Longtime rivals Eventbrite and Ticketfly are finally joining forces. This morning, Pandora announced it was selling Ticketfly to Eventbrite in a $200 million deal that will have Ticketfly CEO Andrew Dreskin leading the newly-merged company’s music efforts. The news comes on the same day Pandora announced that it was selling a 16 percent stake in the streaming company to SiriusXM, a move said to be worth $480 million.
The acquisition of Ticketfly by Eventbrite comes less than two years after Ticketfly was acquired by Pandora in a blockbuster deal originally valued at $450 million but later reduced to $335 million. By taking a 38 percent, $135 million loss just 20 months after the original deal, Pandora’s write-down is a not-so-tactful way of saying it paid too much for Ticketfly – although the company’s integration did bear positive results for Ticketfly and led to impressive client growth.
“Pandora and Eventbrite plan to enter into a partnership to build on the work we’ve done and take it to an even broader audience of promoters, while offering listener notifications for even more great live events,” Dreskin wrote on the Ticketfly blog.
What does this historic deal mean for ticketing? Here are four fast facts:
Eventbrite + Ticketfly is a Middle Market Monster
Ticketfly and Eventbrite were both powerful forces in the ticketing world already, but combined, the two are ginormous, with 200 million tickets sold each year, 800,000 clients and $4 billion in sales. There’s no ticketing company in the middle market — clubs, theaters, independent festivals and events NOT controlled by Live Nation or AEG — that even come close. That’s not great news for the Etixs and Vendinis of the world, but perhaps the upside is that the deal means one less competing cash offer to drive up the price of acquiring new clients. In a world where cash advances and upfront payments ultimately win the day, many smaller ticketing competitors in the space now only face one giant with money instead of two. And besides, after paying $200 million for Ticketfly, it’s unclear how much cash Eventbrite will have left over to advance to potential clients.
Eventbrite’s Julia Hartz is (Arguably) the Most Powerful Person in Ticketing
As the old adage goes, he (or she) who survives the longest wins. I have to imagine that CEO Julia Hartz and her husband and co-founder Kevin Hartz are pretty happy about acquiring their largest competitor at a steep discount. Julia Hartz is now the undisputed most powerful woman in ticketing, bar none (although technically, she kind of already was since she is the only female CEO of a major ticketing company, but now she’s REALLY powerful). You might even say she is the most powerful CEO in ticketing, considering her biggest competitor Ticketmaster doesn’t have a CEO. Jared Smith is President of Ticketmaster North America, and unlike Hartz, he a) doesn’t oversee global operations and b) has a boss to report to (Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino). Hartz now finds herself atop one of the biggest ticketing companies in the world, with an impressive collection of marquee clients that include I.M.P. (9:30 Club and Merriweather Post Pavilion in Washington D.C.), Jam Productions in Chicago and the Troubadour, Roxy and Largo in Los Angeles.
Eventbrite’s Clients Now Have Access to Pandora
A win-win for anyone on the Eventbrite platform, because those clients now have access to the Pandora integration that had exclusively been available to Ticketfly clients. And it’s not just limited to Pandora — adding Ticketfly to the Eventbrite stable means access to all sorts of cool features and integrations Ticketfly has built over the years, including the Will Call app, the Promoter back-end ticket management system and Lyte, a fan-friendly secondary market that has an exclusive licensing agreement with Ticketfly.
Andrew Dreskin is sticking around
Dreskin is ticketing’s first (and maybe last) rock star, cultivating a bigger-than-life persona steeped in music industry cred. That’s hard to do in ticketing, where most CEOs are essentially glorified sales executives without much connection to the music community. Keeping Dreskin on board will certainly be a boost for both companies, although it’s unclear how he will do long-term taking orders from someone else. Dreskin will essentially oversee both company’s large collection of music clients and continue to maintain a fairly high profile at the merged companies.
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