Ticketing untethered

We’ve noticed big changes over the last year or so in the way consumers access the secondary ticketing market for sport and entertainment, most notably a growing preference for buying tickets on the move from mobile devices.

Overall visits to seatwave.com from mobile devices have jumped from 3.3% to 11.8% of all visits over the past 15 months. And actual transactions from mobile devices have risen in tandem, from 3% to 10.5% of all transactions.

Smartphone purchases have risen steadily from 1.87% to 3.62% of the overall total. That percentage shift may seem small, but the volume it represents is huge – bear in mind there are more than 3 million tickets up for sale on seatwave.com at any one time.

The big story


however is ticket purchases made via tablets – which have grown in volume from 1.3% to 5.4% of the total. Nearly all of these (99.7%) have been made via iPads, whilst iPhones dominate the smartphone category, accounting for 74% of monthly smartphone transactions.

These numbers reflect the broader trend toward personal computing mobile devices, but they also speak to the acceptance of mobile as a convenient way to purchase tickets, and in some cases, receive them in non-paper formats.

Recent research from Juniper bears this out. Mobile has become a powerful lifestyle and social trend that arguably eclipses the technologies that enable it. As promoters and venues continue to embrace mobile ticketing, that will only continue.

Mobile is clearly coming on strong in the ticketing marketplace and that looks set to grow. Watch this space for more innovation


The Seatwave mission

I started Seatwave back in 2006 to help fans get better access to tickets in a safe, transparent way. My mission was to ensure people got to see their favourite band or sporting event without having to resort to buying tickets on the black market.

From the outset, we set up a number of guarantees to ensure fans got the tickets they had paid for (TicketIntegrity) and weren’t out of pocket if an event they’d bought tickets for was cancelled (TicketCover). With guarantees like these, we have consistently led the ticketing market towards more customer-friendly policies. Transparency and security were, and still are, our top priorities.
As we state in the manifesto on our website: we will help people get to events and we’ll help them do it in a secure way.

We also believe that fans should have the right to do what they want with tickets they have bought, including selling them at the going market rate. At Seatwave we provide a safe, secure and transparent marketplace for them to do so.

Sellers can list tickets to any cheap auto insurance quotes event of their choosing and can select their own selling price. We provide tools that show the market value of their tickets on our exchange over time as well as multiple fulfilment options and declining price functionality to enable them to sell their tickets in the most convenient way for them.

Buyers on our platform have access to the same marketplace information, allowing them to make calculated decisions on the best time to buy tickets, according to how much they are willing to pay.

Unfortunately, the proliferation of pre-sales for events means a number of people get early access to tickets. At least half or more of most fan clubs, for example, are made up of ticket brokers who are planning to resell, thus pushing up prices. For that reason, we’d like to see pre-sales eliminated, so that every buyer has fair access, and we’d like venues to publish the percentage of tickets available at the time of public sale, so that each buyer has a fair view of their chances.

Seatwave itself does not buy any tickets for resale. Some Seatwave employees do purchase tickets and resell them, but we have a strict policy that puts them at a disadvantage to anyone else who sells on our site. Any selling by employees that does take place is such a small scale that it can’t affect the market in general, but it does mean those employees experience Seatwave from the customer’s perspective, which in turn helps us provide better service.

There are people who argue that secondary ticketing per se is wrong, that fans should only pay the official ticket price and not a penny more. Some argue that a resale cap of 10% above the official price should be imposed. We believe that if you cap prices, you’ll create a huge black market – exactly the situation we’re trying to tackle with Seatwave.

We also believe that an open ticket market such as ours will, in time, make that market more efficient and ultimately bring prices down for everyone.

– Joe Cohen, Founder and CEO, Seatwave

Launching our iOS SDK & developer portal

Today we’ve not only launched our own iOS SDK but we’ve also launched our own developer portal.

For those of you scratching your head wondering what the ticket an iOS SDK is… It stands for software development kit and the iOS bit is the operating system iPhones run on.

Basically it allows app developers  to easily add ticket buying functionality to their apps. This helps them because it gives them a new way to monetise their apps in a relevant way (without throwing banner ads in your face) and it helps our customers by giving them more ways to purchase tickets.

We’re all heavy iPhone users here at Seatwave

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and between the team we have downloaded a ton of the available music apps. One thing we noticed is that the majority of these apps have iTunes download links and it seems like a logical step to put a ‘buy tickets’ link in there too.

Although we started with a music focus the SDK is relevant to developers of many app genres. The majority of the launch partners’ apps are music related, but we’ve been getting a lot of interest from location based directories. Now we have opened up to the developer community we look forward to seeing some other new uses cases for in-app ticket purchases.

If you are interested in finding out more about the SDK then head over to the Seatwave developer portal and if you would like to check out the SDK in action download one of our launch partners’ apps.

Finally from everyone at Seatwave I would like to say a big thank you to all of our launch partners for helping us squash bugs early on, define the SDK’s functionality, and their continued feedback throughout development process.

Launch Partner Apps
What’s On Air
BandMate: Concert Tipster
Máxima 99.1 FM

Seatwave iOS app goes international

Well it has now been four months since the launch of our first iOS app and we are pleased to say that we have reached a number of internal milestones and have just launched the app in Europe.

