Season 5 | Episode 5

Aligning partnerships through a shared purpose

Aligning partnerships through a shared purpose

In this episode, host Dave Yovanno sits down with Dan Armstrong, the EVP of Distributed Commerce at Ticketmaster. An expert on partnerships and eCommerce strategy, Dan has been driving real innovation in the live ticketing industry for a decade. He’s passionate about the importance of storytelling and uncovering the shared purpose that keeps his team, as well as his partnerships, aligned. Together, Dave and Dan discuss tips to level up within an organization, how to manage a diverse partnership program from affiliates to B2B partners, and where a thriving partnership program sits within a company’s broader marketing mix. Dan also shares the secrets of the live ticketing industry, which can be mystifying to say the least.

Episode transcript

[00:00:01] Canned Intro Welcome to the Partnership Economy. This podcast explores the power of partnerships through candid conversations with industry leaders. Join our hosts! Dave Yovanovitch, CEO and Todd Crawford, co-founder of, as they unpack the future of partnership as a lever for scale and an opportunity to put the consumer first.


[00:00:23] Dave Yovanno Welcome back to the Partnership Economy podcast. This is your host, Dave Divino, and I’m delighted to introduce today’s guest, Dan Armstrong. Dan is the EVP of Distributed Commerce at Ticketmaster and has been with the company for almost ten years. He’s an expert on partnerships and e-commerce strategy and is driving real innovation in the live ticketing industry. He’s also passionate about the importance of storytelling and uncovering the common purpose that keeps his team, as well as his partnerships, aligned. In today’s episode, we discuss tips to level up within an organization how to manage a diverse partnership program from affiliates to B2B partners, and where a thriving partnership program sits within a company’s wider marketing mix. We also break down, have a live ticketing industry really works, something a lot of people find confusing despite the popularity of live events. I definitely recommend staying tuned for this highly informative episode in my bag all the way up to it. Hi everyone! Welcome to the Partnership Economy Podcast. I’m excited to welcome Dan Armstrong. He’s EVP of Distributed Commerce at Ticketmaster. So welcome to the show. Dan, how are you doing today?


[00:01:34] Dan Armstrong I’m great Dave, thanks for having me.


[00:01:36] Dave Yovanno Awesome, awesome. I thought we could just kick off with a high level, an overview of the music industry. Well, industry 101. Just explain a little bit about the industry and then specifically what Ticketmaster does.


[00:01:49] Dan Armstrong Let’s start with Ticketmaster. First of all. So obviously we are a ticketing provider. But what is that? We provide technology and services that venues need to manage and sell tickets to their events, and we also help market those events and ultimately get people into the show. If you don’t get into the show, you’re not having a satisfying experience, and that’s what we do at the end of the day. But if you got to zoom out a little bit and understand the live events industry overall, and so you can really break it down in a generalized way into four major players. So when you think about live events, it starts with the content holder. So the content holder is the person who puts on the show. They are the artist, they are a sports team, a theatrical production. They work with a promoter. That’s the second. And see, the promoter is the group that’s really putting up the financial risk for that show. So it’s a very high risk, low margin business. You hope that most of your shows pan out, but ultimately they’re trying they’re taking a financial risk on that event and trying to get enough people to show up in order to make a profit. So they then choose a venue. The venue is obviously where the event is held. The venue has a relationship with a technology provider, so that’s where we come in. And ultimately the central dynamic in all of this for our industry is the laws of supply and demand. It’s a very emotional industry because you’ve got the emotional highs of going to a Super Bowl or going to a concert that you want to see, but also sometimes the emotional lows your team loses. I’m a Milwaukee bucks fan. They just got knocked out of the playoffs, or you didn’t get a ticket to that event because at the end of the day, you’re dealing with something where 50 times the number of people who can get tickets want to get tickets, right. And so we know that we’re at the center of that emotional dynamic. And so our role is to be the technology provider and the marketing arm and the facilitator. And Ticketmaster really prides itself on providing the best tools and services for those clients.


[00:03:49] Dave Yovanno I was going to ask that. So to be clear, there’s many actors, it sounds like in in this industry, could you maybe just kind of define who those key actors are? And then specifically what type of actor is Ticketmaster so that people understand that clearly?


