Ticketfly Execs Talk Canadian Growth, Future Expansion

From left: Ticketfly Canada's Bruce Morrison; Daily Unsigned's Rob Figarola; and Ticketfly co-founder,  president, COO Dan Teree at Canadian Music Week (photo: Luther Mallory)

Ticketfly Canada has now landed two-dozen promoters and venues since January when the San Francisco-based ticket company launched in Canada and says others will follow suit when their existing contracts expire.

“We are tracking to sell $8 million worth of tickets in Canada in our first year of operation,” Ticketfly Canada’s general manager Bruce Morrison tells Billboard.

In 2012, Ticketfly processed $126 million in gross tickets sales in the U.S., up 62 percent from 2011, and more than doubled its client roster, according to figures from Ticketfly.  Additionally, the company claims venues and promoters who switched to Ticketfly in 2011 reported an average ticket sales increase of 36 percent for 2012 and saved an average of 10 hours per week managing and promoting events in 2012.

Armed with these statistics, Ticketfly expanded into Canada and began meeting with venues and promoters.

“The initial resistance was ‘you’re new’, but we were very lucky in getting over that very quickly,” says Morrison. “There’s a lot of market recognition; there’s a lot of referrals happening within the independent music industry and other industries that are pushing us forward.

“So the resistance that we’re seeing and the challenge that we have is the same as anyone would have coming into a market. There’s existing relationships; there’s contractual relationships. I could name ten people that I’ve talked to who would love to be on our platform right now — and who will be on our platform in the future — but there’s a contractual relationship in existence with another promoter.”

“And you signed some of those deals yourself,” Ticketfly co-founder, president and COO Dan Teree interjects.

Both Teree and Morrison previously worked for Ticketmaster, Morrison as director of operations for Ticketmaster Canada and Teree as COO and business unit head of TicketWeb, a division of Ticketmaster.

Despite other companies being unavailable or unwilling to sign at present, in just over 70 days Ticketfly Canada has brought in Toronto-based Collective Concerts, Calgary-based Union Events, Toronto’s Inertia Entertainment, Ottawa’s Spectrasonic and more.

“For that kind of growth in that amount of time frame for a new entry into the market, that’s pretty remarkable,” says Morrison. “It speaks to the reputation that Ticketfly has and to our platform and to the service that we’re offering to these folks to make them feel confident that they can make the switch.”

Ticketfly Canada currently has a sale team of three — two based in Toronto who cover Ontario, the East coast and some of Manitoba and one person in Calgary covering the Alberta market and West coast.

“The biggest challenge with anybody who is switching ticketing systems is switching ticketing systems,” Morrison says frankly. “You’ve got your process and your procedures down.

“It’s when they look at the tools we offer and the social amplification and the ability to do analytics on clients and then leverage that information, work with our team to be able to analyze that and say, ‘Hey, this is where you should maybe be focusing on promotional efforts; this is where you should be doing some marketing, have you thought about this,’ take that collecting knowledge that’s really what’s wowing the clients. That’s what drives me every day and makes me excited.”

Chatting alongside is Rob Figarola of new music discovery site Daily Unsigned in a hallway at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, Teree is asked if partnering with companies outside of venues and promoters could in any way be beneficial for what they are doing (Figarola is not involved with Ticketfly).

“Our company is about doing the same thing [as Daily Unsigned],” says Morrison. “Our company is about informing fans about artists and ultimately culminating that in a live experience that you can’t get anywhere else. So in Rob’s case, he may pick up on an act before anybody else does and if we’ve got that act working in a venue that we’re ticketing or working with a promoter that we’re ticketing, that’s going to help boost the act. That’s gonna help get the word out. It’s gonna help promote. It’s good for everybody.”

Teree has found this happening more, particularly at Ticketfly’s user conference in January in San Francisco. “Because we have a wonderful array of talent buyers at that discovery level — 200 - 2500 capacity— a lot of our clients are now talking to each other to say, ‘What’s the hot local acts?’ Our clients, by being part of this Ticketfly community, are now sharing notes on different acts around the country.”