed.
“Physical accessibility is one obvious way in which venues and artists could do better”
Name one thing you’d like to see the live music business change.
I’d like it to be more accessible from a number of angles. Physical accessibility is one obvious way in which venues and artists could do better, but also when we look at accessibility to live events as a concept – what are the barriers that are holding people back from attending live shows, and how can we help remove them?
Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
Find ways to combat secondary ticketing touting and remove dynamic pricing as a concept. It’s unfair to fans and prices people out of seeing their favourite artists, almost immediately.
Shout out to your biggest ally in the live music industry.
I can’t pick one – it takes an army, but I’d like to give a shout out to all of the venues in London that are becoming safe spaces for queer people, as many queer venues have unfortunately had to close in recent years. Training their security and staff, allowing queer people to enjoy live music and entertainment freely, and being supportive of queer rights and lives.
Do you support any LGBTIQ+ causes?
There are too many to mention, but off the top of my head, I’d say: London Trans Pride, The Bitten Peach, First Brick Housing, The Cocoa Butter Club, and The Royal Vauxhall Tavern – London.
Ticketing biz reacts to ‘all-in’ pricing pledge
Music companies and organisations have delivered their verdicts on Joe Biden’s announcement on ticket fee transparency.
The US president confirmed yesterday (15 June) that Live Nation and SeatGeek have pledged to adopt “all-in” ticket pricing, which will allow fans to see the full ticket price upfront, including fees.
Live Nation says it will begin providing all-in pricing experience this September for concerts at the venues and festivals it operates across the US.
“Live Nation is proud to provide fans with a better ticket buying experience,” says Tom See, president of LN’s Venue Nation. “We have thousands of crew working behind the scenes every day to help artists share their music live with fans, and we’ll continue advocating for innovations and reforms that protect that amazing connection.”
The company has advocated for all-in pricing to become law for many years, and joined with an industry-wide coalition earlier this year to promote FAIR Ticketing Reforms. Live Nation attended a forum at the White House yesterday hosted by Biden to discuss the move and other potential reforms.
“The president’s commitment to scrap junk fees is a huge step forward for a more enjoyable, more equitable live experience”
Biden, who called out “junk fees” in his State of the Union address earlier this year, was joined by representatives of firms who have made new commitments, as well as platforms that already provide all-in pricing as part of their business models, such as Dice and the Newport Festivals Foundation.
“The president’s commitment to scrap junk fees is a huge step forward for a more enjoyable, more equitable live experience,” says Dice CEO Phil Hutcheon. “Dice has always done upfront pricing and it leads to more fans going out more often, and ensures everyone can access the artists they love. It’s great for fans, artists and live venues.”
However, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which represents more than 2,000 independent concert venues, stresses the need for further reform in the sector.
“Upfront pricing should be the start of comprehensive ticketing reform that protects consumers from price gouging and deceptive practices by predatory resellers,” says executive director Stephen Parker. “Other needed reforms such as banning speculative tickets and deceptive websites would further protect consumers in the ticketing marketplace. We applaud the president for [yesterday’s] meeting and look forward to working with his administration and Congress to make comprehensive, bipartisan ticketing reform a reality.”
“Until Congress acts to eliminate excessive fees and secondary ticketing is carefully regulated, millions of consumers will still be the victim of predatory ticketing practices”
The National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), the trade group for hundreds of independent booking agents and managers in the US, shares similar thoughts, deeming the move an “important first step” on ticket fee transparency.
“NITO calls on all ticket sellers to clearly show fans the total price of a ticket up front but also provide an itemised breakdown so fans understand the ticket price set by the artist and the fees added by ticket sellers. Until Congress acts to eliminate excessive fees and secondary ticketing is carefully regulated, millions of consumers will still be the victim of predatory ticketing practices.”
Live Nation, SeatGeek agree to all-in pricing
US president Joe Biden has announced that Live Nation and SeatGeek have pledged to adopt all-in ticket pricing, which will enable fans to see the full cost of their transactions upfront.
The move comes four months after Biden called out “junk fees” in his State of the Union address and nine months after he first called for the reduction or elimination of hidden fees, charges, and add-ons for concert tickets.
Live Nation has been a vocal proponent of all-in pricing: it was recently described as “the best consumer experience everywhere” by company president/CFO Joe Berchtold and rolled into LN’s Fair Ticketing Act, launched earlier this year.
