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Tawn Albright named Ticketmaster EVP

Ticketmaster has re-hired Tawn Albright as executive vice-president, with responsibility for overseeing the growth of club ticketing service TicketWeb and DIY platform Universe.

Albright joins Ticketmaster from internet content company Leaf Group (previously Demand Media), and was previously co-founder of CEO of live entertainment digital agency Rockhouse Partners, which was sold to eTix in 2014. Prior to starting Rockhouse, he was vice-president and head of corporate development for Ticketmaster from 2006 to 2008.

“Tawn is another unique addition to our leadership team,” says Ticketmaster North America president Jared Smith.

“Tawn is another unique addition to our leadership team”

“He has a fantastic background with a proven record of leveraging technology to bring fresh product and service solutions to market in both ecommerce and enterprise software. There’s no doubt he will help us accelerate an area of our business that is already growing at an impressive rate.”

Adds Albright: “As we all keep hearing, we now live in an experiential economy where people are yearning for live events. Concerts, comedy shows, cultural fairs, festivals and attractions are more popular than ever before.

“Our unique ability to complement our portfolio of specialised tools and software with the unparallelled scale and expertise of Ticketmaster is what excites me the most about joining the team.”

 


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Night and Day Café signs with TicketWeb

TicketWeb, Ticketmaster’s indie ticketing platform for independent venues and promoters, has signed Night and Day Café, one of Manchester’s most famous music venues, the company revealed to IQ at Venues Day earlier this week.

The 220-cap. venue (pictured) moving over from Dice to TicketWeb follows a year of strong growth for the latter’s Backline service, a joint venture between Venues Day organiser Music Venue Trust (MVT) and TicketWeb which serves as a way for small (sub-1,500-cap.) venues and promoters to sell tickets directly to fans through their own platforms.

Launched at Venues Day 2016, there are now more than 25 new MVT venues using Backline, said TicketWeb International’s director of marketing and artist services, Jon West.

“We have a special deal with MVT members with a capacity of 500 or below,” he explained, highlighting new Backline clients including the Booking Hall in Dover and the Brook in Southampton.

grassrootsvenues.tickets, meanwhile – a website and service by TicketWeb and MVT that has “rapidly become a hub for fans wanting to learn about their local grassroots music venues” – launched in July.

“TM had its busiest day ever when Ed Sheeran’s stadium tour went on sale – but that story started on TicketWeb in grassroots venues”

“It’s great to work with iconic venues from cities with a rich music heritage, but the other important part of what we do with MVT is recognising that live music exists outside major cities,” West continued. “It’s been really cool seeing these pockets of music, these cultural hubs that are at the centre of their local communities, and it’s really important to support them.”

As an example, West referred back to Steve Lamacq’s Venues Day keynote, in which the BBC radio DJ became noticeably teary as he talked about his “old stomping ground” in Harlow, Essex, where the town’s main venue, the Square, has been closed since last December.

TicketWeb, explained West, also plays an important part in Ticketmaster’s artist services division, with Sam Isles simultaneously serving as TicketWeb MD and VP of Ticketmaster artist services.

“Grassroots venues are the breeding ground for new talent,” he said. “Ticketmaster had its busiest day ever earlier this year, when Ed Sheeran’s stadium tour went on sale – but that story started long ago on TicketWeb in grassroots venues across the country, and that’s just another reason why these stages are so important to the whole music industry”.

 


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Ticketmaster acquires analytics firm Strobe Labs

Self-service ticketing platform TicketWeb, owned by Ticketmaster, has acquired US start-up Strobe Labs, a data and marketing platform for venues and promoters.

The company says the acquisition of Strobe – founded in 2013 by then-Brown University students Alex Oberg and Evan Altman – will give its clients in the US, Canada and Britain “a simple and powerful way to learn more about their fans and engage them more effectively” following its integration into the TicketWeb platform.

