Do you like going to live concerts and other public events?
If so, you will be familiar with Ticketmaster, the huge behemoth that maintains an iron grip on ticket selling. Founded in 1976, the company has faced a barrage of criticism over its alleged excessive charging, and allegations of unfair business practices. Adopting the policy of charging as much as 50% of the ticket cover price, has provoked the fury of musicians such as Bruce Springsteen.
So you may be wondering if there are any credible alternatives to Ticketmaster. Updating our older post on the subject from many years back, we’ve managed to find some more for you, if you are. Let’s get ready to party!
EventBrite is for organizing ticketed events. It is divided into several categories – music, food and drink, classes, arts, parties, sports and wellness, and networking. Despite its claim of covering “major music festivals”, it seemed to be geared more towards smaller scale events, such as a “Penthouse evening with live jazz” (and no, it’s not Penthouse, the adult magazine).
You can type in specific events, specific locations, and a general time period (this weekend, next week, next month, and so on). So it’s good for looking for a last-minute show to go to, if you suddenly find yourself with some free time, and your friends want to go out someplace. You can also list your own events as an organizer, and sell your tickets through the site.
EventBrite is a great website, but it gives the appearance of being geared more towards small local private events (such as an “Italian wine and cheese class”). Not quite the level of Ticketmaster, but EventBrite probably picks up all the smaller events that Ticketmaster overlooks.
StubHub is divided up into sports, concerts, and theater. Despite its rather plain looking design, StubHub is on the same level of Ticketmaster, selling things like NFL tickets, and music such as U2, and the Rolling Stones.
Theater is also more than amply covered with shows such as Les Miserables, Chicago, and Aladdin. And you can also sell your own tickets for your event.
The front page can be customized to show your area, so relevant local events are showcased. However, this feature is only for users in the United States, and Canada.
What makes StubHub a much better user experience is that the price you see on the page is the final price you pay. No fees are added on at the checkout. It’s all been factored in beforehand. So no nasty surprises, amigo.
With a website name that those in the industry would kill to have, Tickets.com is taking on Ticketmaster in a big way with tickets to major music events such as the Rolling Stones, theater such as West Side Story, and Phantom of the Opera, and sports such as the NFL (football), the NHL (hockey), and the NBA (basketball).
One thing that bugged me about Tickets.com is that there is no mention anywhere on the front page, or the FAQ about how much they charge as a fee. They explain in detail why they have to charge processing fees, but the actual amount of the fee is a mystery until you order a ticket and go through the checkout process.
Songkick (Including CrowdSurge)
Songkick is confined solely to music concerts, and recently they have merged with another music concert ticketing website, CrowdSurge. In their announcement, CrowdSurge claims that the merger will “bring together over 500 of the world’s biggest artists with a user-ship of 10 million monthly fans, ticketing a combined 10,000 events worldwide each year”. But interestingly, the CrowdSurge CEO claims that concert sales are stagnant, with 40% to 50% of tickets left unsold.
SongKick looks as if they deal with smaller artists (The Disco Biscuits?), but CrowdSurge claims they have sold tickets for Sir Paul McCartney, and Alicia Keys.
With their merger, it will be interesting to see how much competition they give Ticketmaster in the future. If the slick design of their websites are anything to go by, I would say these boys have it covered.
TicketFly deals with music, theater, and sports, but at the lower end of the market. When I entered big bands like U2 and the Rolling Stones, I was given only tribute bands and unauthorized shows. For $5 a ticket, I think we can safely say you are not going to be rocking with Bono or Mick anytime soon.
The site has been described by Fast Company though as a “most innovative company”, and they offer customer analytics to concert promoters wishing to use TicketFly as their platform.
Sports seem to be confined to the sale of season tickets (which is quite a lucrative business in itself), and they have weird stuff like ghost tours, and “Highland Renaissance Festivals”. So, something different then!
Ticket Selling Platforms Only
If you are looking for a good way to promote your event and sell your tickets, there are sites that cater solely to that and no more. These include:
If you sign up as an event organizer, expect to receive social media tools, analytics, customized selling pages, mobile apps, and much more. Atendy claims their clients include Facebook, Sony, Google, and TEDx.
Where Do You Get Your Tickets From?
In the pre-Internet days, booking a show meant applying via post, or calling the box office. These days, it’s all done online with a credit card, and the click of a few buttons. No longer do you have to tolerate the constant busy tone on the box office phone line.
Now you can see at a glance how many tickets are left, what seats they are for, how much they cost, and where to enter your payment information. Then bing, badda, boom, you have reservations for the opening night of Britney Spears. Oops, I did it again.
Let us know in the comments where you get your tickets from. Are you beholden to the monopolistic Ticketmaster, or are you willing to consider giving your hard earned money to the scrappy underdogs? If so, which sites do you frequent?