As FanDragon gears up for a year of aggressive expansion, we asked three of our leaders – Robert Weiss, Steve Machin, and Alan Rakov – to share their vision for the future of live events and mobile ticketing as we begin a new decade.
Their bold prediction: The 2020’s will see a technological revolution in live events – with breakthrough innovations in the event experience and ticketing platforms bringing transformational change to the industry.
“The year 2020 will be a pivotal inflection point,” said FanDragon’s founding CEO Robert Weiss. “Technology will transform the live event experience, making it better for fans while unlocking more revenue for rights holders – and those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.” These new revenues are predicted to be enormous, with the live music industry alone projected to be worth $31 billion by 2022.
Added Weiss: “I feel exceptionally lucky to have superstar executives like Steve Machin and Alan Rakov helping to lead FanDragon. Collectively, Steve and Alan bring nearly half-a-century of ticketing knowledge to our company. Their expertise will not only help us navigate this upcoming revolution – but ensure FanDragon actively takes the lead in creating ticket delivery solutions for the future.”
The Mobile Ticket Will Become a Personalized Hub Powered by Smart Data
The live entertainment market will capitalize on enhancements to the fan experience before, during and after an event. According to Steve Machin, FanDragon’s Global Director of Ticketing Strategy and Innovation, the ticketing industry is fully focused on improving platforms to power the next generation of fan experiences with smart, but secure data analytics.
“The shift to mobile will continue to accelerate, providing increased personalization, communication, security and monetizing capabilities for event organizers and attendees,” said Machin, who previously held senior corporate roles at Live Nation and Ticketmaster. “Mobile tickets aren’t just a convenient way to get into a concert or game, they are becoming a hub for so much more activity – from serving up personalized promotions and offers, to receiving targeted communications ahead of an event. Digital tickets bring with them a whole range of benefits across ‘the three C’s’ – commercial, communication, community – and as we see more providers adopting a mobile-first mindset, we will see continued innovation around what a ticket can represent.”
According to Alan Rakov, FanDragon’s Vice President of Business Development and Ticketing Partnerships, mobile tickets will power new fan engagement opportunities – before, during and after the event.
“Ticketing giants and tech companies have the opportunity to put the needs of fans first by focusing on an area of the event cycle experience that hasn’t been explored – the time after a ticket is purchased through to the entrance to the show itself,” said Rakov, who was formerly the Chief Revenue Officer at Live Nation. “Organizers have a real chance to engage with fans during this time period and get them excited about what’s coming up. Tickets are their access to the show, and a mobile wallet application is their access to a myriad of opportunities relating to the event.”
The Issue of Ticket Transferability Will Be Addressed – But Not by Government Regulation
Ticket transferability will continue to be a hot debate in 2020. In 2019, we saw new government regulation on the topic with the reintroduction of the BOSS Act, including a clause that primary ticket sellers may not restrict a purchaser from reselling tickets. According to Rakov, this is a fixed mindset that will hinder the ticketing industry from protecting both fans and ticket rightsholders. Instead, the industry must focus on fixing technical issues to protect the integrity of tickets.
“I personally think it’s the artist on stage, or the team on the field, that truly owns the ticket. They have the right to control the marketplace for their tickets,” said Rakov. “It’s not a product that you own. Rather, it’s a license to occupy a seat for a period of time in a venue where an artist is going to do something amazing to entertain you. What you can do with that license depends on who you are, your relationship with the artist and what experience the artist wants you to have.”
“Today, we’re facing a drastic imbalance of ticket supply and fan demand throughout the event sales cycle,” Rakov continued. “To solve this challenge, the entertainment market must usher in a new era of smart ticket transferability. It’s on the rightsholders to collaborate – not compete – with companies that sell tickets and the technology providers that support these platforms. Simplifying and securing the ticket storing and delivery process will be critical to protecting fans and improving the overall event experience.”
Say Goodbye to Barcodes, and Hello to Blockchain and RFID
The industry will continue to innovate and enhance the technical components of next-generation mobile wallets, starting to get rid of the anonymous barcode for more advanced RFID technologies. Machin believes these advancements will change how fans access mobile tickets.
“The anonymous barcode will start to become much less prevalent in 2020,” said Machin, Global Director of Ticketing Strategy and Innovation at FanDragon Technologies. “We will definitely begin to see alternative technologies such as NFC (Near Field Communication) take shape and become widely deployed for improved access to tickets.”
According to Rakov, technical innovations will disrupt the ways consumers use their mobile devices at shows – from storing their tickets to making payments at events, and more.
“Blockchain and RFID will continue to make their mark on the ticketing space in 2020, with innovative companies using smart contracts to create a safe and secure ticket marketplace,” said Rakov, Vice President of Business Development and Ticketing Partnerships at FanDragon Technologies. “Going back to the importance of transferability, these technologies will empower artists, teams and performers to set their own rules for how their tickets are obtained and shared. In addition, RFID will expand with cashless payments to provide a seamless fan experience from entering to exiting the building. Finally, mobile hardware developments will force us all to reconsider what we know about what people can – and want to – do with their devices during the entire event process.”
In the Coming Decade, the Fan will Rise Again
The live events market will undoubtedly undergo continued transformation throughout the 2020’s. According to FanDragon’s founding CEO Robert Weiss, the overarching takeaway from these ticketing and live event industry predictions is that the fan will regain a sense of control when making purchases in the marketplace.
“Multiple factors are coming together – from the growing sophistication of mobile ticketing and the rising importance of data privacy to an inevitable curve bending towards transparency in the ticket lifecycle – that will result in the balance of power tilting back towards consumers, perhaps not entirely by 2020, but certainly within the next decade,” said Weiss.
“In the meantime, other fan-friendly developments such as the recent announcement of FanDragon’s Fan Experience Index Fan Forum will give consumers a stronger voice in the marketplace,” added Weiss. “Ultimately, smart people using new technologies will enable the live events industry to fix these issues and create better outcomes for everyone – keeping people in seats at shows while creating new revenue opportunities – a true win-win situation.”