Biden will be joined today by representatives of firms who have made new commitments, including LN, SeatGeek and Des Moines, Iowa-based venue xBk, in addition to platforms that already provide all-in pricing as part of their business models, such as Dice and the Newport Festivals Foundation.
“The companies that are making new commitments today will improve the purchasing experience for tens of millions of customers annually”
“The companies that are making new commitments today will improve the purchasing experience for tens of millions of customers annually,” says a statement from The White House. “These commitments are in response to the president’s call to action on junk fees in his State of the Union. For example, shortly after the State of the Union, Live Nation expressed interest to the administration in announcing a commitment to offer all-in upfront pricing through its Ticketmaster platform.
“Today, Live Nation is committing to roll out an upfront all-in pricing experience in September showing just one clear, total price for more than 30 million fans who attend shows at the more than 200 Live Nation-owned venues and festivals across the country. Ticketmaster will also add a feature to give consumers the option to receive all-in upfront pricing for all other tickets sold on the platform.”
Biden suggests the move is merely a “first step” and is continuing to call on Congress to pass legislation that mandates up-front all-in pricing for all ticket sellers.
“Today’s voluntary actions demonstrate that companies both big and small recognise the importance of providing consumers with honest, up-front all-in pricing, rather than tricking them with surprise fees at the end of checkout,” adds the statement.
Dice secures Ally Pally ticketing partnership
Live event discovery platform Dice has secured its biggest UK venue partnership to date after being named the primary ticketing partner for London’s Alexandra Palace.
The independent venue, which delivers events for capacities ranging from 1,000 to 50,000 across its Theatre, West Hall, Great Hall and Park, celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. It has upcoming gigs from Jessie Ware, The National, McFly and Fatboy Slim, as well as a summer series of outdoor events featuring Kaleidoscope Festival, headlined by Hot Chip.
Dice will also be the main ticketing provider for Ally Pally’s community events, such as November’s annual Fireworks Festival and Creative Learning programme, which deliver hundreds of activities each year. In addition, it will support ticketing of exhibitions and sports events at the Palace.
“We’re honoured to be working with such a historic venue, giving fans access to their incredible events, securely through Dice, without having to worry about crashing websites or ticket touts,” says Dice president Russ Tannen.
Dice says that more than 40% of its sales come via its Discovery tool, which recommends personalised events and suggested shows for friends to enjoy together.
“It’s a partnership we can’t wait to get started”
“Our events programme at the Palace has grown significantly in recent times, now attracting a million visitors a year, with every £1 we make going back into supporting our community projects and charitable objectives,” says Lucy Fenner, commercial director at Alexandra Palace. “We are looking forward to working with the Dice team to build on this huge progress and deliver fans more amazing live music, festivals and more. It’s a partnership we can’t wait to get started.”
Dice operates in markets including the UK, US, France, India, Italy, Spain and Germany. Launched in 2014, the company reported the biggest year in its history last year, with more than 55,000 artists and 10,000 venues and promoters using the firm to sell tickets to their shows.
Emma Dagnes, CEO at Alexandra Palace, adds: “As a charity and an independent venue, we want to provide truly amazing experiences to millions of people every year, whether that’s through hosting household names on our biggest stages, or via our extensive range of community events. Dice’s ethos and fan-first approach feels a great fit for this, and we are looking forward to working together as we continue to grow our cultural and entertainment programmes here at the Palace.”
Wasserman, See Tickets and more form Fix the Tix
Nineteen organisations from across the music industry have formed a coalition to “collectively advocate for a ticketing experience better than the nightmare many fans and artists currently navigate”.
The coalition, named Fix the Tix, comprises companies and associations operating in North America such as Wasserman, See Tickets, Universal Music Group and DICE.
“With representation from venues, promoters and producers, the performing arts, artists groups, recorded music, and independent ticketing companies, this coalition represents stakeholders who take on all the risk to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences and bring joy, employment, and economic impact to communities across America,” reads a statement from the alliance.
“We are collectively advocating for a ticketing experience better than the nightmare many fans and artists currently navigate”
“We are coming together to protect fans from price gouging and deceptive and predatory ticketing practices.”
The creation of the coalition comes during an upheaval of ticketing practices in the US, with lawmakers attempting to clamp down on ticket sellers.
Fix the Tix is the latest coalition to be formed by the live industry after Fans & Artists Insisting on Reforms (FAIR) Ticketing, launched in March by 20 companies including Live Nation, CAA, UTA, Wasserman Music and WME.