The technology allows users to search and view customer profiles with ticket purchase history and social media activity; build and deploy fan lists for direct marketing and email campaigns; and create and post social-media campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify without leaving the Strobe dashboard. It will later be rolled out across Ticketmaster proper.

“We’ve spent years developing best-in-class technology and are thrilled to now be able to deploy at scale”

“The entire team at Strobe is proud to join a market leader like Ticketmaster,” says Oberg. “We’ve spent years developing best-in-class technology and are thrilled to now be able to deploy at scale.”

Matt Shearer, senior vice-president of small venues and clubs at Ticketmaster North America, adds: “Strobe’s platform completely simplifies the complex process of fan segmentation and ad creation and placement.

“When you combine that with Ticketmaster’s massive reach, we think it instantly becomes a leading marketing tool in live music to help clubs connect with their fans and find incremental audiences.”

TicketWeb in December added 31 new US club venues to its platform.

 


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Grassroots Venues Tickets goes live

Grassroots Venues Tickets (grassrootsvenues.tickets), the ticketing platform for independent venues announced by Music Venue Trust (MVT) at last year’s Venues Day, went live today, listing tickets to shows at an initial 16 UK partner venues.

In addition to offering fans what MVT calls “the lowest service charge on the market” – 5% – a proportion of that 5% is allocated to MVT to fund its campaigning to stop the closure of grassroots music venues (GMVs) and maintain and improve existing ones. A fixed donation of 50p is also paid directly to the venue hosting the show to help pay for its upkeep.

MVT CEO Mark Davyd says the new platform offers both “a great deal for fans and a major step forward in funding for venues”.

Grassroots Venues Tickets is a joint venture between MVT and TicketWeb, Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s ticketing platform for independent venues. TicketWeb managing director Sam Isles comments: “Today we are proud to unveil Grassroots Venues Tickets alongside our partners, MVT. Together we continue to work in the interests of GMVs around the UK.

“The launch of this site is a culmination of lots of work behind the scenes to ensure it empowers both independent venues and music fans alike.”

“We wanted to bring a ticket product into the market that was all about supporting the grassroots music venues sector”

In addition to providing small venues with much-needed funds and concertgoers with cheaper tickets, Davyd says Grassroots Venues Tickets is good for writers and publishers, too. “In our exclusive ticket offer to venues, MVT is going to be able to track, monitor and pay collection agencies such as PRS for Music on behalf of grassroots music venues,” he explains, “while filing great information that ensures grassroots writers and artists are getting paid when their work is performed. It removes a significant burden of work and responsibility from venues and is a real win for writers and artists at this level.”

Grassroots Venues Tickets follows the October launch of TicketWeb Backline, a joint venture between MVT and TicketWeb, which serves as a way for small (sub-1,500-cap.) venues and promoters to sell tickets directly to fans through their own platforms. More than 60 venue clients are using the service.

Commenting on the launch of Grassroots Venues Tickets, Davyd says: “We wanted to bring a ticket product and service into the market that was all about supporting the grassroots music venues sector. There’s been a lot of talk about ethical ticketing and the music industry’s concerns about these venues. We wanted to work with a partner to develop a grassroots ticket that genuinely enables fans to know that what they are buying is directly supporting the venues they love that really need help.

“We’re delighted to be working with TicketWeb to deliver just that product, and to be able to do it at no extra cost to the customer.”

 


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TicketWeb signs up Levity, adds 1m+ tickets in US

TicketWeb today added more than one million new tickets to its platform via a series of partnerships with 31 US venues.

The company – a subsidiary of Ticketmaster, active in the US, Britain and Canada, specialising in independent venues and promoters – has signed up the Levity Entertainment Group (LEG) of comedy clubs; the Improv Group in Florida; Blue Note jazz clubs in Hawaii and Napa, California; the Mill and Mine (1,200-cap.) in Knoxville, Tennessee; and the Brick & Mortar (250-cap.) and The New Parish (450-cap.) in San Francisco.

