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Troxy completes dance trio’s London gig trilogy

Troxy’s head of live Simon Eaton has spoken to IQ about hosting the climactic gig in a trilogy of special London performances by Four Tet, Fred Again + Skrillex.

The electronic dance superstars joined forces for a run of three surprise shows in three nights at Camden’s Electric Ballroom (cap. 1,500), Electric Brixton (1,700) and the art deco Troxy (3,100) from 5-7 January.

All shows, which followed the release of Wasserman Music clients Fred Again and Skrillex’s Rumble collaboration with Flowdan, had tickets released on the day and sold out within minutes.

“We got a call from Eat Your Own Ears, the promoter, a couple of days before Christmas,” Eaton tells IQ. “We do a lot of work with them and are good friends of ours. They often come to us with similar ideas, although normally with a slightly longer lead time!

“They wanted to go with three independent venues – bigger venues each day – finishing with that final explosive show. They were looking for something of around 2,000 cap, which is our capacity for club nights, so we fitted what they were looking for. It was finalised around 27-28 December and it was all systems go from that point. I had to cancel my annual leave and work over the Christmas period, but it was well worth it.”

“To sell 2,000 tickets in 16 seconds and there not be a single issue was outrageous”

All three events were not announced until the days they took place, with tickets released in staggered announcements on the artists’ Instagram stories.

“They wanted to split the tickets into three sections, so each artist had their own little pot of tickets rather than everything pulling from one central pot,” explains Eaton. “They wanted the artists to make the announcements themselves, rather than the venue, promoter of anyone else.

“We’d already built all the ticketing behind the scenes and supplied them with the links the day before, so it was ready to go and we were just waiting for them to do it. Four Tet went just after midday and the other two not until a little bit later in the afternoon.”

More than 20,000 fans tried to buy tickets on the first two announcements alone, with over 9,000 users on a waiting list as soon as the final announcement went live.

“I think 16 seconds was how long it took for all tickets to be in baskets, which is insane,” says Eaton. “It’s broken all records here. To sell 2,000 tickets in 16 seconds and there not be a single issue was outrageous, so kudos to Dice, our ticketing provider, for that.”

“We had the most sold-out shows we’ve ever had at one period of time at the back end of last year – and that’s now rolling into this year”

An extended stage platform was built from the venue’s main stage which enabled the DJs to perform from a central location in the midst of the crowd.

“It was an absolute whirlwind, it feels like a dream,” adds Eaton. “It’s such a short period to put on a show of that scale and I can’t believe we pulled it off. It’s great to have it out the way in one sense, but you like to look forward to these big events and I feel as though our biggest event of the year has already come and gone – and it’s only January!”

East London’s Troxy continues its busy start to 2023 with a sold-out concert by Editors (1 February) as part of Independent Venue Week. Other shows include Black Veil Brides (25 February) and The Flaming Lips (25 April), who will be performing their Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots album in full.

“There’s a different challenge every day,” says Eaton. “[The cost of] everything has gone up and it’s difficult at the minute, but everyone’s in the same boat and we’re doing the best we possibly can with it. Fortunately, we’ve got an incredible year of events coming up, which I’m quietly confident is going to offset all those costs.

“We had the most sold-out shows we’ve ever had at one period of time at the back end of last year, and that’s now rolling into this year.”

The building, which opened in 1933, is also undergoing a refurbishment, which coincides with its 90th anniversary and will result in a capacity increase.

“We’re looking at Q4 for that coming into play, but it’s TBC on what the exact number will be in terms of the capacity increase,” he adds. “That needs to be signed off by licensing and police and whatnot, but it’s substantial.”


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Ticketmaster Request launches in UK

Ticketmaster has launched its Ticketmaster Request tool in the UK with a run of shows by Four Tet in partnership with promoter Eat Your Own Ears (EYOE).

The feature offers a platform for fans to request tickets to concerts as soon as they are announced, giving them an equal chance of securing tickets to ultra-high demand shows.

When Four Tet’s May 2023 dates at London’s 10,400-cap Alexandra Palace were announced, fans were sent to a branded page to register their location, price tier and ticket type preference, along with payment details. Successful requests are automatically fulfilled, with organisers then having the ability to invite fans whose requests are not granted to purchase tickets for alternate or additional dates.

The result from onsale last week was a fully sold-out Alexandra Palace show, and enough demand data to announce a third date and inform strategy for future tours.

“We’re always looking out for new ideas to make the lives of fans easier and Ticketmaster Request fits that bill while also giving us a level of insight we’ve never had before”

“We’re always looking out for new ideas to make the lives of fans easier and Ticketmaster Request fits that bill while also giving us a level of insight we’ve never had before – demand data that actually led us to announce a third Four Tet show at Alexandra Palace,” says Eat Your Own Ears owner Tom Baker.

