Ticketfly is spreading its wings. The San Francisco-based ticketing company has welcomed Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge, the New York venues owned by music industry vet Michael Swier (co-founder of The Bowery Presents), to its growing platform.
The deals are another boost for Ticketfly and its owner Pandora, which acquired the business last July for $450 million in a move declared at the time by the Internet radio company’s hierarchy as “a game-changer for Pandora -- and more importantly -- a game-changer for music."
Through the new arrangements, tickets will be promoted to Pandora’s listeners in the New York area who have shown a preference to bands booked to play either venue, with sales via Ticketfly kicking off from May 1 on ticketfly.com.
Also, custom stations featuring upcoming Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge performers are now streaming on Pandora, which now boasts nearly 80 million monthly active listeners.
The venues join Ticketfly’s existing family of New York clients which include Central Park SummerStage, Forest Hills Stadium, The Capitol Theatre, Birdland, Output, Baby’s All Right and Brooklyn Bowl.
Billboard caught up with Ticketfly co-founder and CEO Andrew Dreskin to discuss the finer details on its new relationships -- and the bigger-picture for the nascent ticketing company.
How will this deal help Ticketfly, particularly in New York?
First of all, Ticketfly is arguably the dominant middle market provider in all of North America and it's no surprise to anybody that we've got a great profile in the club space. So adding Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge, which are among the most well-known and respected clubs in the United States is obviously a good thing, and I think it continues to tell a story about our success in the middle markets and in the club space.
Ticketfly has very quietly continued to build a pretty impressive presence in the New York market. Central Park Summerstage, Forest Hills Stadium, Capitol Theatre, Brooklyn Bowl, and of course some non-rock venues like Birdland, and then there's the underground scene like Output and Baby's All Right, these venues in Williamsburg. So now adding Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge to that, I think continues to tell a story around Ticketfly's success in New York.
With AEG Live on the verge of acquiring Bowery Presents, why wouldn't those two venues switch to AEG's ticketing platform?
They're separate entities from Bowery Presents. But look, what I can say is the owner of the two venues considered proposals from numerous companies and in the end decided that Ticketfly was the best home for those venues. If Bowery Presents is acquired by AEG Live, that will in no way affect us.
How do the Bowery and Mercury Lounge plan to use Pandora to influence how they book and promote shows?
The thing that promoters are focusing in on is, first, Pandora's scale. Pandora is massive -- nearly 80 million people use Pandora every month for on average 23 hours to listen to music. Second, the ability to target listeners with laser precision; Pandora knows what acts you're interested in, what are affinity or similar acts, and they have great ability to surface ticket sales information to listeners in listener flow in terms of audio messages, audio ads, artist audio messages and other ways as well, and that's very appealing to venues and promoters in terms of increasing sell-thru rates.
And third, and I know this was of interest to the Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge, is the data learning that comes out of Pandora and the ability to utilize those within their business. One example is in the talent buying process: Pandora has troves and troves of data around what artists are trending, in what markets are people creating lots of stations for an artist, how many spins an artist is receiving, and we can share that information with our clients when it comes time for them to book talent.
Is there a radio integration as part of this deal?
There is, yes. There's a mixtape that's being created for both the Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge; in essence it's a custom radio station. So a listener or ticket buyer will be able to go on Pandora and just type in Bowery Ballroom or type in Mercury Lounge and the station will start playing. The stations will be populated with music from artists that are going to be coming to the venue.
Do you have any further details on when concert recommendations will be integrated into Pandora's streaming app?
I don't have any dates for you today, but what I can tell you is that Ticketfly and Pandora are hard at work on integrations between the two platforms. We've got a number of more offline and manual promotions and integrations happening now between the two companies, and automated integrations will start rolling out this summer and continue rolling out for the foreseeable future. First integrations are up in various markets; we've got promotions running for a number of Ticketfly clients, and the first automated integrations should start to roll out this summer.
It's been six months since Ticketfly was purchased by Pandora. How has that acquisition changed the way you guys operate?
I'm probably more excited about the combination today than I was six months ago when it got announced. We are right on the precipice of being able to change the game for event promoters and artists and fans. This is the first time we've had recorded music and live events under the same roof. I think it's going to be game-changing: the idea that we can display our clients' ticket inventory in a hyper-targeted way to a platform of 80 million people who have expressed interest in these acts, I think that's game-changing in the live events space.
With AEG and Live Nation snapping up independent festivals and promoters, particularly in New York, how do you guys feel like you'll be able to keep expanding when the two biggest companies in your field in the world keep taking over these independent opportunities?
Look, we're continuing to play our game. If you're asking me if there will be two concert promoters in the United States, I can answer categorically no to that. There are thousands and thousands of venues and promoters that aren't AEG and aren't Live Nation -- which by the way, I like lots of folks at both companies and they both do a good job -- but there are thousands and thousands of venues and promoters across the country who are continuing to do their thing. I think there's enough room for everybody. I think you're gonna find over time that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are a formidable player in ticketing and live events technology. AEG and AXS are a formidable player in ticketing and live events technology. And I think you're gonna find that Ticketfly and Pandora are a formidable player in ticketing and live events technology.