Twickets reveals next steps after record quarter
Twickets founder Richard Davies has revealed to IQ that the company’s revenues from international territories have doubled from pre-pandemic levels.
The face value or less fan-to-fan resale site is coming off its best-ever quarter in the midst of a huge summer for live music in the UK. In excess of 300,000 tickets were listed on the platform from May to July, with gross revenue up 140% compared to the same three months in 2019, with single tickets making up 40% of sales.
According to the firm, 74% of ticket sales now come in the first 48 hours post-listing, while two-thirds of tickets sold are within a week of the event itself.
“Post-pandemic there’s been a very positive impact on resale activity, as reflected in our recent results,” Davies tells IQ. “With so many more events scheduled –and rescheduled – coupled with fans changing their own plans, we’ve seen a real surge in trading.
“With the majority of tickets listed on secondary platforms coming from ‘brokers’, fans have come down on the side of our ethical approach to resale.”
The company says that 1.5 million unique users visited the Twickets platform during the three-month period, while a record 18,500 alerts were set up for the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert, which takes place at Wembley Stadium on 3 September. Twickets is the benefit show’s official resale partner and will be donating its fee from the event.
“Growth has been particularly strong in mainland Europe”
Established in 2011, the London-headquartered company works with more than 300 live entertainment partners in the UK including venues, artists, promoters, festivals and ticketing companies, and confirmed a link-up with the UK’s Music Venue Trust earlier this year, with a number of significant new partnerships to be announced soon.
“Revenue from international territories has doubled since pre-pandemic levels, and growth has been particularly strong in mainland Europe,” says Davies. “As a result, we’re now focused on building a local Twickets team in key territories there, notably Germany and France.”
The firm, which has previously partnered on tours by artists such as Adele and Ed Sheeran, used the downtime inadvertently provided by Covid-19 to enhance its services.
“We invested a lot of time re-engineering our apps during lockdown, and have subsequently witnessed a large increase in adoption rate,” says Davies. “Over 70% of users now access Twickets through mobile.
“Furthermore, the introduction of an ‘events happening near you’ feature in the app has increased last minute purchases by those seeking inspiration for a local night out.”
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Music Venue Trust confirms Twickets partnership
The UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) has confirmed a partnership with capped ticket resale marketplace Twickets.
Established in 2011, Twickets works with more than 300 live entertainment partners in the UK including venues, artists, promoters, festivals and ticketing companies.
“We are delighted to become a partner of MVT,” says Twickets founder Richard Davies. “This is a key development for us as it further embeds the business as the legitimate face of resale, working to bring fairness and transparency to event-goers everywhere.
“Our goal is always to improve the ticket buying experience”
“Our goal is always to improve the ticket buying experience, and we look forward to collaborating with all members of MVT to prevent blatant profiteering in the secondary ticket market, which not only harms fans but damages the industry as a whole.”
A charitable organisation, the MVT was founded in January 2014 to help protect, secure and improve music venues in the UK.
Mark Davyd, MVT founder and CEO, adds: “We are really pleased to welcome Twickets as one of MVT’s partners. Their mission to enable fans to resell tickets they can no longer use for the price they paid or less aligns well with MVT’s goals to keep tickets out of the hands of touts and in the hands of genuine grassroots gig going fans. Customers can buy from Twickets with the reassurance that they are supporting grassroots music venues across the UK.”
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SJM Concerts partners with Twickets
Twickets has been appointed the official resale partner of SJM Concerts’ Gigs and Tours.
The partnership with SJM, one of the UK’s leading concert promoters, will provide a fan-friendly resale option for all tickets purchased through Gigsandtours.com, allowing users to list tickets for sale via Twickets’ website or mobile app at no more than the price originally paid.
Launched in 2016, Twickets has since served as the official resale platform for leading artists including Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, Mumford & Sons and Elton John. It now attracts more than three million users to its ticket marketplace every year.
