September 20, 2011 at 11:12 am

TicketLeap Takes on Ticketmaster for ‘Long Tail’ Events with Social Features

ticketleap ticketmaster concerts ticketsTicketmaster and Live Nation joined to create an all-in-one ticketing and promotions platform, that’s practically synonymous with the idea of online ticketing, but it’s not the only game in town. TicketLeap, which has been around since 2003, launched what it is calling ” the industry’s first ever all-in-one mobile ticketing and events marketing platform” last month.

What does that mean? Basically, TicketLeap now offers a mobile web app that combines ticket purchasing, social networking about the show, and the ability for the phone to act as a ticket by displaying a QR code.

In TicketLeap’s idea of a perfect world, everybody has a smartphone (although it also lets you print “dumb” tickets on a computer), and Live Nation/Ticketmaster doesn’t control venues by dishing them out a healthy portion of those “convenience fees” that consumers still don’t understand. Also, shows start well before the opening act and continue past the encore.

Ticket buyers can announce their attendance via Twitter or Facebook as they buy tickets.

“We see events as having a life cycle,” said TicketLeap founder and CEO Chris Stanchak, who launched the company in 2003 out of Wharton Business School. “The event starts when the tickets go on sale. Before the event and at the event, you have communication with other people who are at the event, and people who are looking at the event, and then, post-event reliving the memory. We’re building a very social platform for ticketing that not only makes the event more fun, but also drives more ticket sales.”

Of course, Ticketmaster/Live Nation notoriously has most big events and venues on a lockdown — in part because it obtains exclusive ticketing rights by offering venues part of those hated convenience fees. TicketLeap, however, sees more opportunity in smaller events, because they have more strident fans.

“We’re not doing what Ticketmaster’s doing — we’re going after everything else,” explained Stanchak. “What we saw is that there’s an inverse loyalty or fanaticism tail that works in the opposite direction. The bigger the event, the less people have in common with each other… [at smaller events] people are just dying to communicate with one another, and there hasn’t been a place to do that. Facebook fan pages don’t really facilitate that, because you’re seeing everybody, not just the people who are going to the events… In our most successful events, we’ve seen up to 75 percent of people sharing [their attendance to their social networks], which is pretty insane.”

Of course, another, more widely-known company is also going after the long tail of event ticketing — Eventbrite.

“They have a really strong foothold in the business event market,” conceded Stanchak. “Now they’re trying to pivot and turn into a ticketing company, and they’ve had some success by buying their way in — paying off event organizers to sign with them.”

Where have we heard that one before?

To that, Stanchak says he sees a trend towards artists (as opposed to venues or promoters) controlling their own ticketing, and, we assume, paying venues a set fee — more like a rental than the way live music works today. This would also allow bands to own the relationship with the fans, adding the ticketing list to their email list and so on.

“Artists, especially independent artists, want to control their own ticketing,” he said. “And they’re not going to be small artists forever — eventually, they’re going to be the new big artists, and they’re going to want to control ticketing.”

Of course artists also get a slice of those Ticketmaster convenience fees, which is another reason TicketLeap faces an uphill climb in its bid to reinvent ticketing, which — by most fans’ accounts — sure could use it.

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  • Hunter Todd

    We have been with TicketLeap since they opened up for business. We program and ticket more than 150 individual shows/programs with them every year. They are wonderfully responsive, they take a very personal and professional interest in your events, and they pay the very next day! I cannot emphasize how wonderful and critically important this feature is – funds directly deposited into your account the next day! Perhaps this feature is reserved for long-qualified clients, but it makes a huge difference. Their customer service and technical support is wonderful and we do not pay the ‘cornvenience fees’ – our clients do,, and without any grumbling. Our  very highest rating to TL, our partners in event ticketing! Regards from Texas, Hunter Todd – the 45th Annual WorldFest-Houston Intl Film Festival.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the great feedback. We really appreciate the business.