Ticketsolve goes for Ticketmaster’s Soft Underbelly

31st of October 2007 by conor

ticketsolve01 Ticketmaster is the 800-lb middle-gorilla hated by both purchasers and vendors alike. Ticketsolve offers an alternative simple value proposition for small to mid-sized venues and events.

The litany of horror stories about Ticketmaster by ticket purchasers continues unabated. From the inflated charges, problematic site and incorrect billing, it survives due to a semi-monopoly in most countries. However it has problems in equal measure with those who need to get their tickets sold too. This is now being reflected in dropping business with IAC’s poor results in July blamed squarely on the Ticketmaster division.

Rather than tackling them head-on, most competitors are going after the areas where Ticketmaster is weak such as the secondary market (StubHub, Seatwave). Ticketsolve, as a small start-up, appears to be aiming for smaller local customers and building from that. They to make the entire process of ticket sales simpler for vendors, with an upfront clear pricing model and without the common exclusivity deals forced by Ticketmaster.


There are a few clear benefits to the site. No set-up fees, flat rate per ticket so it scales with you and, most importantly, the purchase happens on your own site because Ticketsolve integrates into existing sites. Even if the costs were no lower than the competition, this integration must be compelling to anyone looking for further upsell opportunities on their own site. They claim that using their system leads to 34% online sales increase and 28% lower costs. I’d be interested to see what these are compared against.

There are three obvious markets for this service: disgruntled customers of other ticketing systems, small venues who want something that scales with them and venues that have yet to implement online ticketing. A small cinema local to me has completely removed all electronic ticketing presumably for cost reason and perhaps something like TicketSolve would bring them back into the game.


Since there is a plethora of venues and events in Ireland every day, there is an immediate local market for this service. The case studies they highlight include The Dublin International Film Festival, The Mermaid Arts Centre and The Dundalk Ice Dome. I walked through the purchase flow for tickets on the Ice Dome and it was as seamless as Ticketsolve claims. They can easily grow this business organically on a country by country basis.

Company Index: Ticketsolve

Comment posted by Carley
at 11/2/2007 6:24:15 PM

I work for a company in the United States that has been around for about seven years, called Brown Paper Tickets. It sounds like Ticketsolves’ operating philosophy is much like ours. Viva la revolucion! Momentum is building around the globe! I’m excited to see where all this goes..

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 11/1/2007 10:21:32 AM

Great point about listings and pollution Sean.

I’m looking forward to your future announcements!

Comment posted by Sean Hanly
at 11/1/2007 8:30:45 AM

Great to see an overall positive response.

To pick up on some of the points mentioned:

- TM (in the guise most of us know them anyways) is not the big player in the end of the market we are playing in – mid to end of the tail to use long tail metaphor. The venues and festivals do not tend to use TM and TM does not provide them with the demand that they would for example drive towards higher end concerts.

- Most of the impetus for sale for our clients are there own marketing initiatives whether it be newspaper, direct, etc. Very rarely is it a browsing situation.

- The listings is something we may to look at in the future. However this space has been ‘polluted’ by existing providers who tend:
– take ownership of data and relationship through some type of membership scheme
– excessive charges justified by referrals that often times are not true referrals.
– we as a policy do not take any ownership of the client data or interfere in the relationship because of this.

- On the style partnership all I would say is watch this space.

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 11/1/2007 5:57:18 AM

I didn’t actually realise that IAC would be doing their Q3 results yesterday!

The story on Ticketmaster was “margin still declining due to operating cost increases but operating income up 9%. Expecting flat or up slightly in Q4?.

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 11/1/2007 4:42:41 AM

I’d love to see an analysis of point-of-origin for ticket sales for different event types. i.e. where did the impetus for the sale come from: newspaper ad, billboard, word of mouth, the event/venue site itself or from Ticketmaster direct.

For all those events and venues where you already know what you want, Ticketmaster has no advantage. For times where you are looking for something to attend and just want to browse, obviously they have the upper hand.

One thing Ticketsolve could do there is have a portal site with listings only (or partner with equivalent of that then re-direct people to the event/venue sites themselves.

Comment posted by Alan O’Rourke
at 11/1/2007 4:28:36 AM

A note to the guys if they are reading this, my wife is a county arts officer and programmes events year round. This would be ideal for her and all the other arts offices around the country. Might be worth giving them a shout.

Comment posted by Alan O’Rourke
at 11/1/2007 4:21:47 AM

Its a great idea and i hope it works. Back when running events for the Designers Guild we went with a similar start-up (less web, more phone and email) in Dublin and found the service great and costs a fraction of ticketmaster. The problems they had was in building enough momentum against the monster Ticketmaster. It was catch 22 for venues. While very expensive ticketmaster had the audience so venues were afraid of low attendance if they didnt go with them, even if they earned less money. I don’t believe the start-up survived.

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