So to celebrate these achievements and to say thank you to our customer who have welcomed our app onto their handsets, we are giving you all £25 off the next ticket that you purchase through the app. Don’t worry if you haven’t downloaded the free app yet because we are going to keep this gift code live for the next 48 hours. You can head over here to download the free Seatwave app or simply search “seatwave app” in Google and follow the link to the iTunes store. And if your reading this and don’t have an iPhone, borrow a friends, we promise we won’t tell and you’ll still get to use the gift code.

Once you’re in the app use the code IPHONE25 when checking out.

The discount will expire at 12:00 PM (GMT) on Wednesday the 10th of August, so

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be quick and pick that gig that you’ve been dying to see.

For those of you who are new to our app, here is a quick summery of why we love it and hope that you will to.

  • Sync to iTunes – your app is populated with the artists that we know you like, based on your itunes playlists
  • Location – The app picks up on your location, where ever you are and presents concerts taking place that week
  • Dynamic Seating maps allowing you to pick the actual seats you want in the venue based on blocks, areas & ticket price
  • Ticket Sale A smooth purchase process that allows you to buy directly from your phone.

The UK welcomes Wiz Khalifa

You may know “what it is..” (75 million others have viewed “Black & Yellow” on Youtube) but until recently you maybe didn’t know the artist. It’s now clear that the UK has become very interested in Wiz Khalifa.

At Seatwave, we monitor new artists very closely as they make up such an important component of our marketplace, new artists are breaking out of nowhere constantly and we always like to see whether internet buzz, blog airplay and the hype machine itself can actually result in a market for ticket sales.

When an initial Wiz Khalifa show went on sale on January 12th for the intimate XOYO venue  & “sold out in seconds” this gave the appearance of a quick sell out. This seemed unusual and something we had rarely seen for a new Hip hop artist. A Shepherds Bush show followed and the same occurred, an instant sell out in the primary market – the fact that Wiz had the power to sell out venues raised eyebrows amongst fans (and ourselves to be fair) but did nothing to stop the momentum. Twitter became a wash of requests to see Wiz and the demand in the market for Wiz Khalifa tickets began.

The XOYO show was soon upgraded to the Forum (10x increase in venue capacity) – did this show then follow the same instant sell out ticketing phase as the previous two shows? – No far from it. Did the first two shows actually sell out? Were any tickets actually put on sale for the first two shows?

It didn’t really matter. Wiz was able to enter a market with two shows at two of London’s premier Live venues. As more and more tickets entered the market the initial sold out spike turned into a steady amount of market interest as Black and Yellow gained a UK release and ticket sales became consistent right up until the event.

The beauty of a marketplace is that buyers and sellers can participate in the trading of tickets at any point, not just at the ticket onsale. Did it take Wiz a couple of months to really build up demand in this country ? Yes and sites such as Seatwave allow buyers to be “late in on it” and still pick up tickets when ever they want to.

So what does this all mean? The string pullers at Camp Wiz had been able to create three very hot and oversubscribed shows (at Seatwave we’ve traded over 10% of the tickets for the UK tour) – does this happen with established artists? Yes, we’ll drive trades of close to 20% for more established artists but for an early entry tour this was something we hadn’t seen before.

It’s at this point that marketplace power kicks in. The Wiz onsale took place 5 months before the shows, that’s a long time to keep a buzz going, especially for an act that’s performing and doing most of his promotion Stateside during all that time.

As the market moved bargain hunters were able to pick up tickets for as little as £8 (nearly 40% off the £12.50 cover price) whilst those waiting to get on the back of Wiz have been paying £35-£38…

As artists are born and die in the public eye at a frequency that we’ve never seen before but they all strive for that steady live music income it was refreshing to see that whilst Wiz embraces all that’s new media, ticket sales could be directly attributed back to two very traditional aesthetics.

1. Creating a sold out show – or at least the public perception of one

2. A huge hit record that’s all over the radio.

These promotional concepts have been in place since the conception of the rock show and it’s great to see they can still create markets in 2011.

Quantic + the Combo Barbaro @ The Barbican

As part of the Latin Music Extravaganza that was the Blaze Festival at the Barbican, Quantic brought his Combo Barbaro to London’s finest venue.

For those of you that dont know, Quantic is now Columbia based and formed this latest musical project from Cali’s finest musicians.

I was very excited about seeing the guys after their lp from 2009 “tradition in transistion” had been one of the listens of last year.

How was it? well bit of a shame I’m affraid. they played a grand total of three songs from the LP – just couldnt understand it? – it wasn’t poor but an opportunity missed (the night was saved by the barbican cafe food. amazing as allways!)

NERD @ The Forum

Monday 21st of June saw NERD return to London for a pre-glasto warm up show.  I was exited about finally checking out Pharrell and the lads to went to the Forum very excited.

A fan of all three of their lps I must admit i was expecting to hear some of those smoothed out neptunes sounds but alas it was all a bit “rock-rap”..

Didn’t really hear what i wanted to but the crowd loved it so i can’t front… An energetic show with Pharrell showing he is a true superstar and the crowd hanging off his every word.. Rockstar and Lapdance obviously went down a storm…

A great show…. just a bit too rocky for moi!


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