I had a chance to sit down and chat with Eric Fuller (link to the podcast) , a broker that has become well known in ticketing circles for his lawsuits against ScoreBig and Ticketmaster, to discuss his ongoing lawsuit against Ticketmaster and the current state of tickets in the United States.
The conversation was interesting because it moved past the typical he said, she said, us versus them, back and forth that typifies too many conversations around the primary and secondary market.
In this conversation, we got into stuff like Eric’s lawsuits, sure. But we also covered ethics, fan development, cultivating a culture of spending money on the live experience, pricing, and more.
Here are 3 things I took away from the conversation:
Everyone involved in tickets has a responsibility to develop the next generation of artists and fans:
Eric is concerned about the next generation of concert goers and the bands and acts that will come out to see them.
In Eric’s point of view, we need to get back to the idea of growing up with a band. He uses the example of Greta Van Fleet as one where a band is being pushed into larger venues more rapidly than their audience might be ready for.
In my mind, this is absolutely an issue.
I remember seeing The Black Keys a few years back at the Verizon Center and having the show lose all energy because there were likely only about 8,000 people in the 18,000 person arena.
If we move beyond concerts into sports or theatre, the same issue is at play because we just aren’t developing fans in a way that is going to make us have a natural base of customers that will stick with us no matter what.
Why is that?
There are a lot of factors and we touch on some of them in the podcast.
The finite game is the only game that businesses seem to be able to understand these days:
I’ve talked about the finite game versus the infinite game a lot lately. There’s a great book on the topic by James Carse that you can read in an hour or two that gives you everything you could ever need on the topic, but what my conversation with Eric uncovered was that in too many cases, the only goal of a business in the ticket industry seems to be that we want to squeeze every nickel from the transaction today…tomorrow be damned.
This is something I’ve been speaking and writing about a lot lately because I think that at a certain point the price or the perception of price stands in the way of a lot of buying decisions.
Or, it is pretty easy for a consumer to begin to feel as if they are being abused due to the nature of the pricing decisions.
To my perspective, too much emphasis has been placed on the finite game and we are beginning to see the repercussions of that in the number of empty seats at baseball games and in venues around the country.
You have to be customer focused:
The biggest point for me was our discussion of how you have to be customer focused.
I’ve had a number of people point at me and say I spend too much time focusing on the customer. My response is always the same, without a customer, what do you have?
This was a thread that definitely sunk in throughout our conversation.
From pricing to the way that Garth Brooks and Kid Rock have dealt with the secondary market, we talked a lot about responding to the customers’ needs and desire, specifically in creating value for these ticket buyers.
I think that this is something we are going to continue to need to emphasize as data continues to be a buzzword and we often think that we can automate every activity and use an algorithm for every decision.
On the whole, I felt this was an interesting take on the ticket market and a little different than some of the people I have had on so far.