For much of their history, the exciting promise of gig-discovery apps like Bandsintown and Songkick was only matched by the crushing frustration of tapping through to buy tickets on the distinctly un-mobile-optimised websites of the big ticketing firms.
Yet spurred by the ‘mobile-first’ chatter in recent years, and nudged along too by inventive mobile ticketing startups like WillCall and Dice, things have been changing for a while now.
Yesterday brought the latest evidence that mobile ticketing is a real area of focus for the biggest companies in the live market.
Bandsintown announced an extension of its partnership with Ticketmaster to launch in-app ticket sales within the latter’s smartphone app. It kicks off in late March with “select” concerts in the US, at a time when Bandsintown says it is adding 700k new concertgoers a month through the app.
Ticketmaster claims that based on early tests, the in-app purchasing feature could improve conversion rates by up to five times.
This is part of Ticketmaster’s wider push to open up as a company to more partners. “We’re not opening the floodgates all at once. We’re going to roll out those partnerships incrementally,” Ticketmaster’s North America president Jared Smith told TechCrunch. “Historically we’ve been a single channel seller and this is a way to be an open channel seller.”
The news follows a blog post early this year from Ticketmaster’s Ismail Elshareef declaring that “In order to continue delivering on our promise, we have to embrace a platform on which 3rd-party product innovators can bring those moment of joy to fans. We have to democratise the creation of compelling, innovative products powered by our APIs.”
It’s a big challenge for Ticketmaster, but a healthy evolution both for the company and the wider market.
There’s much more to be explored here. The evolution of ticketing isn’t just about making it easier to buy tickets on smartphones, even if that’s an important step.
Rethinking what a ticket even is once it becomes a digital item is part of this change, as is experimenting with the relationship music fans have with whoever is selling them the ticket: from music recommendations to streaming integrations to other e-commerce offers to… You get the picture.
With the likes of Pandora and Spotify thinking hard about how ticketing fits in to their businesses too; with startups like Dice iterating rapidly; and with Songkick planning big things after its merger with CrowdSurge, it’s an encouraging time for the live market.