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Why go independent? Clearly, the economics are compelling. But ultimately it’s about owning your audience and controlling your business, instead of renting it from a company larger than you and without your interests at heart.
In years past, independent ticketing companies were challenged when it came to handling big spikes in demand. And when phone sales ruled, only the largest ticketing companies had call centers big enough to handle the volume. But times have changed. Independent ticketers are now the technology leaders. And telephone demand has fallen off dramatically. Massive demand spikes are no longer a problem for the leading independents.
So that leaves marketing. For a minute, let’s assume that a massive email database and domain name recognition are as effective at moving tickets as some of the tools and techniques offered by leading indies. I don’t believe for one minute that’s true. But let’s pretend it is. The question becomes, are the email list and domain name worth it?
What if you had an extra couple of bucks per ticket to spend on marketing – without increasing the total cost to fans? Could you use that extra money to market your shows as effectively? My bet is that you could do a better job. All promotion is local, right?
First, consider those happy times you find yourself with a show that’s going to sell itself with no marketing? With a major, you – via your customers – have paid for that email list and domain name whether you need it or not; with the right indie, those unneeded marketing dollars can fall to your bottom line.
Or what if you could lower the total cost for fans, without it impacting your bottom line, and without it dulling your artist’s image? Maybe that cost difference is enough to move the bulk of your sales into the advance column, saving you from the whims of weather and everything else that can decimate your door sales.
Have you considered the good will that a smaller ticket fee can engender amongst your customers? YOUR customers. With most indies, you have unfettered access to your customer data. You can slice and dice and data mine and analyze and target like never before. This, after all, is what good promotion is all about. It’s not just placing bets on bands you think will sell. It’s about having an intimate knowledge of your audience so you can match them up with the right events and take some risk off the table. Sometimes it’s about having some powerful data to give you the confidence to pass on the “next big thing” that’s not right for your customers – or to recognize that you can fill the house for an emerging artist while you can still afford them.
The real promise of independent ticketing is that it puts more of your fate back in your hands. If you don’t want that control, and the responsibility that comes with it, go play craps. Go play roulette. Promoting shows wasn’t always just about assuming the risk. A promoter is a marketer, an entertainment broker. To be successful, you must know the product and the market better than anyone. And you must have the tools and authority to put that knowledge to work.
TicketBiscuit today unveiled a Facebook App that enables its clients to sell tickets directly from their Facebook Fan Page, without ever having to leave Facebook. The TicketBiscuit Fan Page Ticketing App is the latest in a series of innovations introduced by TicketBiscuit to help clients leverage social media to sell more tickets.
“In 2008, we were one of the first ticketing companies to offer seamless Facebook integration, and now we’re setting the pace again,” said TicketBiscuit Chief Marketing Officer Eric Housh. “Using Facebook for live event promotion is a necessity now. If you’re not doing it well, you’re not as successful as you could be,” he continues, “Our new app has taken it a step further, transforming a client’s Facebook Fan Page from a marketing channel into an actual sales channel .”
Housh says that the TicketBiscuit Facebook app is unique in that it links in real time to the client’s TicketBiscuit account, meaning that ticket sales can be taking place simultaneously on Facebook, on the client’s website, via the TicketBiscuit-provided mobile optimized smartphone interface, and via TicketBiscuit’s web-based box office point-of-sale software, with all inventory managed centrally in real time. The look and feel of the ticketing interface matches the clean look of Facebook. And in keeping with TicketBiscuit’s core philosophy, the client’s brand stays out in front. “It takes the concept of white-labeling to a whole new level: now you can have a white-label ticketing solution seamlessly integrated into your Facebook Fan Page along with your other web properties.”
Though TicketBiscuit just publicly announced Fan Page Ticketing today, it has been in testing for a couple of months. Several clients, including the Re:Generation Festival, Yarmony Grass Festival, and Comedy Zone Charlotte are already using the app with great success. The TicketBiscuit Fan Page Ticketing App can be added to any Facebook Fan Page with a couple of clicks. Housh says the only requirements are that you be an Admin of the Page and that you have a TicketBiscuit account.