“Providing a safe, secure and easy way to resell tickets is best practice”
“We continue to strive to not only offer our customers an efficient and straightforward purchasing experience, but also help them when things don’t go to plan,” explains SJM Concerts’ Matt Woolliscroft. “Providing a safe, secure and easy way to resell tickets is best practice and yet another step Gigsandtours.com is taking to innovate and improve concertgoing.”
Twickets founder Richard Davies says: “The UK is in the midst of a market shift away from rip-off secondary ticketing platforms and towards consumer-friendly resale services. I am proud Twickets is at the forefront of this change, and delighted we can bring our expertise in resale to such an important player in the UK music scene. Our goal is always to improve the ticket buying experience, fill venues and keep customers happy.”
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Paving the way
In 2015, when the concept for Twickets was born, the ticketing industry was broken.
The emergence of four major players in the uncapped resale space allowed a new breed of ticket tout/scalper to thrive. Artist and organiser reputations suffered, as did the fans and their bank balances. Horror stories of extortionate prices, fraudulent tickets and consumer unrest were rife. A worrying pattern was also emerging – with fans spending more on tickets, they were able to attend less shows and had less to shell out on merch and F&B. With the industry coming to terms with these changes to the ticketing market, we saw an opportunity to offer an ethical alternative. Twickets has been at the forefront of the fight back in the UK ever since.
Five years on, and two of the major players have now ceased trading, with parent company Ticketmaster instead following our model of a ‘face-value’ cap in Europe. The remaining two, StubHub and Viagogo, however, are on the brink of becoming one all-powerful secondary ticketing beast. Recent changes to ticketing laws have gradually forced these sites to display more detailed information, ultimately making the listings more traceable. This was a much-needed change and was rightly applauded, but it’s also had the undesired effect of forcing touts underground, onto less regulated platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Gumtree and new sites such as Gigsberg, where the consumer is now faced with the added threat of fake tickets.
Over the past year or so, some primary ticketing sites in the UK have joined Ticketmaster in launching their own face-value resale platforms, dealing exclusively in their own inventory.
And there’s the rub. A tour will nearly always be ticketed by a wide variety of primary agents, particularly in the UK. Many ticket holders looking to sell will have paid little attention to exactly who they bought the inventory from, whilst buyers hunting for resale tickets are unaware of who the official outlets were in the first instance, and don’t know where to look.
This is where Twickets comes in. We are the trustworthy, independent and unbiased aggregator that both sides need. Twickets remains the only face-value resale service that can facilitate the sale of any ticket for any event, no matter where it was purchased. It’s also a solution that works. The average time from listing to sale has reduced every year since Twickets formed, as users build trust in the service, and now stands at just over a day. It’s this success that brings fans back and helps to create loyal customers.
We are the one-stop shop … Think of us as the Switzerland of ticketing!
For the fan-conscious artist, it is paramount that the guidance is clear. They don’t want to be giving conflicting instructions for every date on a tour. What’s more, in some cases, even though the primary outlet has a face-value resale arm in this country, their global offerings are vastly different. If an artist is embarking on a world tour, what started out as a fan-friendly statement targeted at UK consumers could result in their audience being unwittingly cast into the hands of touts or scalpers elsewhere.
We are the one-stop shop that simplifies the process for fans, and makes life easier for the artists. Think of us as the Switzerland of ticketing! Starting as a business outside of the mainstream bubble, Twickets has now been embraced by over 300 artists, promoters, venues, sports teams and theatre producers in the UK, and we are also the first dedicated resale service to be invited to join STAR, the UK’s leading ticketing body.
Going forward, our primary focus must be to carry on building awareness, both in the UK and internationally. To achieve this, we need to collaborate with yet more like-minded partners in a multitude of sectors, particularly where customer experience is the shared goal.
Our work with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The 1975 and hundreds of others prove that when the manager, booking agent, promoter, ticketing agents and venues all come together with a common goal, the touts really can be marginalised.
