As the rancour surrounding scalping and the secondary market reaches fever pitch, Twickets, the fan-to-fan ticket resale platform, opens for business in Australia. It may not be the White Knight, but it’s certainly a welcome arrival.
The company enables registered users to buy and sell tickets at face value – or less – and the U.K. company boasts more than 500,000 registered users since opening for business in February 2015. Artists have been singing the Twickets gospel. The likes of Adele, Ed Sheeran, The 1975, Mumford & Sons and One Direction have chosen the U.K. business as their official resale partner, with Sheeran extending his support to the Australian startup.
The Aussie service officially launched last week at Twickets.com.au with Frontier Touring Company and Handsome Tours among the promoters onboard as partners. More will come into the fold ahead of the summer touring season.
TIO caught up with Danny Hannaford, the former Head of Ticketing at U.K. promoter Global Live who is leading Twickets’ Australian operation from its offices in Melbourne.
What compels the punter to use Twickets and not flog a ticket for a fortune?
There’s nothing to stop people from doing that. And you can almost see why people would do it. We’ve found the majority of fans want another fan to enjoy the show if they can’t. We find ourselves in a rather unique position because most fans will want to list a ticket at face value (if they can’t got to the show). It’s very rare for us to find someone trying to abuse the system, and they can’t on our site. It’s a community. Because we work so closely with the artist, and they endorse us, the fans feel part of it and feel more part of a community. Ticketing is a rather faceless business. It’s a place to go and get tickets. Whereas we put in a lot of effort and do all the bespoke pages for the artists and try keep in touch with fans as much as possible. There’s just no facelessless about it at all. We speak to the customers. It’s easy to get in touch with us via customer services. We reply as quickly as we can and we add a human element to it whereas all the other secondary websites you can’t get hold of anyone.
How do you make your cut?
We charge a booking fee which is capped, it’s charged to the buyer only and it’s for 10%. In terms of profit there’s not that much there to be made. A lot of it goes back into our technology. And keeping the business running. We think 10% is a fair fee and it’s actually cheaper than the majority of booking fees that ticket agents are charging. That’s where our business model is. And that’s not really going to change, unless the standard changes within the entire ticketing industry.
How have the Australian promoters received you?
Obviously Frontier is on board. They’ve been very good to us. When it comes to the other promoters it’s a work in progress. Chugg has expressed some interest and I think it’s just about finding a time to sit down and chat with them. Everyone is obviously very busy at the moment announcing tours. We’re fortunate to get an intro to Frontier very early on. TEG is something we’d love to explore more. We want to work with everyone, we want to help out. We don’t want to push anything on anyone but we work on the instruction of an artist most of the time. Our relationship with our artists, promoters and managers is very important to us. We’re one of the few agencies — the only secondary ticketing company, really — that is working directly with those artists. It’s all word of mouth from the artists and promoters. In the U.K., we have over half a million users now and we haven’t done any marketing whatsoever. Obviously an Ed Sheeran post went up last week and that got us loads of attention.
How does the deal with Frontier work? Will they use Twickets on every tour going forward? Or will they take it on board and suggest your service to artists and their managers?
At the moment it’s very much on a case-by-case basis. They want to work with us going forward, I would hope and I believe it would mean that we integrate with them on their website. At the moment, we’re taking it slow and feeling it out. We got the Midnight Oil deal very early on. That was a deal with Frontier and Midnight Oil; they both approved that. We were quite fortunate that Ed Sheeran was already a partner of ours. And he was working with Frontier. Some artists they may have ticketing procedures in place where they feel they don’t need it. Historically we’ve always worked with One Direction. Harry Styles is coming out here with Frontier but they’ve obviously put their own ticketing procedures in place where they didn’t feel they needed the extra help with the ticketing. Sometimes we will, sometimes we won’t, but will hope we’ll be working on most tours that Frontier do, and I think they feel the same way.
Pia Corporation, the company behind Japan’s largest ticket primary agency, launched Tiketore in Japan. Is there room for multiple competitors in this face-value ticket space?
Yeah, in the U.K. there is another company called Scarlet Mist, and they do a similar thing to us. They don’t have quite the industry acceptance that we’ve got but they do very well. Obviously we’d like to be able to operate our business but there are so many tickets out there, there’s no reason why it couldn’t happen really. At the moment, it seems that no one really wants to do it unless it’s going to make them huge amounts of money. And that’s the problem with scalping right there. The face-value side of things probably isn’t as pretty and glamorous to a lot of people starting a new company, but for us it’s the way we like to do business.