[00:04:04] Dan Armstrong Yeah. So of those four players, let’s talk about how kind of the economics of the industry work. So you have the artist and the promoter and the venue and the ticketing company. But when you buy a ticket, the price of that ticket is really set by the artist and the promoting team. They know their audience and they know their own brand better than anyone. And so they set the price of that ticket and they generally are receiving the face value of that ticket. Then you have the fees. The fees are set by the venue and they’re shared with the ticketing company, because we’re all providing very valuable services. In order to put on that event, then you have to manage the building. They have security, they have staff, they are paying for the lights. All of those things are part of the venue, and they recoup those funds from those services. And then we receive a portion of those fees in order to do the ticketing market, the events, all of the other functions. So really we are a technology arm, of the industry from that perspective.


[00:05:02] Dave Yovanno I’m really curious about the artist and the promoter. Sounds like the promoter is like an investor, right? They’re taking on some risk to pull off this event that they’re going to get a return on that. If you look at the artist and the promoter, just those two actors, and if we just look at the artist and the promoter, what percent of the gross sale would you say that those. Two actors make up.


[00:05:24] Dan Armstrong So generally when you are buying tickets to a show, it’s the face value of that ticket that is going to the largely to the artist, with a small portion going to the promoter. But overall, the business is a very low margin business across the board. And that’s why there’s other revenue streams that are built around the business. So for instance, that’s the reason that artists sell merchandise, right? Because even artists don’t make a ton of money unless you are in the upper echelon. Promoters sell access to brands, so the brands want to be connected to the energy of live and be connected with that high point in people’s lives. So whether you’re a beer company or credit card company, they work with the promoter to essentially get access to the closer to live. And then venues obviously sell food and beverage ticket, meaning companies sell ancillary products. It’s a very hard business, without question, and a lot of shows don’t work out. You have the mega successes, of course, but we’ll put on tens of thousands of events and some of those will be successful for the promoters and and the artists or the teams. And some of those won’t be.


[00:06:29] Dave Yovanno But an exciting industry. You mentioned that that emotional aspect of it, that’s what it kind of brings, the energy, I think, to the entire industry. But it is fine. Let’s turn the conversation to you. You’ve been at Ticketmaster for almost a decade. So as someone who’s been at the company for that long and then what led up to your role at Ticketmaster, could you just maybe just give us some highlights of your career? Because I think our audience is always very interested in just understanding how people like you got to the position that they’re in, within a company like Ticketmaster.


[00:06:59] Dan Armstrong It’s shocking to hear you characterize it as almost a decade. But I certainly didn’t come from ticketing. And in fact, when I came into technology, I worked in what is now considered an antiquated business of comparison shopping. So I worked at one of the largest comparison shopping engines. It’s called Shop Zilla, back in the day before Google really destroyed that whole industry. And that’s where I learned things like SEM and SEO and product management. I helped build a fashion brand that we launched and I really did it all. I ran a business line of our of what we called our publisher network, which really was essentially a glorified affiliate program, so to speak. And that’s part of what brought me to Ticketmaster. But even before that, I had a unique path to to where I am now. So I actually I used to live in Los Angeles. I came to Los Angeles because I was a film guy. I went to film school, I worked for production companies, worked on movies, and ultimately I was working really hard to be a screenwriter for a long time. And while that ultimately wasn’t the life path that I spent my whole adulthood doing, what it really did teach me is the importance of storytelling. And that’s something that I really take with me every day in my role and in my career, because I don’t mean that in a salesy way of storytelling, but what I mean is that what interests me is finding a common purpose and aligning with people, whether it’s internal people at your company or with a client or the partner. And you know, what is this? What is the story that helps keep people on the same page? And so that’s what really interested me about Ticketmaster is that we are a part of that storytelling process for the artists. You are following an artist’s career or you’re following whether or not your team makes it to the playoffs. Right? That’s a story. And so we can think about products in a similar way. And so that’s why I hold on to each day with what we come to work and do, is all of these partnership conversations that we have are really around, who is this for? What are we doing it for? What’s unique about this partnership and what is the story within it? And and that’s really exciting.


[00:09:06] Dave Yovanno Yeah. So the common theme there I’m hearing is a focus on the content creator, the artist, a focus on the customer. That seems to be your true north throughout your career. Any other pro tips for anyone in our audience looking to level up within their organization?