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino this week addressed high-profile furores over ticket prices and on-sales and identified areas of improvement for the ticketing industry.
Fix the Tix has promised more “important announcements” in the coming weeks.
At launch, the coalition includes:
• National Independent Venue Assocation (NIVA)
• American Association of Independent Music (A2IM)
• Americans for the Arts (AFTA)
• Artist Rights Alliance
• Arts Action Fund (AAF)
• Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP)
• Black Music Action Coalition
• Future of Music Coalition
• Music Artists Coalition
• Music Managers Forum (MMF-US)
• National Independent Talent Organization (NITO)
• Recording Academy
• Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
• Seattle Theatre Group
• See Tickets
• Songwriters of North America
• Universal Music Group
Dice launches in Scotland
Live event discovery platform Dice has launched in Scotland as the new primary ticketing partner to Edinburgh-based promoter Watchtower Group.
The first events to go on sale via Dice will be Watchtower’s flagship FLY Open Air Festivals. The 8,000-cap May edition takes place at Hopetoun House, with the 4,000-cap September show taking place under the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Dice will also ticket the group’s club events and tours.
Previously known as FLY Events, Watchtower recently announced its rebrand and restructure into a group following its biggest year to date. FLY is one of the country’s best known club brands, having developed homegrown Scottish talent for the past 10 years.
“We’ve been following and admiring what Tom and his team have been building for years,” says Andrew Foggin, Dice’s global head of music. “They have a fantastic reputation with both the industry and fans. The atmosphere at their parties is unmatched. Partnering with events like FLY Open Air is the perfect way to build Dice’s presence across Scotland and get fans out more.”
“I’m excited for what the future holds for this partnership”
The partnership comes at a time of rapid expansion for both companies. Dice, which launched in 2014, enjoyed its most successful year yet in 2022, with more than 55,000 artists and 10,000 venues and promoters using the platform to sell tickets to their shows. Last year was also Watchtower Group’s biggest to date, including the launch of Otherlands Festival.
Founded as FLY in 2013 as a small club show, Watchtower now sells over 100,000 tickets annually across its portfolio including events in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ibiza and Barcelona.
“We’ve admired Dice’s mobile-first technology for some time after using it as fans,” says Tom Ketley, founder of Watchtower Group. “Their waitlist function and ability to notify customers with ease are what initially drew us in and the way in which their social features connect fans together will really help our fanbase engage more with our brands. I’m excited for what the future holds for this partnership.’’
Other prominent Dice clients include Primavera Sound, DC10, Sonar, Avant Gardner and Night Tales.
Dice hires Katie Soo as chief business officer
Ticketing and discovery platform Dice has hired Katie Soo as chief business officer.
Soo, who brings more than 16 years’ experience in media, entertainment and tech, will be tasked with driving forward Dice’s strategic growth propositions and marketing, helping build the brand globally and supporting the company’s ambitions.
Most recently, Soo served as CMO at education and STEAM learning subscription platform KiwiCo, overseeing consumer marketing in over 40 countries. Prior to that, she was SVP of growth marketing at HBO Max and has also held executive roles at Warner Bros Digital Networks, DC Universe, Hulu, and Dollar Shave Club.
Soo is the youngest Trustee of Asia Society’s global board and recently was elected as the first woman chair of the Asia Society Southern California board.
“Dice has grown quickly in the past two years and this role consolidates the business initiatives and marketing efforts”
“My passion has always been building disruptive brands that are transforming traditional industries, bringing them into a new, consumer-first era,” says Soo. “Dice is all about that – getting people out more, breaking down barriers, and making live experiences accessible and inclusive for fans. Phil has created a brilliant culture, with a clear mission and purpose – I’m thrilled to be joining the team to help scale Dice’s vision globally, and share the next chapter of our story.”
Dice operates in markets including the UK, US, France, India, Italy, Spain and Germany. Launched in 2014, the company reported the biggest year in its history last year, with more than 55,000 artists and 10,000 venues and promoters using the firm to sell tickets to their shows. Soo’s role will oversee consumer marketing, B2B marketing, fan experience, brand and creative, new growth initiatives and social and communications teams.
“Katie understands how to build global brands,” says Dice CEO and founder Phil Hutcheon. “Dice has grown quickly in the past two years and this role consolidates the business initiatives and marketing efforts. It’s huge, and I’m very excited to work closely with Katie to achieve the big ambitions we have ahead of us.”