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Amazon reportedly abandons bid to enter US ticketing market

By | Published on Friday 24 November 2017


Amazon is reportedly abandoning plans to launch its own ticketing service in the US after coming up against The Ticketmaster Problem. Or so reports Amplify.

The mail order company began selling tickets for a small number of events in the UK in 2015, before ramping up operations last year, with plans to “disrupt the ticketing industry”. That’s the sort of bold claim made by many a ticketing start-up, which later either folds or sells itself to Live Nation’s Ticketmaster. However, with Amazon’s financial weight and existing channels to music consumers, many wondered if the company might actually be able to make some headway.

The dominance in many key markets of Ticketmaster in ticketing, and parent company Live Nation in venues and artist management, are a hurdle that halts the ambitions of many, if not most, ticketing start-ups as they attempt to scale up to larger shows in those markets. This is something Songkick is challenging in the courts on competition law grounds, although its ticketing business has already wound down. Because, it says, of these issues.

In the UK, Amazon is now selling tickets for a number of big name artists and festivals. Still, earlier this year, at least one analyst reckoned that the newcomer to the ticketing business did not represent a “near-time risk” to Ticketmaster. BTIG’s Brandon Ross also noted that any chance of Amazon denting the market leader’s revenues would depend largely on its ability to launch and then compete in the US market.

Now, reckons Amplify, Amazon Tickets has all but abandoned attempts to launch in America. “The failure to get a deal with Ticketmaster, coupled with the limited opportunities for the company due to Ticketmaster’s venue contracts and exclusivity model, have Amazon quietly shutting down parts of the effort”, says the live industry website.

It adds that, according to various sources, Ticketmaster had offered to do a deal to provide slow-moving tickets in its inventory to Amazon to sell on at a discounted rate. But one of Amazon’s plans was to secure the best seats at shows to offer to its Prime members, so it knocked that proposal back.

This leaves Amazon in a position where it would need to do direct deal with artists, venues and promoters. In the US, where Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s hold over all three of these is strongest, that seemingly proved an unviable option. However, Amplify does note that Amazon may as yet reignite plans to launch its ticketing business in the US in the future, should anything change.