Posts Tagged ‘Ticketmaster’


January 13, 2014

“We don’t make money when we sell things, we make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.”  That’s a quote credited to Jeff Bezos from the book The Everything Store as well as the presentation Ticketfly’s new Director of Marketing, Kristina Wallender gave at the Aspen Live Conference in December.

Kristina’s talk was titled “4 Things The Music Business Can Learn from Amazon”.  The two points I took away were 1) Obsess Over Customers and 2) Test and Measure.  We can all do a lot more of both.

At the beginning of Kristina’s talk, she asked for a show of hands of attendees who had used Amazon in the past year…almost the entire room raised their hands.  Kristina followed with, “now keep your hands up if you were wowed (not sure of her exact words) by their service”…and nearly everyone kept their hands up.

We all know ways to obsess over our customers, but we don’t…so others do.  Everyone screams about not getting a cut of ‘scalper’s’, “broker’s”, “agency’s”, and secondary market’s lift on tickets instead of asking how we can emulate them.  Talk with your friends with money outside our business and you will find most would rather use their “guys” who know what events they would like, seat locations, parking and VIP packages they prefer, and even hotels they may like instead of going to the primary market where they have no direction and can’t get what they want even if they knew what they wanted.

One thing Kristina challenged those in the room to “test and measure” that got everyone’s blood pressure rising was refundable tickets.  Ask yourself the same question.  Do you believe a refundable ticket would have a positive or negative effect on overall sales of a show?  Whether your answer is yes or no, would you be willing to test and measure results?  Take half the house…or even a much smaller percentage and offer them as refundable tickets.  Kind of like purchasing travel insurance or Ticketmaster’s new product for live entertainment…but the guest doesn’t have to pay.  Take the price out…or offer it as an option.  The airlines (not always the business model you want to follow but roll with me) sell refundable tickets at a higher price.  Try it all.  See what works.

Do you test and measure your marketing efforts?  The joke in our business is “half of our advertising works, we just aren’t sure which half”.  Well that can, must and will change or you will be looking for a new gig.  You should be maximizing ROI, and with “big data”, testing and measuring the results has never been easier.

A few other things you may want to ask Kristina, yourself, team, friends, industry peeps, artists, and most importantly your guests… 1) How can we use in-store, or in our case in-venue messaging to serve the fan better and thus sell more stuff?  2) What are the best ways to target messaging and distribution?  3) How do you include customers and potential customers in the process (poster contests, street teams, online videos, volunteers to collect/ capture guest data etc.)? 4) How would you setup an “Amazon Prime” for live entertainment where members actually pay more for services?

On a personal note, it would not be right to closeout 2013 without mentioning how our friends Sue Mclean and Milt Olin touched our lives.  I know I speak for many of you when I say these two were both great people taken much too young.


August 29, 2013

Nathan Tweets

It didn’t take long for our friend and former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard to land back another gig as he takes over Commerce for Twitter.

Nathan has a very interesting pedigree.  He is a musician who played in the band Rockwell Church that toured and recorded 5 albums; is a graduate of Princeton as well as Stanford Business School; ran Music Today for Coran Capshaw; took over ticketing and digital initiatives at Live Nation after they acquired Music Today; and following the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, Nathan moved over to run the company. Most importantly, Nathan is an Aspen Live alumnus.  We feel that has a lot to do with his success.

Nathan told Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman “We’re going to go to people who have stuff to sell and help them sell it to Twitter more effectively,”

Aspen Live Update

TONIGHT, Thursday, August 29th at 9:30pm there is an Aspen Live meet-up at Trader Vic’s in Beverly Hills (in the Beverly Hilton) to celebrate Steiny and Jason’s LA Visit (Dan Steinberg from Square Peg Concerts and Jason Zink of Sherpa Concerts).

Whether an Aspen Live Alumni or just curious, come hang with a great group of people from the live entertainment business.  If you have any questions, please email me at

As for this year’s event, our dates are December 12-15 at the St. Regis, Aspen.  Register now and save money  Please know we are a little over half way to sell-out.  Please don’t wait till it is too late.