[00:09:21] Dan Armstrong So when you’re early on in your career, I think that people should never shy away from doing the unglamorous work. You have to see what contributes to the organization and and how you can be a part of that. So that when I started at Zillow, for instance, I lived in spreadsheets and the keywords and the lookups, and in fact, I spent what felt like days at times cleaning out keyword lists long before we had the technology to do it, to make sure that we d idn’t inadvertently market pornographic terms, for instance. It’s not something that you went home in and felt that it was a glamorous day at the office, but I knew that I was contributing to the overall success of the business, and that’s really key. In the early stages of your career, later in your career? I think it’s about really demonstrating your ability to work across an organization in a cross-functional manner, whether it’s within your organization or outside of that. Right. And that means having a strategic mindset mindset as well, and collaborating on that strategy. Our organization, like most, we have our OKRs and KPIs. I’m a big believer in those, but I’m also a big believer in regardless of what your individual OKRs or KPIs are, you will have to think about what the whole organization is driving towards and how you can help, even if it’s not directly helping your business line your vertical. And that’s something that our group really focuses on a lot.


[00:10:47] Dave Yovanno Yeah, I really appreciate the first point that you made it sound like putting in your pay your dues rather early in your career, not being afraid to get your hands dirty.


[00:10:54] Dan Armstrong That’s my comment about coming from Hollywood. I spent a lot of time doing some really unglamorous things. Right. And maybe in the near term, that didn’t develop my career in the way that I hoped or dreamed at that moment. But what it did was create a work ethic and a mindset, and where I was willing to take on anything. And that really helped accelerate my career. When when there are people around you who notice that, right?


[00:11:18] Dave Yovanno Yeah, I agree. All right. So if we fast forward to today, your EVP of distributed commerce, what is that and what does that look like exactly?


[00:11:26] Dan Armstrong Yeah. Well, let’s first start by defining what we mean by distributed commerce and Ticketmaster. So really distributed commerce is our mission to help make it easy for fans to buy tickets no matter where they are. So we want to be where people are spending their time day in, day out, and we want to make it organic to their experience. So to put that in a little bit more practical terms or concrete terms. We provide technology to surface and then metadata or content as we would call it, and other third party platforms, and also build transactional capabilities to actually sell tickets and other third party e-commerce experiences. Right. So I view our team and what I lead on that team as really having three core tenants. So one is about reach, the next is about capabilities for our clients. And third is really around innovation. And so those align with the verticals within my group. So you could look at reach as being associated with our affiliate channel, so to speak, that our capabilities are around the channels that we distribute inventory through. And really we want to try to connect our clients in the Ticketmaster brand to this idea of innovation. By working with best in class partners and showing that we can do things that very few other people in the industry could do, and that reach is so important in what we do, because live events are so ubiquitous to our culture. So if you’re using one of your streaming services, you probably encountered our content associated with that or watching on a video service, or if you read a blog dedicated to house music or a local things to do website of what’s going on in your town this weekend. We want to be in all of those places where you’re spending that time. So that’s really what we think about when we think about our reach. But then when it comes to I referred to the fact that we are a technology company and a technology group. Really, it’s about developing capabilities to sell in different e-commerce channels. And why is that important? So the truth is that most shows don’t sell out a Beyonce or Billie Eilish. They don’t need a lot of help selling their tickets, obviously. But if you’re a mid-level touring act or a legacy concert act, or if you have 82 games a season or a long running theatrical show, you’re probably going to need some help to sell some of those tickets. We work to build partnerships and use technology to activate those partnerships, where you can reach different audiences that may come to Ticketmaster or may go to the artist website or whatever their usual channels are. Right? So I’ll use a good example. One of our most important distribution markets is Las Vegas and Las Vegas. People come to town and then they figure out what to do. And there’s a variety of different ways that you figure those things out. And it doesn’t necessarily mean coming to Ticketmaster. So as a result, we make it possible to buy our tickets through spotlight. Vegas for a kiosk on the strip or And so we want to be where people are spending their time. In most of those cases being online channels.


[00:14:30] Dave Yovanno So Ticketmaster, it sounds like, has one of the most diverse and mature partnership strategies of any company that I’ve spoken with. When we hear the term partnerships, it can mean so many different things to many different people. When you talk about partnerships that Ticketmaster and you just gave us a sense of it, but how would you describe that in general? How does your company, how do you think about partnerships? How does Ticketmaster think about it?


