2019 American Music Awards

Eventbrite Venues Hit With Six-Hour Outage Ahead of Busy Fall Weekend

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Eventbrite experienced a six-hour outage across many of its client's websites today, Billboard has learned. The outage angered dozens of clients, some of whom say they were made to switch to Eventbrite weeks ago after years on the Ticketfly platform. Eventbrite bought Ticketfly from Pandora in 2017 and has been working to convert clients to Eventbrite Music with an Oct. 1 deadline. 

The outage is believed to have affected clients with websites powered by Eventbrite, preventing venues and promoters from selling tickets on their websites. It was caused by a malfunction of a feed that populates individual venue websites with all events currently on-sale through Eventbrite. Websites for clients like Jam Productions in Chicago, Spaceland Presents in Los Angeles and Alex's Bar in Long Beach were showing no events listed Friday from 11:30 A.M. Pacific to 6 P.M. Pacific and no tickets available for sale.

The outage doesn't affect fans' ability to use tickets at venues or for venues to view their events, and several sites like Yoshi's in Oakland had figured out a work around using a temporary fix created by Eventbrite engineers. Still many promoters were frustrated with the outage at the start of a busy fall weekend when fans were planning on visiting haunted houses, costume-themed nightclub events and Halloween parties two weeks before Oct. 31.

"We are currently experiencing a technical issue that impacts search functionality on eventbrite.com and the Eventbrite consumer app, and event listings on Eventbrite-powered client websites," read an email from Eventbrite sent to clients about an hour into the outage. "Resolving this issue is currently our number one priority and we’re doing everything we can to bring this to resolution as quickly as possible. We apologize and will keep you updated."

Several promoters told Billboard the outage reminded them of the Ticketfly hack in June 2018 that ground the entire independent music infrastructure to a halt and took days to restore service and weeks to repair. Friday's outage is not believed to be connected to any malicious activity and is far less severe, although several promoters reached out to Billboard to express frustration that their sales had essentially stopped on what was normally a good weekend for business. 

The outage comes at a difficult time for the publicly traded ticketing company as it prepares one of its biggest legal fights since going public, asking a U.S. District Court judge to approve a preliminary injunction freezing the assets of Canadian businessman Fab Loranger who allegedly made off with $4 million in advances paid out by Eventbrite for the Roxodus festival in Toronto. Days before the July 11-14 festival was set to take place, Loranger allegedly placed the festival into bankruptcy and transferred the funds to holding companies he controlled.

Eventbrite lawyers say Loranger signed a personal guaranty for the $4 million that was supposed to be used to pay artist deposits for headliners Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nickelback and Kid Rock and prepare the Edenvale Aerodrome festival site for the July 11-14 event. Loranger’s lawyers are asking the judge to deny the freeze request, arguing that the guarantee was signed by someone else using an automated document signing program -- a claim Eventbrite lawyers argue is contradicted with a trove of evidence.

Friday's outage and the fight over the $4 million comes a month before the publicly traded ticketing company prepares to report its third quarter earnings and hopefully reassure investors concerned about a growing operating loss at Eventbrite that rose 26% year-over-year to $13.1 million in the third quarter of 2018. The company’s CEO Julia Hartz is also eager to show progress on transitioning customers over from Ticketfly. A number of marquee Ticketfly have clients left the company ahead of the mandatory migration, including Peter Shapiro’s Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, the I.M.P-managed Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, and Another Planet Entertainment’s Fox Theater in Oakland and The Independent in San Francisco. Others have not yet made the switch.

"As of today, the number of clients that are still in the cutover process of migrating from Ticketfly to Eventbrite is fewer than 10, and these are all client-centric situations where we decided it doesn’t currently make sense to force a move," a statement from an Evenbrite spokesperson reads "For instance, we allowed sold-out shows with no more available tickets from otherwise-migrated clients to stay on Ticketfly. We also allowed seasonal clients who finish their season in October to remain on Ticketfly through the close of that season. While October 1 was an important milestone, our primary mission remains to enable the success of our creators."

Clients who did make the switch to Eventbrite from Ticketfly say Friday's outage is disrupting their business and reinforces fears about transitioning to a system they didn't fully understand.

"This the last straw," said one California promoter. "I didn't like the new site they gave, I thought Eventbrite's software was inferior to what I had with Ticketfly and now this outage has sidelined several on-sales scheduled for today. I am so over it."


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