Aspen Live Alumni and owner of the Roxy, Adler Integrated, Sunset Strip Music Festival and more…Nic Adler and his wife Allison celebrated a new member of their family, a baby boy named Cassius (hope I spelled that right). Please make sure to congratulate them.

Another alumni and VP of Venue Relations for Goldstar Events, Wendi Lebow and her husband Peter welcomed a baby girl, Bianca to their clan.  Please reach out to see pictures.

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Have a great holiday weekend!






March 5, 2012

“Hit songs are the root of dozens of spending habits that advertisers, TV stations, bars, dance clubs – even technology firms such as Apple – rely on.”  What a quote!  It comes from Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit and the book is fascinating …not about the music business or hit songs per se, yet the above says a lot.  So why aren’t we doing better?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the tides are about to turn…and data will lead the way.  A good example of this change is Ticketmaster/Live Nation’s purchase of analytics company, Big Champagne.  Without question a promising move.  Data will help us treat our guests like individuals.  Read The Power of Habit and you too will be inspired. 



January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!  Thought a good first newsletter for 2012 would be lessons I learned at the Aspen Live Conference in December.  Everything, as always comes down to marketing.  Thanks to all our guests, speakers and moderators for sharing. Special thanks to Scott Tobias from Village Voice Media, Nathan Hubbard at Ticketmaster, and Nic Adler from the Roxy and Sunset Strip Music Festival for providing much of the content below.   

  • Tickets are selling much closer to a show’s play date.  How do we change this? 
  • We need to go where the fans are (Facebook, Twitter, Chat Rooms, and even malls)…then listen…and respond.
  • Mobile – This segment will continue to double (at least) each year. 
  • Be Transparent – Even giants like Ticketmaster are seeing that conversion from click-to-sale is much higher.
  • At the same time, “all-in” or “one-price” ticketing is the future (e.g. Anaheim Ducks went “all-in” and saw a 56% increase in sales)
  • Be Authentic – And don’t try to appeal to everyone.
  • Facebook is your friend.  Test and measure your returns. 
  • Cooperation vs. Competition (supporting the community).
  • Bots are getting a vast majority of the good seats in the first few minutes of an on-sale. This isn’t good for anyone but scalpers.
  • On average, 30% of inventory goes unsold.
  • Ticketing Insurance…think travel insurance.  What happens if a fan buys a ticket then finds out they can’t make it?  This is very smart.
  • Build Bridges Not Walls – This goes along with cooperation, transparency, listening…well everything. 
  • Bricks-n-Mortar – Ticketmaster sold a lot of tickets @ Wal-Mart.  Look what Apple did for retail…and retail did for Apple.
  • Leverage Data –Know who your fans are, what they like, where they shop…info is the way to win. 
  • ROI…Return On Energy – Return on energy is what Nic Adler from the Roxy uses to measure the efforts his team puts into their social media campaigns. 
  • Embrace New Technology – This doesn’t mean to jump-in without a plan.

There was plenty more you can find out from any of the Aspen attendees.  Next December we will video tape our sessions for those that can’t make it…but you should find a way to make it.   


November 27, 2011

News reports say 2011’s holiday shopping season opened with the biggest weekend in history. The factors include deep discounting (mostly loss leaders to get consumer traffic) and longer store hours.  The biggest driver for this weekend’s sales, the retailers made shopping an event.

It felt, at least to my kids, that if they didn’t participate in Black Friday, they were missing something. So the 14-year old was out by 3:30am and the 12-year old waited to 6:00am.  Both would do it again.  Did you have a Black Friday sale for your events?

Cyber Monday is tomorrow.  Ticketmaster is participating…so are many ticketing and music sites…are you?

Do you remember McDonald’s Gift Certificates?  They were the ultimate stocking stuffer and my brother and I looked forward to having “Santa” deliver them every year.  Do you have gift certificates?  Apple does with the iTunes Gift Card and they have created the new ultimate stocking stuffer…except it’s available all year…at the grocery check-out, 7-Eleven, and Wal-Mart.  Why is a computer company continuing to lead the way in music innovation?

