If you’ve ever heard me rant at a conference over the last 10 years, or been at dinner with me after two glasses of Pinot Noir, you’ll know I’ve been banging the drum for a while now on the potential for ticketing within streaming services and social networks.
I’m still genuinely surprised none of the live giants have bought a streaming service yet. Although, on the other side of the coin, it’s worth noting Access Industries appear to be barking up that tree with their current portfolio, which includes Deezer and Songkick. Vivendi also has See Tickets, Paylogic and stakes in various streaming services. There have also been disasters in this space, with the likes of Amazon Tickets and Pandora buying (and then selling) Ticketfly but, one thing’s for sure, it’s an interesting space right now, even if some people have not fully realised its potential.
On the whole, there is still a long way to go before technology, data and the music industry collide to become truly significant globally, but with the news that TikTok is rolling out ticketing capability in South East Asia and with the continued success of Spotify’s Who We Be shows, now is a good time to have a little look at where we are and where we might go.
YouTube integrated ticketing a couple of years back and you can now sell there via AXS, Eventbrite and Ticketmaster in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and, as of last month, the UK. There’s still a long way to go with joining the dots; they don’t offer any form of notification system like some others to fully utilise Google’s insane data pots. That feels like a missed opportunity for everyone (and a missed ad product for Google). Out of all the major streaming services, Google not only knows what you’re listening to and watching but likely what you’re searching for, how many event-based Google Ads you’ve clicked on and what you’re buying your granny for Xmas. But for now, if an artist channel is opted-in to, dates appear under that artist’s videos with ticketing links.
Spotify is still one of the smarter ticketing tests out there. Their tour pre-sales have long helped not only boost initial sales, whilst having a real fan reward feel about them, but they undoubtedly also raise general awareness of tours taking place. Spotify stands out from the pack for me because they actually use their listening data to communicate with fans about shows and music they are very likely to be interested in. Their subsequent integrations with companies like AXS, Eventbrite, Songkick et al allow API scrapes to update artists’ listings and are a great addition outside of any comms direct to fans.
They were early to the game with Songkick integration (we all know how that particular cookie crumbled) but the potential for what they could do in this space is incredible. Not to mention how it could drive revenue if they integrate some new ad products around it, along with affiliate revenue on sales.
Facebook and ticketing... Again, it’s only in limited territories but Facebook have both tried, tested and, in many cases, implemented various ticketing solutions over the last few years, with both big name ticketing companies such as AXS and Ticketmaster, and event-owners direct via a partnership with Eventbrite. They’ve seen ticketing success in all manner of areas, including sport and cinema in-app, and music is no different in active territories. But if the rumours of an alleged new Facebook streaming service are to be believed, we’d all do well to keep an eye on the bigger potential there going forward.
Pandora’s entry to ticketing was a costly one. They bought Ticketfly for a pretty hefty sum back in 2015 but went on to sell it to Eventbrite, for much less. Since their SiriusXM acquisition they’re revisiting those relationships and earlier this year they integrated with Ticketmaster’s API in a set-up much like that of Spotify: on-sale notifications based on location and listening habits. Outside of the API scrapes, artists can access these functionalities direct via the back-end AMP facilities.
Tencent is also a really interesting case in point here. When we look across global markets, they’ve fingers in more pies than your local baker, stretching across just about every sector in our industry (and beyond). If the reported UMG investment completes, Tencent would be a real beast to contend with on the global stage and I don’t doubt for a second this is likely one of the many reasons IMPALA has said it’s going to contest it.
And finally to TikTok. I’ve written before about some of the bonkers numbers we’re seeing on ads there but, with parent company Bytedance’s streaming service waiting in the wings (with reportedly a real emphasis on social functions), and the unstoppable rise of TikTok installs, this is absolutely an interesting offering, globally.
Of course, these progressions come with their own challenges: the ever-complicated live industry with its allocations, bids, secondary ticketing and the rise of dynamic pricing… But if I could offer some advice to the ticketing industry it would be: Get mobile, get innovative, get integrated.