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Dice abandons no-booking fee model

Dice, the famously fee-free mobile ticketing platform whose founder, Phil Hutcheon, once criticised ticket fees as being “like a drug”, has quietly introduced booking fees of its own for some shows, saying its no-fee model meant it lost money on every ticket sold – and increasingly struggled to gain ticket allocations for bigger events.

Following a public Twitter back-and-forth with the band Shame, Russ Tannen, Dice’s UK managing director, has explained the move, saying the company’s growth, coupled with its recent expansion into North America, left a choice between introducing fees and Dice “being a small player forever”.

“As we grew (thanks to you guys) we discovered that to get a significant allocation of tickets for bigger shows, we had to agree to include a ‘booking fee’,” writes Tannen in a blogpost aimed at Dice’s customers. “This was particularly the case for our expansion in North America.”

“Ultimately,” he continues, “it was a case of either drop ‘best gigs’ or drop ‘no booking fees’. So we decided to start incorporating some fees to a small number of shows and dropped the ‘no booking fees’ line in January 2017. What didn’t change is our commitment to always try and be the lowest price.

“I wish we had written a blog post explaining all of this back then. And I’m sorry for not posting this sooner.

“So what are these fees? It’s essentially a small markup that covers some of our costs, and fulfils contractual obligations to some of our partners. We hate hidden extras and fake price breakdowns so the upfront price is always what you pay at the end. We believe in presenting one simple price to fans and there are lots of shows where we don’t have any mark-up at all.

“I hope this explains where we are right now. We started Dice to completely change how people discover and attend live experiences all around the world, and we’re as committed to this as we have ever been.”

 


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Dice launches in the US

Disruptive UK ticketing company Dice is to launch in the United States, it announced this morning.

Initially offering tickets to shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco (Sam Smith, Khalid, Matthew Dear and Vevo’s SF Hallowe’en event in San Francisco are among its first events), Dice US has big plans for the world’s largest, and most competitive, ticketing market, says Dice founder and CEO Phil Hutcheon.

“We’re focused on a younger demographic that’s fed up with how ticketing is,” says Hutcheon. “They’re disengaging, and we need to be careful because live music is in competition with Netflix, with bars [and] with eating out”.

“We have ambitious plans to roll out across the US in the coming months”

“If you keep screwing over fans, they won’t come back. Dice is the ethical platform that fans trust to get tickets. We get fans in, keep scalpers out and we have ambitious plans to roll out across the US in the coming months.”

Dice launched in the UK in 2014, carving out a niche with a booking fee-free model that ties tickets to mobile devices, making unauthorised resale impossible. It earlier this month announced it was introducing ‘hangover days’ for worse-for-wear staff, and in May debuted an industry first no-questions-asked refunds policy for customers no longer able to attend shows.

 


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Dice introduces ticket refunds

Mobile ticket app Dice has introduced what is believed to be a world first in concert ticketing: refunds for those who can no longer attend.

Announcing the news yesterday, Dice founder Phil Hutcheon said refunds are initially only available for sold-out events (although, he adds, “over 80%” of Dice-ticketed shows sell out) but that the new initiative should benefit buyers and sellers alike: the former “no longer have to scour secondary ticket websites” for sold-out shows, instead adding themselves to a waiting list for returned tickets, and the latter can rest safe in the knowledge they’re not supporting secondary platforms frequented by “speculators and brokers who hoover up […] tickets and immediately resell them”.

It similar to Skiddle’s Cool:Off service, which gives buyers 72 hours to change their minds, although Dice is setting no time limit on its refunds.

Using “machine learning” to assist in pushing that 80% figure closer to 100%, Hutcheon says London-based Dice is hoping to “figure out how to roll out refunds on all [its] events this year.”

“Everyone wins: Fans get tickets at fair prices, venues are packed and artists don’t have to worry about people flogging their tickets for insane prices”

“Everyone wins ,” comments Hutcheon, who says Dice has worked “closely with the industry” on the launch: “Fans get the tickets at fair prices, venues are packed and artists don’t have to worry about people flogging their tickets for insane prices.”

He adds that refunds are “just the start of a flood of new features” on the app, which has carved out a niche in the competitive UK ticket market by selling tickets at face value, with no booking fees and irretrievably tied to the mobile device from which they were bought, making unauthorised or for-profit resale impossible.

It recently became the ticketing partner of 12 small and mid-sized UK venues, including Manchester’s Night and Day Café, the Moth Club in Hackney and Birthdays in Dalston.

 


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