After the success that Twickets has had to date, we’ve started to extend our service so we have the capability to operate in other European territories, Australasia and North America. Secondary ticketing is far from just a UK concern, and our research has shown that there is significant interest in Twickets elsewhere from industry and fans alike. We are now taking our first steps towards answering those calls and satisfying demand.
“A huge concern”: Live industry reacts to StubHub buy
Controversial secondary ticketing site Viagogo yesterday (25 November) acquired StubHub from eBay in a US$4.05 billion all-cash deal, returning both companies to founder Eric Baker’s hands and eliciting strong reactions across the live music industry.
The sale to Viagogo – a consequence of pressure from eBay shareholders for the company to divest itself of StubHub – followed reported interest from multiple parties, including US resale marketplace Vivid Seats, and saw the e-commerce giant receive almost 13 times its original investment.
As IQ speaks to ticketing experts and commentators, a question on the lips of many is: “Just how did Baker raise the funds for the all-cash deal?”
More technical concerns include what the deal means for the future of the secondary ticketing market; how it may be used to “detoxify” Viagogo’s brand – or not; how regulators will react to the deal; and how much more likely are consumers to get ripped off.
Adam Webb, campaign manager, FanFair Alliance
“This feels like a desperate move from both parties.
“However, news of this acquisition should be a major concern for both audiences and music businesses – especially if Viagogo, a company that recently had a court order hanging over its head and is still the subject of a CMA investigation, uses this process as an attempt to detoxify its brand.
“FanFair will be writing to UK regulators and politicians and we reiterate our advice to music fans to avoid these sites.”
Katie O’Leary, campaign lead, Feat (Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing)
“It’s alarming to think of Viagogo potentially gaining an even greater stronghold in the secondary ticketing market, given it’s been the subject of various legal actions across Europe and banned from advertising on Google globally. (Google last lifted Viagogo’s ban on advertising. For more information, click here.)
“Viagogo claims this will create a ‘win-win for fans’, but further consolidation in the secondary ticketing market would most likely restrict competition, and further negatively impact fans.
“We hope that regulators will have consumers’ best interests at heart when considering this deal, and consider not only the question of Viagogo’s increased dominance but also whether they can be considered a fit and proper owner.”
“We hope that regulators will have consumers’ best interests at heart, and consider whether Viagogo can be considered a fit and proper owner”
Anton Lockwood, director of live, DHP Family
“Coupled with the disturbing news that Google is allowing Viagogo to advertise again, we see this as a step backwards in the fight against inflated price secondary ticketing, Viagogo’s brand has become toxic in the last few years and this seems like an attempt to cleanse it.
“At DHP we stand strongly against unscrupulous traders selling tickets at inflated prices, at the expense of genuine fans – this acquisition can only serve to further that, and we urge the regulators to look very closely at what the new company does.
“We always advise buying tickets from primary vendors or face value secondary vendors who are members of Star to obtain genuine tickets, at the correct price with consumer protection in place.”
Neo Sala, founder and CEO, Doctor Music Concerts
“Viagogo may hope that their reputation will be greenwashed through association with Stubhub, who have historically kept more in line with regulation — but both have a long history of ripping off fans.
“I have no doubt that if this gets cleared it will be bad news for fans, as well as those of us who invest in the live sector. Coupled with the news from Google, it’s really concerning to see things take such a backwards step.”
“At DHP we stand strongly against unscrupulous traders selling tickets at inflated prices, at the expense of genuine fans”
Claudio Trotta, founder, Barley Arts
“In my more than 40 years in the business, this is one of the worst pieces of news I have received.
“It is really scary – first of all, the fact that Viagogo can spend $4 billion in cash is very worrying. Secondly, that Viagogo has bought a competitor that operates in most countries in the world means we are really far away from winning the battle against this cancer – and I do truly believe it is a cancer. I am sure they have made this deal because they absolutely know they can carry on doing secondary ticketing in the majority of countries in the world and circumvent the laws that are in place.
