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RAPINO'S TAKE
ON TICKETING:
"BE ARTIST-CENTRIC"

When Live Nation chief Michael Rapino released details of the company’s recently completed quarter—once again, they did huge business in the summer—he went deep on activities at Ticketmaster, specifically the Verified Fan effort that has become commonplace for tours by superstar artists such as Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and U2.

For Ticketmaster, which has been besieged with complaints for decades, to “really turn around its business with artist(s) and really be artist-centric, Verified Fan was a core product development,” he said of the ticketing system introduced this year to keep out scalpers and bots.

“We think we pulled a really strategic kind of zig versus zag in the marketplace here,” said Rapino, Live Nation’s President and CEO. “While everyone was obsessed with secondary business, our clients are actually obsessed with pricing the house better and then locking down that price point.

“We think Fan Verified—and then you add on [the ticketless system] Presence from the digital perspective—are a real important combination for these artists of the future, who now believe they have some shot at controlling and delivering to their fans the price point at the exact price they want.”

Verified Fan is an outgrowth of Ticketmaster’s desire to meet the needs of artist and fans. Rapino said artists and their reps have become increasingly willing to look at Ticketmaster’s algorithms and dynamic pricing ideas and tools. The second step for the ticketing giant was to ensure that artists were committed to the specific price points.

“When you sit down with U2s and Taylor Swifts of the world, I think they're the best brand managers in the world, right,” Rapino said. “So, they are very, very astute on what is the price, not what's the most they can charge. That's not how they built these global brands. It's what's the price that makes sense for the production and the cost of the show and fair to the fan and how do I make sure that my fan has a shot to buy that ticket.

“The system is not perfect yet, but I'd say this was a real monumental movement where the artist has absolutely control in implementing this tool and some of the cost of delivering a ticket directly to a fan could come at the expense of transferability.

"But I think that the artist at times is willing to make that trade-off in terms of delivering that ticket direct to the fan. And to-date, we've had great success at that. The only complaints we've seen is from the scalper, not the fan.”

 

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