“It was simple to use and the Ticketmaster team very responsive and reactive. I guess ultimately proof it worked was that we very quickly and smoothly achieved two sold out shows, so it’s definitely something we won’t hesitate to implement again.”

Four Tet’s three-night stand is scheduled for 23-25 May 2023, with 100% of tickets for the final gig sold via Ticketmaster Request. Fans were also able to opt-in to receive details about future Four Tet shows, building a database going forward.

The tool has been utilised in North America for the past two years by artists such as Madonna, Paramore, Mumford & Sons and Pearl Jam. Access can be randomised or take in other criteria set by promoters on an event-by-event basis.

 


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TM goes fully mobile for £5 Four Tet shows

Marking the first major UK deployment of its new mobile platform, Ticketmaster has partnered with Four Tet and promoter Eat Your Own Ears to power ticketing for the acclaimed British DJ’s return to Brixton Academy this autumn.

Four Tet – real name Kieran Hebden – announced yesterday that his traditional autumn all-nighters, preceded by two live shows, would return to the 4,921-capacity O2 Academy Brixton from 10 to 13 October. With tickets for all four nights priced at just £5, Ticketmaster is combining 100% digital ticketing with its Verified Fan technology – which uses “algorithms and unique data analysis” to weed out bad actors, such as ticket touts and bots, from the presale – to ensure all tickets get into the hands of “genuine fans” at the price intended.

The Four Tet shows, says Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons, are intended to be “a celebration, a party, with the artist giving back to the audience – and the pricing fits with that ethos. So for us, it was about how best to be able to deliver that.”

“Kieran, aka Four Tet, was inspired by a Fugazi show he went to in 1995 at Brixton Academy and paid £5,” says Eat Your Own Ears’ Tom Baker, commenting on the inspiration for the event. “They played with all the house lights on and Kieran wanted to replicate this. I said, perhaps at 4.33am people won’t want to be staring each other in the face with bright lights glaring into their faces, so why don’t we do the £5 ticket at Brixton Academy club shows in the dark…”

“We’ve worked with Tom for as long as I can remember, and this string of shows at Brixton Academy is just another example of their innovative approach,” adds Parsons. “We’ve both got the same goal here – to get fans in the door at £5 – and I’m pleased to say Ticketmaster has the technology to do just that. ”

“The future is definitely digital”

Contrary to much of the non-industry media’s coverage of Verified Fan – most notably around the onsale for Taylor Swift’s Reputation stadium tour last summer, which allowed fans to boost their chance of a ticket by buying albums or merch – the system is, “at its essence, the invitation [to buy tickets], the presale and the weeding out of bad actors,” Parsons tells IQ. While Swift-style boosts may be built into the platform, they aren’t a requirement, he says: “It’s about making sure we go on sale on sale with a clean list and ensure we are selling directly to fans.”

It’s still “comparatively early” days for Verified Fan in the UK, Parsons continues, though TM has already seen success with the platform for several high-profile club shows, including Harry Styles and Jack White at the Eventim Apollo in London.

The second, and arguably more important, aspect for the Four Tet dates is the mobile one: All tickets are digital and – similarly to platforms such as Dice – are tied to the mobile device from which they’re purchased, making resale for profit impossible. (They can, however, be transferred to a friend using the buyer’s Ticketmaster account.)

“It’s something we’ve been building up to for a while,” continues Parsons, who says the new mobile ticketing functionality is part of a “whole host of changes” the company has been making to its core product over the past 18 months, including a more editorially focused homepage, a new responsive check-out process and – most significantly – folding all ticket resale into Ticketmaster proper, following the shutdown of Get Me In! and Seatwave.

“There’s a huge opportunity in tying tickets to mobiles and taking away those little pieces of paper,” he adds. “Fans are ready for it, artists and promoters are fully on board… It’s really going to be ramping up in the coming months.”

“There’s a huge opportunity in tying tickets to mobiles and taking away those little pieces of paper”

As for the multi-step process of becoming a ‘verified fan’, is Ticketmaster worried it’s becoming too difficult to simply log on and buy a ticket for a show? “Everything we do is about balance,” suggests Parsons. “All the work we’ve done with Verified Fan so far shows we can do it in a very slick way – with artist engagement, we can spread the net as wide as possible – and if you speak to fans about whether or not it’s a good thing, they’re very supportive of it.

“The fans really appreciate the artist going the extra mile.”

“I think the future is definitely digital,” adds Baker. “Everyone uses their phones now for almost everything they do, and that will just get more and more easy as venues and promoters and ticket agents all embrace this technology. I think it makes it so much smoother for all involved, and cuts out touts, with the money going to the artists – and fans aren’t unfairly paying over-inflated prices.

“It’s a win win for everyone and I’ll certainly be looking to use both Verified Fan and digital ticketing for more and more Eat Your Own Ears shows.”

 


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