“This is very bad for the future of industry – for music, for punters, and for overall quality. Music is in danger of becoming only for rich people and for fanatics – the only people capable of paying inflated secondary prices.
“We need to do something against this, otherwise live music will be dead in the way we know it. With these prices, there would be no new acts either, which means no more future.
“In Italy, there is a law against secondary ticketing, and also a law on nominative tickets. I am the only one of the major Italian promoters in favour of this law. I think the future is to have complete digitalisation of tickets, and for each to have a unique code. This is the only way to fight secondary ticketing.”
“In my more than 40 years in the business, this is one of the worst pieces of news I have received”
Dave Newton, ticketing professional
“In North America the deal will make no noticeable change as StubHub already dominates the resale market along with having an appreciable share of the primary market (especially in the sports sector) and Viagogo has no presence there.
“But in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, we may see the increasingly toxic Viagogo brand put out to pasture as its market share is folded into the now-established StubHub brand in each of these territories.
“There is a scenario whereby the Viagogo brand is kept alive for a while as a way of deflecting anti-tout activity and attention from StubHub which has been generally been regarded as ‘the best of a bad bunch’ over the last five years. Viagogo could soak up the emotional ire of the media, customers and the events industry while StubHub quietly holds onto its more collaborative and conciliatory reputation.
“Could we see primary ticketing agencies launching resale platforms in Europe if StubHub succeeds in becoming the acceptable face for touting? There may also now be room for significantly-funded new entrants into the space.
“And where does this leave the ticket-buying fan? No less ripped-off, that’s for sure.”
“We may see the increasingly toxic Viagogo brand put out to pasture as its market share is folded into the now-established Stubhub brand”
Annabella Coldrick, CEO, MMF (Music Managers’ Forum)
“On the back of the FanFair Alliance campaign, we’ve seen huge steps to reform the UK’s secondary ticketing market and put a stop to the rip-off, anti-fan practices of sites like Viagogo. For that reason, the announcement is a huge concern.
“The consolidation of the biggest remaining platforms for ticket touts could potentially reverse progress and cause untold harm for audiences and artists alike.”
Rob Wilmshurst, CEO, See Tickets
“I had to check my calendar to make sure it was not April Fools’ Day. I am very, very surprised, not just at the scale of the deal but at where the cash might have come from.
“I am no fan of ticket touting so I can’t say it made my day but it is what it is. In any case, I congratulate Eric for pulling it off.”
Richard Davies, CEO, Twickets
“This is further terrible news for ticketing as two deceitful operators combine forces in order to further turn the screw on the consumer. It demonstrates the need more than ever for a specialist face value resale service that properly serves genuine fans.”
“The consolidation of the biggest remaining platforms for ticket touts could cause untold harm for audiences and artists alike”
Maarten Bloemers, CEO, Guts Tickets
“In five years I expect this to be deemed a total waste of money. It’s a joining of forces of two eerily similar entities companies, the main similarity being that they do not care in the slightest about the consumer they are supposedly serving.
“Technological innovation is making these businesses obsolete, and will put the priority back with the consumer, where it belongs.
Jonathan Brown, chief executive, Star (The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers)
“We note with interest the news that Viagogo has bought StubHub and will continue to watch developments closely.
“Customers need to know where they can buy tickets reliably from authorised sources and the best way of doing this is to always buy from Star members who have signed up to our code of practice and approved dispute resolution service.”
Adam French, consumer rights expert, Which?
“Viagogo has a long history of ripping off music and sports fans and had to be threatened with court action after failing to provide vital information to customers, so any move to increase its grip on the secondary ticketing sector is likely to be a worry for consumers.
“The regulator should closely examine this deal and the impact it could have on competition in the sector to ensure consumers do not lose out.”
This article will be updated with more reactions as IQ receives them.