I think one of my favorite things about working in tech is when we make connections with other companies that are interested in solving the same problems we’re trying to solve. That’s what makes today’s announcement about our partnership with ScoreBig so cool. These guys have figured out a new way to help venues and live event organizers move excess inventory and sell more tickets. Unlike some of the other discounting services out there, ScoreBig’s approach doesn’t cannibalize full price sales or devalue our client’s brand. It’s innovative awesomeness, for sure.
Those that know TicketBiscuit know that our core mission is to relentlessly innovate to help clients sell more tickets. We were among the first to offer full social media integration, are one of the only to offer a powerful built in email newsletter engine, and remain one of the sole ticketing companies with an active affiliate program. We’ve led the way in helping active customers find and buy tickets, and empowering ticket buyers to spread the love socially and virally about the events they’re attending.
ScoreBig opens up a whole new horizon to our clients: the ability to be introduced to new customers. We see this as the perfect complement to our efforts to date. Plus, ScoreBig’s tech is way cool. They apply a Priceline-type “name your own pricing” approach to event tickets. You can find out more about ScoreBig here, or read the full press release below.
Welcome to the TicketBiscuit family, ScoreBig!
TicketBiscuit, ScoreBig Announce Strategic Marketing Partnership
Birmingham, Alabama – February 2, 2011. TicketBiscuit, a leading provider of ticketing software and services, and ScoreBig, a new website that allows live entertainment fans to make an offer on more than a half million live event tickets - all below retail price and without fees – today announced a marketing partnership that will enable hundreds of TicketBiscuit clients nationwide to leverage ScoreBig’s proprietary platform and marketing network to increase ticket sales.
TicketBiscuit CEO Jeff Gale said the partnership will help solve a key problem in live entertainment. “Currently, some 40% of tickets to live entertainment events go unsold. ScoreBig has developed a business model and service that solves this problem. ScoreBig fills unsold seats – and here’s the key –without devaluing our clients’ brands and cannibalizing full price sales. It’s a truly innovative approach, and it fits perfectly with TicketBiscuit’s core mission: to help our clients sell more tickets.”
Gale added that the ScoreBig partnership is the latest in a series of ongoing innovations at TicketBiscuit. In addition to pioneering social media integration with Twitter and Facebook, and offering a built-in email newsletter engine, the company unveiled an affiliate program in August that pays commissions to website publishers for referring ticket sales. “Our clients have seen great results from our affiliate program. It helps active customers – those who already plan to purchase – find our clients,” Gale said. “The partnership with ScoreBig is the perfect complement: it helps introduce new customers to our clients and move inventory that would otherwise perish.”
ScoreBig VP of Business Development Mark Meyerson said that having TicketBiscuit on board will broaden ScoreBig’s inventory and make the service more valuable to members. “TicketBiscuit’s impressive client roster of music venues, comedy clubs and event organizers will give ScoreBig members even greater access to quality entertainment at great savings nationwide.”
ScoreBig offers members guaranteed savings of up to 70% on tickets to live sporting, music and theater events with no fees and free delivery. ScoreBig partners with venues, sports teams, promoters, artists, entertainment properties and others to help move unsold ticket inventory safely and securely without the cannibalization risks and negative brand perceptions associated with traditional discounting. ScoreBig was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Los Angeles. To learn more about ScoreBig, visit www.scorebig.com.
TicketBiscuit, founded in 2001, provides proprietary software that powers the online ticket sales of over 500 clients in 1500 venues across the United States and Canada. TicketBiscuit’s complete suite of services and solutions empowers clients to sell tickets online through their own websites, via call center, and via the TicketBiscuit web-based box office interface. For more information on TicketBiscuit, please visit http://www.ticketbiscuit.com .