The LEG deal is the most significant, providing TicketWeb with ticketing rights to 17 comedy venues across the US. LEG CEO Robert Hartmann says: “The Levity Entertainment Group is the largest comedy organisation in the United States, […] so we’re thrilled to be working with a club-focused platform like TicketWeb, benefiting from the strength of the Ticketmaster marketplace that drives awareness and ticket sales. It is a perfect complement to the growth strategy we have for our group in the coming years.”

“Our focus at TicketWeb is to build solutions that put time back in the day of the busy club owner and independent promoter”

In addition to the new venue deals, TicketWeb has also renewed existing multi-year contracts with the Knitting Factory group nationwide; ATX Brands in Texas; the Observatory (550-cap.) in Santa Ana, California; and the Space, Empty Bottle, Thalia Hall and Promontory venues in Chicago.

“Our focus at TicketWeb is to build solutions that put time back in the day of the busy club owner and independent promoter,” says TicketWeb’s senior vice-president of small venues and clubs, Matt Shearer. “We partner with some of the most iconic clubs across North America and globally, so we’re constantly developing new ticketing technology geared towards meeting their specific needs and providing greater access to our millions of active ticket buyers.”

TicketWeb UK in October partnered with Music Venue Trust and .tickets to launch a new national ticketing platform for independent British venues.

 


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New ticketing platform, refit scheme for UK venues

Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced a raft of new initiatives for grassroots venues, including a national ticketing platform, a scheme to refit 100 sites over five years and an emergency response scheme to provide professional advice.

The announcements were made at Venues Day 2016 in London today (18 October) during an opening address by MVT head Mark Davyd.

Set up in partnership with .tickets and Ticketmaster’s TicketWeb, Grassrootsvenues.tickets (GV.T) is a new national ticketing platform for venues which integrates a ‘maintain and sustain’ levy similar to restoration funds seen in theatre (estimated at 50 pence on a £10 ticket). The platform also aims to report nationally to PRS for Music, removing the need for MVT members to report directly.

Venues signing up to the platform will be given a new website and .tickets domain, which integrates into the national GV.T platform. “We’re going to push tickets in a much more effective way,” Davyd said. “We want to make sure that artists and writers who perform in these venues actually get paid.”

“We’re going to push tickets in a much more effective way. We want to make sure that artists and writers who perform in these venues actually get paid”

Also announced at Venues Day was Sound + Vision, an ambitious initiative that wants to refit sound, lighting and staging in 100 UK venues over five years. Partners on the scheme include AV supplier White Light, Ents 24, TicketWeb, Jack Daniel’s and Help Musicians UK, which MVT estimates will reduce the £2.2million annual budget to just £970,000.

“All we need to develop a touring circuit we can be proud of, and that does our artists justice, is £4.85 million over the next five years,” Davyd said. “The Royal Opera House receives five times that in funding, so we’re calling on the Arts Council, and others, to support this.”

Further initiatives announced included the Emergency Response scheme to help venues with issues in planning, licensing and legal issues; and an expansion of MVT activity into Northern Ireland this autumn, and Scotland by early 2017.

 


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Desktop still king for concert ticket sales

Despite strong global growth in the mobile ticketing market, most consumers still prefer to buy their concert tickets on personal computers, new research suggests.

Analysing data from its Flyt URL-shortener, media-buying firm Dash Two found while 75% of clicks on ads for live events in the US come from mobile devices, 64% of the actual buying is done on desktop.

In its Save the Date report, which tracked sales primarily from Live Nation-owned ticket outlets, including Ticketmaster, TicketWeb and resale site TicketsNow, Dash Two concluded that “music ticket sales are still occurring more strongly on desktop, while discovery seems to be happening more on mobile”.

It also discovered (see infographic below) that while ticket sales occur throughout the week, the peak days are Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Dash Two Save the Date infographic

 


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TicketWeb signs up as second Venues Day sponsor

TicketWeb has been announced as the second headline sponsor for Venues Day 2016.