Twickets partners with Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Palladium
Via a new partnership with Twickets, Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s LW Theatres has became the first theatre operator in the UK to offer consumer friendly face-value ticket resale across its venues.
Tickets purchased via LW Theatres box offices can now be resold via Twickets’ website or mobile app for no more than the price originally paid, offering an alternative to traditional secondary ticketing sites.
LW Theatres, formerly Really Useful Theatres, operates seven London venues: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Cambridge Theatre, Adelphi Theatre, Gillian Lynne Theatre, the Other Palace, Her Majesty’s Theatre and the 2,286-capacity London Palladium, which is popular live music venue.
Launched in 2015, Twickets has worked with artists including Adele, Stormzy, Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys, Mumford and Sons and the 1975, and facilitated the ethical resale of more than half a million fans’ tickets. The LW partnership is its first official tie-in with a UK theatre group.
“Our goal is always to improve the ticket-buying experience, fill venues and keep customers happy”
Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO of LW Theatres, says: “We continue to strive to not only offer our customers an incredible experience, but also help them when things don’t go to plan. Providing a safe, secure and easy way to resell tickets is best practice and yet another step LW Theatres is taking to innovate and improve theatre-going.”
“The UK is in the midst of a market shift away from rip-off secondary ticketing platforms and towards capped consumer friendly resale services,” Twickets’ founder, Richard Davies, adds.
“I am proud Twickets is at the forefront of this change, and delighted we can extend our service to theatre-lovers via this groundbreaking partnership with LW Theatres. Our goal is always to improve the ticket-buying experience, fill venues and keep customers happy.”
Elton John teams up with Twickets for farewell tour
Sir Elton John has today announced a partnership with fan-to-fan ticket reselling platform Twickets in the run up to his final world tour Farewell Yellow Brick Road.
The Twickets platform provides fans with a space to resell unwanted or spare tickets at no more than its original price. Described by the service as an “ethical” way to resell event tickets, it is hoped the partnership will help “combat the secondary ticketing market” looking to potentially exploit Elton John fans.
The tour, which kicks off on 8 September in Allentown, Philadelphia, will make 300 stops over the next three years, playing to an estimated 7 million fans before 2021. It has already started breaking records, selling 450,000 tickets on its first day of presale and selling out 76 shows instantly, becoming the fastest selling American Express presale ever.
“I plan to bring the passion and creativity that has entertained my fans for decades to my final tour.”
Speaking about the tour, which will mark the end of a 50-year-long career, Sir Elton John says: “Performing live fuels me and I’m ecstatic and humbled to continue to play to audiences across the globe.
“I plan to bring the passion and creativity that has entertained my fans for decades to my final tour. After the tour finishes, I’m very much looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life by saying farewell to life on the road. I need to dedicate more time to raising my children.”
The Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour has already partnered with live music platform Peex on select dates. The company’s wearable concert technology aims to provide concertgoers with an improved, augmented reality version of the show, as well as provide exclusive access to concert-related content.
Tickets for Farewell Yellow Brick Road can be bought and resold using the dedicated Elton John Twickets website.
Eventim UK launches FanSALE resale platform
FanSALE, CTS Eventim’s ‘fair value’ ticket resale platform, has launched in the UK.
Coming amid a growing backlash against for-profit secondary ticketing, FanSALE.co.uk – Eventim UK’s first resale service – aims to ensure “tickets get into the hands of genuine fans”, says the company, and prevents resale at a “highly inflated price”, allowing “genuine fans” to sell unwanted tickets.
All tickets are verified against Eventim UK’s ticketing database, and buyers are able to view the block, seat row and seat number before purchasing. An integration with UPS also enables customers to track delivery of the ticket from the seller’s pick-up point to the delivery address.
Resale prices are capped at +10% of face value.
“FanSALE is about fan-first thinking,” says Dale Ballentine, Eventim UK’s director of development. “We want to make sure fans get tickets for a fair price. We know that sometimes fans cannot attend their event as planned.