[00:14:54] Dan Armstrong Yeah, it’s a great question. And at its highest level, our whole business is partnerships. So you can almost you can start by saying our venue relationships, those are our core clients. That’s essentially a partnership. You know we’re partnering with them to provide them services that can help them be successful in their venues. Right. Then we have other B2B types of partnerships. We have a program at Ticketmaster called Nexus, and Nexus is a program that aggregates companies that provide B2B services for venues. So think of access control to help get you in a venue where data services or mobile services, etc. so that’s another form of partnership. Then there’s our group which is distribution partnerships, obviously, and our goal is to sell incremental tickets for our clients and help find new audiences. That’s our mission. But then if you zoom up to even a level above that, we are a part of Live Nation. Live nation is our parent company. They are a very successful promoter. Their form of partnerships is what I was describing before in terms of connecting brands to the live event. If you are a beer or a live stream partner, or if you want to be close to that live event, you work with the Live Nation sponsorship team in a form of partnership. And oftentimes these things cross over each other. So we work very closely with our sponsorship team to try to amplify the effects that we can have for a partnership. So here’s a great example. Just recently, a Live Nation announced a major expansion of their partnership with Snap, a social media platform with something called Snap Nation. And that’s an attempt to have fans be able to engage with artists content before and after a show through the snap app, which is incredibly exciting. It’s a really cool, innovative partnership. Meanwhile, our group, since I was saying before, we want to be that foundation, we want to have a foothold that’s built into the platforms. We worked with snap last year to embed our content in the snap map, which means that when young people are using snap and they’re looking around where their friends are, they can see that there’s a venue and that they can see that there’s an event taking place there. We can collaborate with our sponsorship team and the brand to bring different forms of these partnerships, to help amplify the success for everyone.


[00:17:09] Dave Yovanno So what I’m hearing is that what’s important to you is partnerships that can actually help sell tickets. Is it that simple? And if so, what are the the main types of partners would you say that are significant or contributing the most to sales?


[00:17:24] Dan Armstrong It’s a great question and it depends on the types of events. So what is good for a concert may be different for sports for instance. And so there’s not one size fits all. But ultimately our group is trying to find the largest audiences that we can. And and so that often takes us to the large tech players. And that could be a music streaming service. It could be a music discovery app, for instance. It could be a giant social media site. It just depends on the type of content that you’re matching with those use cases. So it is a little bit all over the board. And most of those really do translate into significant sales of tickets at the end of the day. On the e-commerce side, we’ve been very, very successful in a lot of regional plays. So for instance, I referred to before what we do in Las Vegas. There are certain local websites that are selling inventory, whether you’re seeing, you know, want to get on the high roller in Las Vegas or go see a Penn and Teller show or a Live Nation residency, all of those are in one place, and we’re powering that through our APIs. And those have been very successful for us over the years. So it just depends on the type of content. But you ask a really great question about creators and and influencers. And obviously it’s really they’ve become very central to the the marketing industry in general. I think from a first principles standpoint, the first thing to remember is that ultimately artists are the ultimate influencers and creators. Right? So but that being said, there is a very strong use case for the broader Live Nation Ticketmaster business for influencers. So particularly in the form of creators, as I was saying before live events, it’s such a difficult to understand industry. People can often be confused and frustrated because why can’t I get tickets? Or what happens when I buy a ticket and why are things priced this way, etc. and we really actually look to use creators to help with some of that education process and brand building. So because we find that fans are able to really articulate this really well for fans themselves. So we are certainly not within my group of distribution, but as a company, we are exploring those kinds of strategies. And then at the same time, we’re also working with influencers, especially on the Live Nation side, especially when it comes to festivals. Let’s say, using influencers to help amplify the feeling and excitement of being at those events. So it may not be directly related to selling tickets directly, but it’s about helping capture the essence of that brand. Whether you’re at EDC in Las Vegas or the Stagecoach Festival or any of our other many festivals. Right. So there’s definitely a place that we we work with those influencers for our program when it comes to our affiliate program and our reach, we’ve been a little bit less successful in finding the ways to work with them because the artist is so effective already. Yeah, that.


