Can TicketsCandy Shake up the Ticketing Monopoly?

Ticketing Monopoly

It’s no secret that the current giants of the ticketing service industry have been heavily criticized for their practices regarding consumer-facing fees. Stories of fees making up a sizable portion of the final ticket sale are all over social media, and despite the backlash, little had changed. Even when forced to pay exorbitant amounts in response to class-action lawsuits, such as the $397 million settlement Ticketmaster paid in 2016, their predatory pricing remains. Enter TicketsCandy, a veritable knight in shining armor looking to eradicate the current practices and establish a business and consumer-friendly alternative.

TicketsCandy founder and CEO Dmitry Yarchuk launched the platform in 2019 as a means of challenging the ticketing industry’s antiquated technology and current monopoly. By prioritizing affordability, TicketsCandy emphasizes the focus on “delivering a more customer-centric, accessible, and growth-oriented approach to the ticketing industry,” Yarchuk explained. The core issue with the current market can be seen the moment a customer checks out with their purchase.

Per Ticketmaster’s current policy, there are four potential fees that customers may pay on top of the face value price of the ticket set by the event’s organizer. The service fee, order processing fee, and taxes are applied to most orders, whereas the delivery and facility charges are set by Ticketmaster’s client. However, whereas Ticketmaster doesn’t earn anything from facility charges, it can profit from the delivery fee, especially for physically mailed tickets shipped via UPS. In some instances, such as with tickets for The Cure’s 2023 tour, these fees were 135% of the original ticket price. Even more recently, Neil Young called the company out for what amounted to approximately 30% in fees attached to his concert’s ticket sales.

TicketsCandy’s savings start with the client, who can list their tickets at either no or a very reduced rate compared to the industry standard. While TicketsCandy is still expanding globally, it’s offering free ticket sales for Canada, Australia, Ireland, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, there’s a nominal 0.9% on online ticketing only. Any tickets sold in person are free. While Ticketmaster may offer free listings, a fee is imposed on every ticket sold. 

Per Ticketmaster’s model, there’s a profit to be had on both ends of the equation. As Yarchuk explains, working these fees into its model is a balancing act. “The 0.9% fee that we charge for online ticket sales in the US is minimal enough that we pass it on to the ticket buyers.” And when it comes to fees paid by event attendees, it stops at that minimal percentage. 

It sounds like the perfect model to draw big names and consumers, but TicketsCandy faces a significant roadblock—name power. Ticketmaster was founded in 1976, and it has been a leader in the ticketing industry for years, especially since its 2010 merger with Live Nation. In 2022, Ticketmaster reported revenue of $16.7 billion and in January 2023, CNBC reported the company has 70% control of the industry. It’s a major player with the capital and recognition to continue to keep its hold, but with the recent flood of public backlash and bad press, TicketsCandy can move in to shake up the monopoly. 

According to Yarchuk, the strategy starts with product development. “We’ll continue enhancing our platform with new features and improvements, incorporating user feedback to ensure we meet the evolving needs of our customers,” he explains. It’s a step forward from what appears to be Ticketmaster’s approach, which is more reactionary and less inclined to change until it’s absolutely necessary. Even then, that change takes time (if it ever happens), as fees have been an ongoing issue with Ticketmaster for years.

TicketsCandy has the opportunity to remain a step ahead of Ticketmaster by predicting industry trends. Modern technology offers a host of ways to retain a sizable market share of the ticketing industry, and Yarchuk notes that AI will be part of the company’s future as it streamlines how it can appeal to and benefit the consumer. While the reliability of AI is still in question, innovation in a tired industry will draw intrigue from clients and influencers.

Ticketmaster may be on top now, but it’s a position that it can lose rather quickly if it’s not careful. A 2022 survey by PwC, an international consulting firm, found that loyalty is far from a guarantee, and younger generations are more likely to sway from their current brands. Among the most cited reasons for leaving a brand were poor customer service, a bad experience with a service, and an increase in pricing. Considering Ticketmaster’s track record of continuous issues with ticket availability and litigation over its fees, all the event-going public may be looking for is an alternative service.

If TicketsCandy can increase its marketing efforts, improve its social media presence, and really appeal to businesses with its no-fee service, there is a place for the newcomer at the table. Ticketmaster may push back, but should consumer trust shift from the ticketing giant, the potential for the monopoly to collapse is absolutely there. 

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