Watching football, Fox just ran a commercial for the Lexus “Season To Save Event”.  Do you have a Season To Save Event…or is your brand too precious for sales?

We must become relevant to consumers again.  It isn’t as complicated as we pretend it is.  There are very few shows that sell-out…recorded music that sells millions (CD’s or downloads)…or merchandise that retailers can’t keep on the shelves.  This can change.

Watch what others do and copy them.  It is at least a start. 

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!



November 6, 2011

The Steve Jobs book is having a big effect on my thinking lately.  There’s a quote from Jobs about halfway through that hits like a sledgehammer.  “In the end, you just don’t want someone else to control a big part of user experience.”  In Live Entertainment, that’s all we do…with a few exceptions.

The talent/artist/act/athlete/producer/director has their vision and from there, the watering down begins.  Costs play the biggest role in diluting the message.  The show needs a place to play (w/ venue ops people, box office, security, ticket takers, ushers, parking attendants, customer service, etc, all between the show and guest) , marketing, ticketing, production and design, crew, etc, which can all have negative impacts…yet can be cost prohibitive to carry.  Cirque du Soleil has their touring shows in tents and the others, installs/sit-downs (Vegas, NY, LA, etc) where they can transform and control the environment.

Disney is similar in wanting control of the experience.  With Broadway, the theme parks, cruise ships, adventures and vacations, guests are coddled from the first interaction. The exception would be Feld Entertainment’s Disney On Ice which is a license that has been in place for decades. 

So what do we do?  It needs to start with a hybrid model.  Let’s use Feld as an example. 

Tickets are sold, mostly through Ticketmaster rather than Disney or Feld’s own ticketing.  This is necessitated by the multiple venues the show plays under contract (although Feld does have their own promoter agreements with TM).  The same with ticket takers, security, ushers, box office, etc.  Yet Feld does promote the shows internally (w/ help from venue marketing), caries production, crew, performers…and their own merch and concession operations and sales people (to the dismay of venues around the world).

Take a look at your upcoming projects and find every touch point with guests that you can take control of.  Apple, along with Disney and Cirque believe in the end-to-end user experience.  You should too. 

Aspen Update – The 16th Annual Aspen Live Conference is filling up like it hasn’t in years.  At this point, The St. Regis, Aspen is completely sold-out.  There are still Grand Deluxe rooms available at the Limelight Hotel.  Please go to and register today.


February 16, 2010

Irving strikes again…and at the same time does something good for promoters, producers, venues, artists, sports teams, family shows…and yes fans too. 

The deal Irving Azoff announced on February 12th between Wal-Mart and Live Nation/Ticketmaster will almost instantly add 500 brinks-and-mortar points-of-sale for events either playing for the promoter or a venue that uses Ticketmaster for its ticketing.  Would a Wal-Mart shopper actually buy concert or sporting tickets on an impulse?  If it is marketed, yes. 

Marketing seems to be one of the problems (besides the company closing stores) with the deal between Live Nation and Blockbuster.  The store near my house is a perfect example.  They get a ton of foot traffic and participate in the Live Nation ticketing program.  But the concert calendar they have up in the store never has dates or venues listed and the staff behind the counter has very little idea how to sell tickets to a guest anyway. 

Wal-Mart is a marketing machine.  Imagine how many people pass through the doors of a single store in one-day?  The issue of course will be price.  Most of our tickets are not scaled at “Wal-Mart prices”.  When a customer goes into their neighborhood Wal-Mart to buy Eggo Waffles and Tide, will a message in the store prompt them to purchase 30-Seconds to Mars tickets or will the price point and service charges scare them away?

This is one you should all take full-advantage of.  See how many different ways you can use the Wal-Mart ticket outlets to your benefit.  Find ways of creating destination buyers for Wal-Mart…drive traffic to their stores.  Run midnight madness promotions…get back to having fun.

The deal is done.  Make the most of it.   

Speak with you soon…