TicketBiscuit Press Inquiries
ScoreBig Press Inquiries
When tickets go on sale tomorrow for the April 4 Guster concert at WorkPlay, fans of the popular band will find the online buying experience a bit different. That’s because WorkPlay, Guster, and TicketBiscuit have collaborated to present an “All In Price”. So, when the ads say advance tickets are $25, fans will truly pay only $25 per ticket. The price will be the same whether the fans buy online, over the phone, or in person, and there will be no added fees at checkout.
Why is this significant? The standard industry practice with live entertainment ticketing is to advertise one price, but when ticket buyers go online to purchase, several fees are heaped on to the total. For example, across town from WorkPlay at the larger arena in Birmingham, tickets to a popular upcoming country show are advertised at $27, but after ticketing fees, delivery fees, and order processing fees are added these tickets actually end up costing the buyer almost $20 more per ticket. Fans have long complained that ticketing fees are exorbitant and unnecessary.
The concept of an “All In Price” is not entirely new. Live Nation / Ticketmaster experimented with convenience fee- free tickets during the summer of 2010, but fans complained that the fees were dropped for only the least expensive lawn seats. Ticketmaster announced on a company blog in August 2010 that it would present fees earlier in the purchase process, yet the fees presented don’t include add-ons like ticket delivery and order processing charges.
By contrast, all of the advance tickets for the April 4 Guster show are the “All In Price” of $25, with no added fees or charges at checkout. Prices will be $27 on the day of the show.
“The collaboration of a ticketing company, a venue, and an artist to arrive at a fair price represents a new way of making live entertainment a more pleasurable experience for the fans,” TicketBiscuit CEO Jeff Gale said. Todd Coder, who recently joined TicketBiscuit as the Director of Business Development, added “The process was pretty easy, it just required clear and open communication among all parties, and a bit of willingness to deviate from the way things have always been done. A lot of credit goes to WorkPlay and Guster for helping us make this happen.“
TicketBiscuit plans to use the positive experience with Workplay to make the All In Price more common in live entertainment. We’ve recently launched a website, www.allinprice.org , to share our approach and insights with other venues, artists, and ticketing companies hoping to further the practice. “The fans demand an All In Price for tickets, and if we can give it to them, they will buy more tickets.” Gale said.
Tickets for Guster go on sale at 10 am Wednesday, January 19, at the All-In-Price of $25. They can be purchased at www.workplay.com or over the phone at 205.879.4773.
In a Wall Street Journal article out today, former Ticketmaster CEO, Fred Rosen, denounces the Ticketmaster model that he essentially created in the 1980s and ’90s. Says Rosen, “The middle-man model is dead.” Rosen’s new venture, according to the Journal, is different because “…instead of listing and selling tickets for thousands of events on a single, centralized website, the new company plans to offer a so-called white-label service that will enable clients … to sell tickets to consumers directly from their own websites.” What a concept! Not to toot our own horn, but this is the model TicketBiscuit has espoused since we opened the doors in 2001.
Back before Google, Facebook, Songkick, Eventful, and the other myriad services and websites that help fans find events, Ticketmaster arguably provided a valuable service in aggregating events on one website. But now, that “service” does more to hijack event owners’ website traffic than it does to provide exposure for those events.
I often hear Ticketmaster clients claim that “people just know to go to Ticketmaster.” I disagree. They know to go to Google; they know to go to Facebook; and they subscribe to services like Songkick which notify them of events they’re interested in. This new paradigm frees event owners from having to get the word out about their events (let your customers do that for you) and lets them instead focus on building brand loyalty and establishing direct communication with customers.
The live entertainment biz is changing – for the better if you ask me. As the combined Ticketmaster and LiveNation struggle to maintain their outdated business model, event owners would do well to sidestep the “middle man.” Those who do not may find their life rafts getting pulled under by that massive sinking ship to which they are tethered.