Live music fans are embracing mobile at a remarkable pace. According to Live Nation, 14% of Ticketmaster sales in North America were purchased on mobile platforms in 2012, double the number that did so in the previous 12 months. In March, Live Nation for the first time sold more than 1 million tickets worldwide on mobile platforms, a trend the company expects to accelerate.
Year over year, attendance at Live Nation events is up 26% through April, and Ticketmaster sales are up 8%, the company revealed in a recent earnings report. Live Nation COO Joe Bechtold expects the convenience of mobile ticketing to lead to further increases in ticket sales. “We know from early data that a traditional e-mail [blast] converts online at 10%-15%,” Bechtold said during Live Nation’s May 7 earnings call. “When you start sending out mobile alerts, they’re converting somewhere in the 20%-30% range, because you’re delivering a content-rich message with immediacy.”
The holy trinity of mobile platforms as they relate to live music is discovery, purchase and access. Live Nation research indicates that more than two-thirds of fans use their smartphones to search for events, while 59% are interested in not only buying tickets on their smartphones but also using an e-ticket on their device, and 47% would buy concessions the same way.
And it’s not just young fans buying tickets on mobile platforms. “We sold out a Paul McCartney show in Canada on a mobile presale,” Bechtold said. “Young and old, the consumer looks at it as an efficient channel. We love it, because we get to take all of the same economics to that channel, and we get to start directly communicating with use of mobile alerts and bringing email to live conversion on your mobile phone. We think it will be a big part of the future of how we increase our conversion rate.”
Asked by analysts what percentage of sales might move from the desktop to mobile within the next few years, Bechtold replied, “It’s only limited right now by the adoption of the ecosystem versus the consumer, so [increased sales will come] as you see all ticket companies–ourselves included–ramping up our apps, our transferability and, more importantly, all of the scanner equipment needed at the venues. Over the next few years, you’ll see mobile sales double and triple fairly fast as the system catches up to the consumer.”