For many, Eventbrite’s progress over the past decade has been about selling you tickets, just like you’d expect from Ticketmaster — in fact, I was tempted to title this this post “The Modern Ticketmaster.” But this company is more than just about tickets, but about the overarching experience you’d get from events, from discovery to attending. On Friday, Eventbrite pressed forward with its plan to showcase its maturity and development of its Event Graph with the $200 million acquisition of Ticketfly from Pandora.
“We are fundamentally helping people find great experiences,” Scott Van Brunt once told me when I was writing for VentureBeat. Granted during that interview, Eventbrite’s head of partnerships was referring to the company’s integration success with Facebook, but the statement was indicative of the fact that there’s more opportunities around discovery. Van Brunt also explained that one of the vectors that Eventbrite is working on includes expanding globally, and not just geographically speaking, but also in terms of the scale of events. The partnerships team is targeting “large properties where people spend their time” and “music is one area where we’re leaning into. Partners where people share music…are great partners for us,” he said.
The acquisition of Ticketfly further expands Eventbrite’s market share in the live music space, consolidating the market and allowing the company to curate more data to improve its discovery algorithm and benefits to attendees and organizers. In a press release, Eventbrite claims to have ticketed more than 175,000 concerts and music festivals, helping to sell more than $1 billion in tickets. By comparison, Ticketfly works with more than 1,800 music performers and venues across North America, “supporting 100,000 events per year which generate $600 million in gross ticket sales.”
Van Brunt disclosed to me that Eventbrite is moving further beyond just dispensing tickets, but developing technology that can be leveraged on the ground. “We are diving more into the full event lifecycle” he stated, citing the company’s RFID wristbands that make it easy for people to pay for food and merchandise at festivals and concerts. And while the public might describe it as a event ticketing service, it’s positioning itself in a manner similar to what Slack is in the productivity space — an open platform that lets developers and outside companies build on top of.
This is definitely not Eventbrite’s first major investment in the music space either, as it has previously worked with bands and technology companies like Songkick and Discotech. Van Brunt shared that Eventbrite would “look at the whole universe of music partners” and that it’s “doubling down and working on new partnerships in the space,” making the Ticketfly purchase more interesting.
Eventbrite chief executive Julia Hartz echoed as much in a statement: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and we see immense alignment and opportunity with this union, especially as we continue to expand Eventbrite’s global footprint in music. Together with Ticketfly, we will focus our collective energy on further developing our unparalleled solution and superior services for indie music venues and promoters around the world.”
While there’s been no mention about Eventbrite’s future plans, such as an initial public offering (IPO), it seems that the company is following a route other tech companies have taken, such as Box and Twilio have taken. Ahead of any such significant action, these companies began focusing on specific market segments, launching new products and features to cater towards those customers and end users, showing potential investors that it can scale and illustrate a possible future and interest for investment.