Olivier Geynet: “People are willing to pay more for the best shows”

Any search for concert tickets on the Internet means finding yourself in first position with websites such as Viagogo or Stubhub, dedicated to the resale of tickets at prices much higher than the original ones.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
24 March 2024 Sunday 22:48
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Olivier Geynet: “People are willing to pay more for the best shows”

Any search for concert tickets on the Internet means finding yourself in first position with websites such as Viagogo or Stubhub, dedicated to the resale of tickets at prices much higher than the original ones. This practice could have its days numbered if the Digital Services law recently approved by the European Union takes effect, which seeks to limit practices such as the preferential positioning of these websites or the use of designs similar to those of official pages.

The DICE ticket company, responsible for the sale of tickets for festivals such as Primavera Sound or Sónar, has been applying a ticket sales procedure for years designed to minimize illegal resale. It does so through an app that only delivers the ticket shortly before the start of the concert, accompanied by the possibility of reselling it for a price similar to the purchase price, as explained by videoconference Olivier Geynet, director of DICE for Spain.

How will the new law affect the way you operate?

Relatively little, we are already complying with the main things required by law. DICE entries are personal and remain within the fan's application. By not printing a PDF or anything like that, security is maximum, and if you want to transfer this entry you can only do so between those people who are in your contacts. Broadly speaking, this is what the law requires, that the owner of the ticket be known and that we know at all times when we visit a ticket sales page if the seller is the original promoter or it is a resale one. Many companies that operated in the resale sector, especially what we call the secondary market, did not have this transparency, and spent a lot of money to position themselves first.

What is the percentage of tickets currently affected by resale?

It depends a lot on the event, we recently had tickets for Off Sonar in Barcelona on sale, they were sold out in less than an hour and more than 10,000 people signed up for the waiting list, for a capacity of 5,000. Between 20% and 40% of these tickets usually change hands.

Does the legal resale price vary a lot?

In our case, the user cannot choose the price, this allows the promoter and the artists to know that no ticket is going to be resold at three, four, five or sometimes ten times the original price, which is of no interest to anyone.

What is the difference between the starting price of a concert and its final price?

It can go up to double, promoters usually use the first, lowest prices to create the dynamics of the event. In the case of festivals, these early bid tickets have a very low price because the entire lineup is not yet known. In these cases it is easy for the difference between the initial and final price to be at least two, three or even four times higher. In this way, the first buyers act as a kind of public relations who will promote your event because they already have a ticket. In live music concerts in general there is no difference between the starting price and the final price.

What percentage of tickets are sold pre-sale at major festivals?

It does not reach 10% but it is usually a fairly relevant amount. Sónar usually puts tickets for the following year on sale on the same day the festival ends. They do it at a very low price but obviously without any line up, and they usually sell thousands of tickets at these in our first days.

Have you noticed the tendency to sell tickets well in advance?

The most popular artists can afford to sell for many months at a time. On the other hand, in smaller events we have noticed that there is a lot of last minute shopping, they are two opposite poles.

Do tickets for small concerts end up selling out?

Many promoters propose joint actions to us because they cannot sell, but we reassure them because according to our data they are going to sell 50% of the box office in the last week, although it is true that this situation generates some stress.

That doesn't happen with very early sales.

With big events something similar to travel happens, when you have the ticket you already see yourself in some way at the concert, you have it on your agenda and you start making plans with friends. On the other hand, if the concert involves traveling, you can plan your trip much better and have the cheapest plane tickets. For the promoter, he ensures an income that allows him to finance part of his event, go much more calmly and be able to dedicate himself to the other part of his job, which is producing a good show.

Do you plan to act against companies like Viagogo after the application of the new regulations?

We do not usually make these types of decisions unless it is a direct attack on our company. When a concert is on DICE it is very difficult for it to end up on this type of website, although they manage. Some resale portals include a huge list of instructions for those who have bought the ticket through DICE, it is a very complex process that is crazy for the buyer, which is why we are relatively little impacted by the resale.

Will the new legislation lower ticket prices?

They are going to go down in the secondary market, I hope so. That a promoter decides to sell the ticket at the price he wants is his decision, we cannot enter there.

What are the price increases in tickets due to?

Everything has gone up in price lately, also in the supermarket, everything is more expensive, but there have been very strong increases in tickets due to high demand. The best shows are the ones that increase in price the most because people are willing to pay more for their entertainment, and it is the promoter who sets the prices. Years ago there were cheaper tickets, things like the guest list, free tickets or paying at the door were popular. But the increase in advance ticket sales has made it possible to avoid having to resort to this type of promotion and to give the ticket the value it should have, which is to allow the promoter to pay for the artists and their production.