Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ticketmaster May See Some Real Competition Thanks to Amazon Tickets Expansion

We've all felt the pain of buying of having to buy tickets to our favorite concerts, shows and sporting events through Ticketmaster. Whether it be site issues, like constant crashes or lagging, or just the pain to our wallets from what most (like me) feel are trumped up convenience fees! Unfortunate as it is Ticketmaster holds a rather tight reign on the market. Thankfully we may soon see some real competition, and from a company that could set off some big waves!

According to reports from Ars Technica and Recode Amazon is looking to expand their Amazon Tickets Service, which until now has been a UK exclusive! The reports cite a number of job listings for Amazon Tickets positions based in Seattle, Washington found on the company's employment website. One such listing for a "Technical Program Manager, Amazon Tickets" offers the following job description:
Amazon Tickets is a start-up business with a vision of becoming Earth’s most customer-centric ticketing company, a place where event-goers can come to find and discover any ticket they might want to buy online. Amazon launched the Tickets business in the UK in 2015 and today offers customers the ability to purchase tickets to music, theater, and comedy events at great prices with a convenient purchase experience and world-class and customer support. As we grow our team to support our rapid expansion we are looking for talented individuals to join us in delighting customers and having some fun along the way.

If you are looking for opportunities to grow, and want to have fun while making history – join us!
Another listing discovered by Recode opens the door to an even more promising venture dubbed Prime Tickets. According to the report Amazon's hiring efforts are part of a new initiative to “position Amazon Tickets as the world’s premier destination for purchasing tickets.” According to the job listings Prime Tickets would integrate ticket sales into the Prime membership program, though details of how that would play out are yet unknown.

Prime Tickets, now that could be a real game changer! Exactly how Amazon could make it work is unclear, but as Ars Technica points out, it's possible that Prime Tickets could offer discounted tickets to Prime members if the service is indeed tied to the annual $99 membership.

Amazon first launched Amazon Tickets in the U.K. last year to sell tickets to concerts featuring artists like Elton John and theater performances such as “Wicked” and “The Book of Mormon.” Part of the company’s pitch has been that it displays ticket fees up front, and customers can easily pay with the payment method they have on file with Amazon. Expansion into other major markets means that Amazon has clearly had some success with the program. However, expansion into the US could be a bit more difficult, especially in terms of offering any sort of discount.

Live Nation (Ticketmaster's parent company) already holds a very dominant position here in the US. Which also means they hold a lot of bargaining power with venues and artits, mostly due to special deals that artists and venues strike up with ticket companies, and even some credit card companies that offer priority seating or special pricing for cardholders. Amazon would have to convince them to alter those agreements and open the door to competition, which won't be easy. If anyone can do it though it would be a company like Amazon that has more than 300 million active users and more than 50 million active Amazon Prime users.

Most of the Tickets job postings were updated within the past week, but there's no word on when a US-based Amazon Tickets could debut, or if in fact it will ever truly come to fruition. I can only hope at this point!

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