[00:20:18] Dave Yovanno Makes a lot of sense. You know, the artists themselves is probably the most impactful influencer, right, to drive ticket sales. So I get that. So maybe not in that category, but is there an example of a type of partnership that you think is worth shining a spotlight on, just to get a sense?


[00:20:32] Dan Armstrong Yeah, 100%. I mean, there’s so many that I can choose from because one of the things that we’re really proud of and we work really hard at, is to be first to market with so many of these major platforms. So whether it’s Spotify, YouTube, meta, Amazon, Snap, TikTok, you name it, these are all the platforms that people are spending their time on. And we are fortunate to have had the opportunity to really build a lot of firsts with that. And so it starts with that initial question of how do we improve the user experiences on their platform, with our content to create value for fans, the platform itself and the content holders? Well, that’s kind of the first principle of where we’re starting. So a good example of that is how sometimes those some of those products can be initially seen as utilities, and they’re becoming more of a platform for engagement. So I mentioned snap maps before. Another one in the map category. We work closely with Apple and Shazam, integrating our content within the Apple ecosystem. So now for instance, you can find if you’re in Los Angeles, you can see, how to get to the key forum in Los Angeles. But you could also see that there are events taking place there, what those events are. And so the Apple map has transitioned from a form of pure utility into inspiration and engagement. Moreover, that content can surface itself in other places in the Apple ecosystem. It can be on a Shazam artist page. So you see that blink 182 is playing at the Kia forum. You can go to the Shazam artist page, or even in certain places in Apple Music and find that content. So you’re providing an elevated experience for Apple users at the same time as you’re helping the content holder and the artist, which is really exciting. There are many other partnerships that have been inspiring for us. So another one that I’ll highlight is on the distribution side, where we have worked really hard to help facilitate the ability to give back to the user groups. So a good example of that is we work with a group called that techs, which is a military veteran support group. And event organizers donate tickets to this organization called Bat Tix, which then get distributed out to military veterans that they can attend shows for free. And so what that does is add from the perspective of the promoter or the venue. It gets more people in the house, more butts in seats, which means they’re buying more nachos and merch and those sorts of things. But more importantly, it’s really giving back to a community that has given so much in service to our country. And it’s been a wildly successful program. So just last year, our group was responsible for distributing more than a million tickets to military veterans. So you asked me before about areas where we’ve seen success. Our program touches tens of millions of tickets, but it’s pretty exciting when you can step back and say that we helped a million service members go to shows for free last year, which is incredible.


[00:23:38] Dave Yovanno Again, I’m hearing the focus on the customer experience as a true north, a focus on how to best serve the artists and sell more tickets. So it seems to be the common theme. I’m what is driving your strategy? And I have to imagine that part of the creative storytelling like the background for not just yourself, but the company, the industry in general, is driving some of the innovation that your team is executing on. Can you just give us a sense of some tips on how you’re managing such a diverse program?


[00:24:06] Dan Armstrong Yeah, it certainly is a unique challenge, and there can be times where our product and development team can feel a sense of whiplash because we have to go in so many different directions, because we have so many different types of partners that we work with. Right. And. That can make our prioritization nimble, as we are opportunistic in what partners are most relevant or important for us to be working on at a given time. And we also have a small team where we’re resource constrained, just like everyone else in technology. And so we have to make choices and trade offs, and we also have to balance the fact that it’s not just about what we want to do, it’s about the alignment with the partner and also their timelines. Right. So many of our partnerships can take years to get to fruition, whether it’s around just the strategic alignment or the business alignment, and then the product alignment in order for us to manage this. So you asked how do we support that? It’s really important for us to have, standardized technology. So our technology involves APIs and data feeds and inventory APIs, etc. that are as consistent as possible for no matter what type of partner we end up working with. So we always have that ready on the partner side. And for us on the Ticketmaster side, we work to do a lot of the hard work to bring in more markets into our program, more different types of inventory, different ticketing systems. We’re a global company with more than 30 markets, and they’re not all on one ticketing system. But if you want to work with partners on a global scale, we want to provide standardized technology and APIs to the partner on the other side. So we try to abstract all that complexity for them, which is us getting into the muck in the weeds of our own technology so that we can make it seem worth and easy for the partner side. And that helps us scale, right? We work with more than 1000 partners, but not all of them are meaningful in the sense of how many tickets they sell, etc. like I said before, the blog dedicated to house music may not sell as many tickets as a major streaming service, right? But we have this standardized technology that can be available for people to use, and we try to make it as easy as possible for everyone.


