Amazon Ticketing is shutting its doors, as its UK operations are reportedly ceasing, months after the company abandoned efforts to break into the United States market. Multiple outlets are reporting that its UK management informed partners that it would soon be shutting down. IQ reports that James Moore, the company’s director for music, emailed clients to inform them that the giant had “taken the decision to close Amazon Tickets, and today [21 February] will commence the process of marking back to you any tickets currently on our website and of ceasing the sale of new tickets.”
Hope is not lost for the many who expressed hope that Amazon joining the ticketing world would provide a proper competitor to Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster, which dominates the business in the United States. Billboard is reporting that the company may simply be repositioning for a 2019 relaunch “with new technology and tie-ins with Amazon Echo and Firestick.”
The online retailer had been using technology by London ticketing software firm Ingresso to power some of its online sales in the U.K. But late last year, Amazon officials began quietly meeting with show producers at its Seattle headquarters with a presentation detailing plans to phase out the current ticketing program and replace it with a new ticketing platform tied into Amazon devices like the voice-activated Echo speaker and the Firestick TV streaming device, utilizing its AI-driven personal assistant software Alexa to make searching for tickets easier.
It isn’t clear whether or not any renewed attempt at joining the ticketing fray by the Seattle-based e-commerce giant will come in the form of a push into the primary world, or if it will be another attempt at what Amazon was reportedly hoping to provide in its initial efforts – a new distribution channel for existing primary operators.
For its part, Live Nation/Ticketmaster has not shied away from the potential challenger to its market hegemony. CEO Michael Rapino told attendees at a Goldman Sachs conference in September “It’s Amazon; it’s obviously an incredible business. I give [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos all the credit in the world… But, I’m not going to give my front door away,” Rapino said. “We control 80 million tickets, we have a great software program. If Amazon wants to sell some of our tickets, if that makes the pot bigger for us, great.”
As TheStreet.com put it at the time, “Rapino’s message was, ‘we are willing to work with you, but good luck trying to beat us.’”
Amazon’s foray into the U.S. market reportedly stalled when it couldn’t come to an agreement over distribution with Ticketmaster. Amazon was reluctant to share data on its Prime customer database with the other corporation, and Ticketmaster proved a difficult foe to push through to make direct connections with venues or promotions due to its exclusive contracts with such a high percentage of them. Reportedly, Ticketmaster had pushed for Amazon to become an outlet more for its less-desireable stock at bargain prices rather than a place where consumers could find high-demand shows and events.
For now, it looks like the field is being left to the existing players. But given Amazon’s aggressive expansion into numerous markets – and the feeling by many that Ticketmaster’s operation is, as Motley Fool put it last summer “ripe for disruption” – we’ll keep an eye out for any news about future plays they may make in the space.