Ticketing veteran Tom Ewald has joined Prism.fm, the promoter software startup launched by Austin venue owner Stephen Sternschein and tech entrepreneurs Matt Ford and Adrian Tavares.
“I’ve known Steve for the last eight or nine months,” Ewald told Billboard, explaining that Eventbrite, where he had worked since the ticketing company bought Ticketfly in 2017, has a tech integration with Prism. “I have a lot of partners using the platform and their response has always been excellent. It’s a great group and I think it fits in with my career working with independent promoters and venues, which I’ve done my whole life.”
The former VP of Music at Eventbrite will serve as the company’s chief revenue officer and work from Chicago where he will lead sales for Prism.fm, which licenses software that helps venues and promoters centralize their data and revenue streams will tools that assist with artist offers, calendar management and show settlements. In March the company secured $2.2 million in seed funding from a number of angel investors and has been adopted by over 100 promoters and 500 venues around the globe. Sternschein is a concert promoter with Heard Presents and owner of Austin’s Empire Control Room and Garage, while Ford and Tavares co-founded the Solstice Live app and Solstice Fest.
Ewald has worked for Ticketmaster and Ticketweb and joined Ticketfly in 2009 as one of the company’s first employees where he oversaw sales, helping Ticketfly grow into one of the most dominant ticketing companies in music’s middle market of independent promoters. Ticketfly was purchased by Pandora in 2015 and then bought by Eventbrite in 2017, and last year Eventbrite officials announced they were sunseting the Ticketfly brand. In May, Ticketfly founder Andrew Dreskin announced he was leaving the company.
”Tom is a true music ticketing veteran and we’re thankful for the many years of service and the dedication he’s shown towards his team and his clients at both Ticketfly and Eventbrite. The team here wishes him all the best as he explores new horizons beyond the ticketing business,” Andy Donner, svp for music & corporate development for Eventbrite said in a statement.
It was Ewald who helped Ticketfly develop its independent promoter sales strategy and rapidly grow the ticketing firm. In his work with music presenters, he said he noticed that many didn’t use common business tools and accounting software to track and grow their businesses.
“They kept a lot of it in their head,” he tells Billboard. “As they try to pass on their legacies and train new people, it’s difficult to transfer it to somebody else. If (promoters like Sternschein) decide to go live up on a mountain for two weeks, his staff doesn’t have that history and that knowledge available to them.”
Sternschein says Prism.fm has consolidated the financial aspects of all of a venue’s past relationships and settlements into a single place, and has standardized offers “that had been sent over as spreadsheets, word docs or written on back of napkins” into an easily recognized format for agencies.
“This is an opportunity to be back at a small, growing company to create software to meet the needs of the music industry. It’s reinvigorating,” Ewald said. “I started at TicketWeb when it was a small company, and was there when Ticketly was a small company. It got bought by Pandora and Eventbrite and I stuck around for a while. And now I’m back at a small company. Not much has changed — I still enjoy working with independent promoters and I’m still a cranky bastard.”