In A Busy Market, Ticketfly Pushes Forward
It was at the 2010 NBN Summit conference in Nashville that Ticketfly founder Andrew Dreskin said he realized, “I was probably older than most of the people on the panel.”
Dreskin first started promoting shows when he was in college at Tulane in New Orleans, and later co-founded Ticketweb in 1995, the first web-based ticketing system. Dreskin says Ticketweb was “revolutionary in its time,” essentially re-writing Ticketmaster’s offline model for the web. (Ticketmaster acquired Ticketweb in 2000.)
All the same, Dreskin says, thinking back to the panel, “I remember enjoying it. It was a lively discussion.”
The same could be said for the ticketing business at large right now. With the Ticketmaster and Live Nation merger — a move that leaves some venues and promoters in competition with their ticket provider — plus emerging technologies that are bringing new players into the marketplace, there’s definitely a lively discussion.
Into this busy market, Dreskin launched Ticketfly in 2008, which would help take ticket-selling to the next level.
“We’re not just a ticketing company,” Dreskin says. “We view ticketing as the culmination of a successful marketing endeavor.” The Ticketfly platform offers other tools such as website technology, email marketing, social marketing, and analytics.
On Tuesday, August 9, Ticketfly announced new deals with a few head-turning clients. The San Francisco-based company will service the new Philadelphia music venue, Union Transfer, which is being opened by New York’s Bowery Presents promoters and Sean Agnew of R5 Productions. Legendary Arizona-based promoter Danny Zelisko, who recently left his post at Live Nation to go independent, has also signed on with Ticketfly.
“The most exciting young promoters are choosing Ticketfly, and also Danny Zelisko, a legend in the business. He’s right up there with the Bill Grahams of the world. We think it presents an interesting dichotomy.”
Dreskin says that the Ticketweb of today lacks the integrated solution that Ticketfly can offer its clients. But there are also a handful of tech-savvy companies that have begun shifting the landscape of the event business.
Eventbrite, who shared the stage with Dreskin on the Nashville panel, offers robust payment processing and social media integration, and is making music ticketing a major focus for their future.
With the trend in mobile payment processing, many of the newer ticketing solutions are touting their strides in mobile payments.
But Dreskin says selling tickets out in the middle of a field is nothing new. “Most industrial ticket providers have been doing that for years and years,” he says.
Ticketfly serves major festivals such as Rock The Bells in Southern California, Governor’s Ball in New York, and the Life Is Good Festival in Boston, offering on-site operations like box office and scanning, sometimes even setting up WIFI for real-time scanning at the gate.
On the topic of another trend that many in the events space are pondering, Dreskin hints that his company is working on some type of group buying technology that will be “game changing” before the end of the year.
“There are a lot of interesting things you can do to incentivize ticket buyers,” says Dreskin, though he admits the deals market may be reaching a saturation point. “For event promoters, it’s an interesting way to move distressed inventory.”
And while the recorded music industry continues to rethink itself with new subscription cloud models like Spotify, Rdio, and Apple’s iCloud, Dreskin says he and his colleagues spend a lot of time thinking about the future of ticketing and live events.
“We think disruption is happening by us and other players in the industry right now,” he says.
Dreskin says he’s excited about fresh products and partners who are coming up with new ways to promote concerts and sell tickets.
“Songkick is a great example,” he says. “We have a broad affiliate network and our goal is to display our clients’ inventory in front of as many people as possible. Songkick is one of our top referrers and we are working on some technology that will allow us to further integrate with folks, like Songkick, in the near future.”