The company, a Ticketmaster UK-owned ticketing platform for independent live music, shares Venues Day organiser Music Venue Trust (MVT)’s “ambition to help protect, preserve and improve the UK’s grassroots music venues”, says MVT, and joins UK Music – announced as the first headline sponsor in April – as the second confirmed partner of the event.

Sam Isles, managing director of TicketWeb, says: “Independent live music is what we’re all about, and grassroots music venues are the backbone of the industry. With these venues emerging acts have a place to shine, and fans have a place to discover amazing new music.

“Independent live music is what we’re all about, and grassroots music venues are the backbone of the industry”

“This is why we passionately support Music Venue Trust and look forward to sponsoring Venues Day.”

Venues Day, aimed at those who own or operate small and medium independent music venues in the UK, this year takes place at a new venue, the Roundhouse in Camden, on 18 October.

TicketWeb earlier this week revealed plans to partner with independent British concert promoters to showcase local talent, starting with Brighton-based CloseUp Promotions.

 


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TicketWeb to partner with UK indie promoters

TicketWeb, Live Nation/Ticketmaster UK’s ticketing platform for independent live music, has announced plans to cooperate with several local concert promoters to showcase emerging British talent.

The first partnership is with promoter/agency CloseUp Promotions, the host of Club CloseUp at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen in London, which will with TicketWeb hold monthly showcases at Brighton venue Bleach (150-cap.) featuring “the country’s top indie and electronic acts”.

Sam Isles, TicketWeb’s MD, comments: “TicketWeb is a passionate supporter of upcoming talent, and teaming up with Sam [Tucker, managing director] and the CloseUp team is a natural step for us. Sam is a bright, young promoter with big things ahead of him. The emerging artists that he represents will be of tremendous value to our fans who live for new music.

“TicketWeb is a passionate supporter of upcoming talent, and teaming up with Sam and the CloseUp team is a natural step for us”

Tucker adds: “Partnering up with the TicketWeb team is great news for myself and CloseUp; it will enable us to bring bigger and brand-new audiences to some of the exciting new acts we present. Our monthly joint showcases at Bleach already look set to become one of the most well-established nights in Brighton.”

The first CloseUp/TicketWeb show at Bleach is on 18 August and will include performances from The Island Club, Howland, Judas and Seats.

TicketWeb in April became the exclusive ticketing partner of east London venue St John-at-Hackney.

 


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Ticketing and marketing platform Universe expands to Europe

Toronto-headquartered social ticketing platform Universe has announced plans for its first European office.

The company’s business development director, Joseph McAuliffe, make the move to London to head up the expansion after two years based at Universe’s San Francisco office.

The Universe platform, often dubbed the ‘eBay for activities’, combines ticketing software with a suite of promotional and marketing tools designed to help promoters raise awareness of and sell more tickets to their events. It was acquired by Live Nation last year.

Universe’s presence in Europe will, says, Live Nation, allow Ticketmaster to offer a self-service function across the entire continent, complementing its existing TicketWeb general-admission platform.

Universe’s presence in Europe will allow Ticketmaster to offer a self-service function across the entire continent, complementing its existing general-admission platform, TicketWeb

“It is an exciting time for growth within the UK and European market[s],” says Universe co-founder and CEO Ben Raffi. “Our technology and tools have been extremely well received in Canada and the US, with over 31,000 event organisers using our platform to sell tickets. Expanding our international presence is the next step for us as we continue to disrupt the event industry.”

“We’re looking forward to having the Universe team here in London,” adds Ticketmaster’s Mark Yovich. “We’ll be working closely with them to offer their unique event ticketing solutions to event organisers across the UK and Europe.

“Ben Raffi and his team have done an incredible job in establishing themselves as the go-to advanced DIY ticketing and event marketing platform which will be of huge benefit to our existing clients. The company sits nicely within our overall platform portfolio of world-class solutions.”