Spotify quietly launched a new pilot program this week, bringing direct sale live event tickets to a limited number of events for its users. Tickets.Spotify.com went live as a test product, offering presale tickets to a small number of upcoming events, including performances by Limbeck, Annie DiRusso, Dirty Honey, Crows, TOKiMONSTA, Four Year Strong, and Osees.
The streaming giant has previously dabbled in tickets, but did some in limited fashion by integrating ticket listings from companies including Ticketmaster, AXS, Eventbrite, and See Tickets. Those listings were mere passthrough of third-party ticket listings, however. This new offering appears to be a direct sale of tickets sourced through the promoters, venues, or artists themselves. As engadget points out, “Spotify Tickets’ official support page says that the company sells tickets on behalf of event partners, such as venues, event promoters, fan clubs and artists themselves. That means those partners set the tickets’ prices, but Spotify will charge a booking fee that it promises to make clear to buyers before they hit the purchase button.”
“At Spotify, we routinely test new products and ideas to improve our user experience. Some of those end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as important learnings,” a Spotify spokesperson told the website. “Tickets.spotify.com is our latest test. We have no further news to share on future plans at this time.”
In the test period, it appears that Spotify Tickets is taking a harshly restrictive approach to consumer freedom on tickets they purchase, which would run afoul of the law in several U.S. states. “The service’s support page says buyers may not “resell, assign or transfer” tickets except in select states. And since buyers will need to present a government-issued ID to enter an event, they’ll have to transfer ownership of a ticket if they do decide to sell it. The process is quite involved and requires sellers to contact Spotify to change the name associated with a ticket.”
Presumably the states exempted from this policy include New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Utah, and Virginia, where laws have been passed requiring tickets be issued in a format that the consumer can freely transfer to another without permission or restriction from the original seller.
Spotify has considered some form of entry into the ticketing space for some time now, with rumors that a ticketing platform might be forthcoming for more than a year now. While direct offer of tickets to users on its platform is a logical outgrowth of the company’s core product – which involves users consuming music and content from a wide array of artists, many of whom would love to turn those streams into more lucrative ticket sales – the existing ticket ecosystem in North America in particular could be very hard to break into outside of porting Ticketmaster and other existing listings to consumers due to the prevailing nature of exclusive venue ticketing contracts with Live Nation/Ticketmaster, AXS, or other platforms.
In fact, the logic of a music discovery system offering tickets direct to fans of the artists was at the core of a prior company – SongKick. But that promise ran into trouble with the exclusivity inherent to the current business model of ticketing as well. And then a former SongKick employee illegally accessed their systems when he took a job at Ticketmaster, helping the Live Nation-owned giant drive the company into the ground, eventually purchasing it while litigation about the illegal practices going on was underway. Ticketmaster later entered a plea deal with federal prosecutors in New York that involved the payment of a $10 million fine to avoid the potential hacking prosecution.
Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming service, touting 433 million users, including 188 million paid subscribers on its platform.
Last Updated on August 11, 2022 by Dave Clark