[00:26:24] Dave Yovanno Got it? And if we zoom out and look at the company as a whole, how do partnerships factor into just the wider marketing mix for Ticketmaster with regards to like customer acquisition for ticket sales?


[00:26:35] Dan Armstrong Yeah, that’s also a great question because we view ourselves as part of an ecosystem without question. And so our goal is to be that endemic product experience within these partners, that other marketing strategies and programs can be layered on top of. So let me give you an example of that. So for years we’ve had a very successful partnership with Facebook. Now meta, to help power their program that they call official events. So years ago somebody could go on Facebook and create an event page, whether it’s a backyard barbecue or a Beyonce show. At the end of the day, nobody knows what’s the real Beyonce show. And through structured data that we’re able to provide, we can say, this is the actual Beyonce show and this is the venue and this is the promoter and this is the artist, and they can all control that page and it becomes the hub. That page then can be layered on with other marketing strategies, whether that’s paid displayed ads on Facebook or otherwise. And so we try to be that base layer that other parts of the ecosystem can build on top of. Another good example is that we became the first ticketing company to be a part of TikTok, where it when Billie Eilish goes on tour, if she wants, she can create a video that she makes for her fans and she can add a link to her actual show. And that never existed before we worked with TikTok, and that’s a pretty radical change for TikTok. But music, for instance, is so central to that experience and so much a part of the joy of using TikTok that it was a very natural collaboration. And our collaboration is about creating that foundational product capabilities that enhances the user experience for fans and users and then other parts of the marketing stack layer on to that over time. So that’s how I really view us as a part of a broader ecosystem rather than just one single entity.


[00:28:36] Dave Yovanno I remember Michael Chou, who reports into showed me that link on TikTok. That looks pretty amazing. Nobody else has that link above. The title really stands out. That’s incredibly innovative. How does a deal like that come about?


[00:28:49] Dan Armstrong There’s no one simple answer for that, because one of the exciting things about this, and it requires a tremendous amount of patience. Oftentimes, it can take years to strike the right partnership because of those divergent timelines of strategy and even the company’s stock price and resources, etc.. Right. There are many times that we’ve gone from deep strategic partnership and being the flavor of the month, so to speak, to being cast aside. You can say in. Another way because the stock and the company changed. Right. And you just have to roll with those sorts of things. But but to answer your question, you mentioned make sure we he has our business development group. A lot of it starts not all of it, but a lot of it starts with him talking with his counterparts at various organizations. Right. So at an organization like TikTok, we work closely with their music team, but there’s also product teams. It depends on every type of organization. We have other people on the team who do business development as well. I’m involved in a lot of it, so it starts. Sometimes it starts from a client, so, you know, and then your client of ours sometimes says, hey, this is a very important channel for us. How do we activate that? How do we make that happen? And we we have to figure out, is this the right thing for our technology? Is that the right thing for the client in order to enable this? And then is it worth the investment to do that? And we ask all those questions. And then when we see a path, we chase after it. And usually it goes well. But like I said, getting all of the stakeholders aligned at the same time sometimes can feel like a little bit of an alchemy. But, we’ve been very successful at it over the years.


[00:30:27] Dave Yovanno Excellent, excellent. And I did want to finish off a question on that topic about how much do partnerships make up with regards to your broader marketing mix? I’m talking about other paid channels, outdoor advertising, paid search and things like that. When you look at just partnerships as a acquisition channel, let’s say just give us a sense of the percent mix that it contributes to the overall sales.


[00:30:48] Dan Armstrong It’s difficult to say that with specificity just for various privacy reasons, but I can say that it is a not insignificant minority. Like I said before, the artist or the content holder is their best brand ambassador. When the NFL is going to release their schedule, those tickets will sell because that brand ambassador of the team is is driving a lot of those sales. And so we are helping in different parts of the sales cycle. Right. So one of the key things that we think about is when we’re selling a ticket and what makes it incremental. So this is really important to us because if we’re just selling tickets at an on sale or a pre-sale when all of the marketing is taking place, whether it’s old fashioned radio ads or online Instagram posts from the artist or the promoter, etc., that’s not where we want to be most effective. We want, you know, there’s a long sales cycle or life cycle of the event for all of these events, and we want to help get a show from 70% sold out to 80% sold out, because we’re able to provide them more exposure and discovery and inspiration throughout that whole life cycle. So it’s a pretty significant part of the mix without being able to give you an exact number.


