There will always be tickets floating around for shows, be they on StubHub, Craigslist or a bulletin board. Lyte, which was featured by Pollstar last summer, aggressively argues that it is not like any of those platforms. It is not a secondary ticketing source or a “third party,” according to the company. It is, instead, integrated with the original ticket seller.
That’s why, for instance, the BottleRock music and food festival in Napa, Calif., could announce last summer that it was sold out and immediately directed disappointed fans to the Lyte ticket exchange. There didn’t appear to be much backlash on social media because Lyte wasn’t there to re-sell tickets at astronomical prices; it was there to match a seller with a buyer at a nominal price (if one agrees that $195 for a one-day GA ticket to BottleRock is nominal).
“The whole secondary market is complicated; it’s shady,” Andy Donner, VP of corporate development at Ticketfly, told Pollstar. “There are more stories of problems than solutions. I’d been approached by all the usual suspects who wanted to engage in a partnership discussion.
“I’ve been highly reticent because the solutions are fundamentally flawed from a poor fan experience, the issue of no shows. They don’t address the scalping issue either with the price gouging or by selling tickets before the event is sold out. When they show up with a fake ticket, they bang on the Will Call window.”
One of Ticketfly’s embellishments to Lyte is the changing of barcodes. Because Lyte already has the original ticket manifest of Ticketfly, it can cancel the barcode of the seller’s ticket and reissue it to the buyer with a new barcode that can be scanned at the entrance – no going to the Will Call to see if that ticket you bought actually exists.
Lyte, led by Ant Taylor, will be integrated with the 1,700 venues and promoters that use Ticketfly. Their respective websites can implement Lyte whenever a show sells out, with the Lyte “button” appearing as soon as one does sell out. Clients are not precluded from continuing their traditional protocols but Ticketfly believes Lyte will be a welcome change.
“We believe this will be a welcome change for venues and promoters because it puts them in the driver’s seat,” a Ticketfly spokeswoman told Pollstar. “They control which events the exchange is turned on for, what ticket types are eligible, the delivery method, and can even cap the price Lyte is able to resell tickets for.”
“Over the last two years, we have driven no-show rates down by 65 percent on average in venues that use Lyte,” Taylor told Pollstar. “Our partners have experienced a 40 percent decline in the secondary market along with all of the problems that arise with it – fake tickets, price gouging, etc. This is because our platform is 100 percent fraud free.”
As for revolutionary, it is no secret that Ticketmaster has TicketExchange, which does exactly that: it exchanges tickets between fans. Ticketfly argues that the difference with Lyte is pricing, saying “the price on any given day the price will be lowest on Lyte.” Unlike TicketExchange where the seller sets the price, Lyte is an intermediary between parties – it actually buys the ticket using a pricing algorithm then sells it, with a markup. Sometimes Lyte will even have to sell it at a lower price if the dynamics change along the way, according to a spokeswoman.
Donner does not believe competitors will be creating their own Lytes anytime soon.
“Clearly we’ve had the conversation, ‘Why shouldn’t we do this ourselves?’ and the answer is, ‘It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. You can build anything with enough time and enough engineers but Lyte is the best at what they do—pricing and ticket exchange. We’re focused on being the best at what we do, which is primary ticketing.”
Lyte is not precluded from continuing its relationships with clients like BottleRock, Newport Folk Festival, Mumford & Sons, University of Arkansas or any other venue, promoter, artist, athletic department or sports franchise that is not ticketed by Ticketfly, Taylor said.