POWER MOVE: Digitizing every ticket in an ongoing effort to fight scalping; growing operating income by 17%.
THE RUNDOWN: Ticketing has emerged as one of the most important elements of the touring business, and Nathan Hubbard, the former half of Washington, D.C., folk-rock duo Rockwell Church, now oversees the world’s most powerful company in that space.
Amid rising competition, Live Nation Entertainment-owned Ticketmaster remains at the top of its game, servicing more than 10,000 industry clients and moving 400 million-plus tickets annually. The company grew operating income by 17% in 2012 and boasts a 100% client renewal rate. Ticketmaster also draws strength from its 200 million-plus customer database, which allows clients to better target fans.
Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino (No. 4) “gave me the opportunity to sit over this portfolio of assets for one reason: We’re interested in changing the industry,” says Hubbard, who was named CEO following the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger in January 2010. (After Rockwell Church broke up, Hubbard earned an MBA and served as CEO of Coran Capshaw’s fan club e-ticket site MusicToday, which Live Nation acquired in 2006.)
Hubbard plans to retain Ticketmaster’s status as market leader by leading a trend toward ticket digitalization and improving the customer experience. “Over the past few weeks, we’ve digitized every ticket,” says Hubbard, a strong opponent of scalping. “You can now log into your Ticketmaster account and transfer a ticket digitally and seamlessly to your friend. We’re methodically going through the challenges of the buying experience and building great new products.” The ultimate goal? Release “some pretty incredible products” in 2013 that will “fundamentally transform” the way fans buy, sell and transfer tickets.