[00:32:01] Dave Yovanno Gotcha. Now that’s good enough. Amazing to hear how it, you know, continue to contribute to your company’s success. Right. As we start to wrap up, I’m curious, what trends are you paying attention to for this year? What’s top of your mind right now?


[00:32:13] Dan Armstrong Yeah, for our industry, there’s a number of topical issues, but one is just the continued expansion of what we would call the experience economy. So coming out of the pandemic, it became pretty clear that consumers want experiences and not necessarily as much stuff, so to speak. And our research shows that 70% of fans are concerned about finances or the economy, but 60% of those fans aren’t willing to cut back on live. This is really important. And and this is the thing that will make or break their year of being able to go to see that’s special artists to them. So that’s something that we’re continuing to lean into as a business next. And related to that is there’s obviously a growing fascination with the intersection of travel and live events. So we’re working very hard to have our content available through Travel Online Travel Agency. So a get your guide or visitor, particularly when it comes to more local kind of events. So you show up in London, for instance, and you don’t know exactly what you’re going to do after you walk around the city all day. But we have the ability for you to find the immersive exhibit called frameless, which is the Van Gogh exhibit. Right? And we make it possible to buy directly within those channels. And so we see that as, as something that as more and more people not only travel, but want to do things while they’re traveling, whether they have bought that ticket in advance or they buy that ticket while they’re there, we need to be in those channels. So that’s a big theme for us as well. And then I can’t not mention the fact that just like every company, everyone is thinking about AI and what that’s going to mean for our business, whether it’s AI or generative AI or LMS, and we know that’s going to create interesting opportunities for our industry, just like all industries, whether that’s how we support fans and customer service or the way the venues are able to manage events and their inventory, or how fans discover them. While it’s a very big ocean to boil, we certainly have a team that thinks about that. Day in, day out. And we know that there’s going to be opportunities to enhance our services for our clients and our fans and some of the stuff that we do in our distribution group fit into that category as well.


[00:34:31] Dave Yovanno Again, I love that focus on the customer, and I’d love that point around prioritizing travel partnerships that you’re paying attention to, consumer trends, you’re noticing a spike in travel and that whole change in consumer behavior, and you’re responding to that. I think a huge piece of being successful in the partnership economy is doing what you’re suggesting, right? Studying your user, asking what they think or just noticing their trends, remaining agile as an organization, which you’re clearly demonstrating, and then just thinking about partnerships that just make sense for you and your customers, essentially including your artists as well. So Dan, that’s a wrap. Thank you so much for joining me in this fascinating episode of the Partnership Economy Podcast. To our listeners, thank you for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.


[00:35:15] Dan Armstrong Thanks a lot.


[00:35:18] Dave Yovanno I really enjoyed my conversation with Dan and learning the ins and outs of the live ticketing industry. What I found incredibly insightful was Dan’s continuous focus on the customer. It’s clear that he views every partnership through the lens of how it serves the end consumer. For example, Ticketmaster’s partnership with Spotify enhances the user experience because they’re able to book concert tickets for their favorite artist in app while already listening to the artist on Spotify. Dan also has a strong sense for implementing partnerships that just makes sense for his industry based on the data that he’s seeing. A great example of this is his plan to partner with travel agencies to sell event tickets that missed an uptick in travel and demand for live events. I also appreciate that he doesn’t just follow trends that may not apply to his business. I loved it when he said that artists are the best influencers, so Ticketmaster prefers to work with creators in other nontraditional ways. Finally, I completely agree with Dan’s advice for moving upwards within an organization as you start out in your career. Don’t be afraid to do the, as he put it, unglamorous work. What you learn and the relationships that you develop will be invaluable as you continue to rise up. Thank you, Dan, for joining us on this episode of the Partnership Economy Podcast. And to our listeners, thank you for tuning in.


[00:36:35] Canned Intro Thanks for listening to the Partnership Economy, brought to you by Impact Comm. If you enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to subscribe to the show and rate and review it on Apple Podcasts.

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