“FanSALE is about fan-first thinking”
“FanSALE will help solve these problems and ensure tickets are not sold at an extortionate price, making events more accessible for the real fans.”
FanSALE UK follows the launch a similar initiative by Eventim rival See Tickets, Fan-to-Fan, as well as established face-value ticket exchanges such as Twickets.
Adam Webb, of anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance, comments: “Research commissioned by FanFair last year highlighted that the majority of music fans would like a mechanism to resell their tickets if they can no longer attend an event. They don’t want to profit – just to recoup their costs in a safe and efficient environment.
“It has been hugely positive to see a growing number of responsible ticketing companies, like Eventim, listen to consumers and move in this direction, and we hope more will follow in 2018.”
Eventbrite partners with Twickets
Face-value resale is now available for Eventbrite-ticketed events in the UK, Australia and New Zealand as a result of a new partnership with Twickets.
The deal, announced this morning, will give promoters the option to opt into the Twickets service, giving customers the option to buy and sell spare tickets at face value by logging into their Eventbrite account on the Twickets platform.
Eventbrite customer Rhythm and Vines, New Zealand’s longest-running music festival, will be one of the first to use the new Twickets integration for its 2017 edition on 29–31 December.
“Partnering with ethical peer-to-peer exchange platforms like Twickets enables our promoters to allow their fans to easily sell their unwanted tickets at a fair price”
Twickets founder Richard Davies, says: “It’s great to be partnering with Eventbrite, who share our commitment to providing fair ticket resale. We are happy to be bringing face-value resale to more events through this partnership, giving eventgoers the peace of mind that they are not only getting a fair deal, but also that they will be guaranteed entry to the event itself with an officially reissued ticket.
“We’re also very excited to be bringing Twickets to new audiences in New Zealand and look forward to our future in the country.”
“There are a number of technology solutions that we have already put in place to help our larger events prevent unauthorised resales of their tickets,” adds Joel Crouch, general manager for Eventbrite in the UK and Republic of Ireland. “At the same time, we want stay true to the fans, who often have perfectly valid reasons to sell their tickets. Partnering with ethical peer-to-peer exchange platforms like Twickets enables our promoters to allow their fans to easily sell their unwanted tickets at a fair price, and assures the buyers of those tickets that they have obtained official, authorised tickets that will get them in.”
Twickets to launch in the US
UK-based fan-to-fan ticket exchange Twickets is to launch in the US this autumn, founder Richard Davies has announced, adding the biggest territory yet to its growing global network of face-value resale websites.
Music fans in New York state can, as of yesterday, register to buy and sell tickets through Twickets ahead of its stateside debut later this year, reports Amplify. The company, which is backed by several high-profile managers, agents and promoters, also has local operations in Spain and Australia.
Davies in January told IQ Twickets was gearing up for further international expansion after raising more than £1.2 million on crowdfunding site Seedrs.
Davies tells Amplify that, owing to the challenges posed by “infinitely bigger territory” of the US, the company is “initially targeting our move into the US state by state”.
“We’re not saying we’re the solution to the secondary market. What we’re just saying is that we are an alternative way to practice”
New York, he adds, is “very aggressive, and they’ve been ahead of the curve in many respects. Actually, they have beaten the UK to legislation against bots. I fully believe that they will implement more restrictions around resale.”
He emphasises, however, that Twickets is “not reliant on legislation. What we are trying to do is just provide that alternative. We’re not saying we’re the solution to the secondary market. What we’re just saying is that we are an alternative way to practice.
“The great thing is, what we’re seeing from both the industry and the consumer is that they are adopting that method of practice in an increasing way.”
The new site is now live at twicketsusa.com. As in the UK, Twickets USA says it is actively seeking industry partnerships for the new venture: “If you’re an artist, manager, agent, promoter or venue and want to join numerous others such as Adele, Ed Sheeran and Mumford & Sons in partnering with us, please get in touch,” reads an announcement.