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Amazon Tickets to close

By | Published on Thursday 22 February 2018


Despite bold talk about “disrupting the entire live entertainment experience” less than eighteen months ago, Amazon Tickets is now shutting down having made pretty much no mark on the world whatsoever.

According to IQ, Amazon’s UK-based ticketing operation is now in the process of returning any unsold ticket allocations back to promoters. This follows the news last year that the web giant was abandoning plans to launch its ticketing business in the US.

Amazon first began selling tickets in the UK in 2015, before fully launching its ticketing platform – with plans to “position Amazon Tickets as the world’s premier destination for purchasing tickets” – in November the following year.

With all of its resources and online infrastructure, not to mention a massive existing customer base of music fans, many wondered if Amazon could be the one new entrant into the super competitive ticketing business that could actually gain some traction.

As many ticketing start-ups have discovered, taking on the big traditional players in this market is tricky, even if your platform is more consumer-friendly and provides better data to promoters. The key challenge is getting access to tickets for the big shows, because venues and promoters often have strong partnerships with the traditional ticket agents, which commonly offer cash flow and financial kick-backs to keep those alliances sweet.

That’s before you consider the fact that the biggest concert promoter of them all, Live Nation – which is also a key player in venue and artist management, of course – happens to own Ticketmaster and its related ticketing businesses.

Amazon seemingly discovered all of this after it had kicked in the doors and started throwing its weight around. Recognising that Ticketmaster was particularly dominant in the US, it tried to do a deal with the Live Nation company there. A failure to secure such a deal seemingly led to Amazon abandoning its ticketing ambitions Stateside.

Ticketmaster had reportedly offered to do a deal to provide slow-moving tickets in its inventory to Amazon to sell on at a discounted rate. However, one of Amazon’s big plans was to secure the very best seats at shows to offer to its Prime members as a perk of membership, so it knocked that proposal back.

With an expansion into the largest live music market off the table, some wondered whether the US-centric Amazon would bail on ticketing elsewhere too. And, it seems, it has.

IQ reports that in an email earlier this week, Amazon Tickets’ James Moore told clients that the parent company has “taken the decision to close Amazon Tickets, and today will commence the process of marking back to you any tickets currently on our website and of ceasing the sale of new tickets”. He added that tickets already sold to customers will be honoured, but no new tickets are being sold.

So, Amazon’s grand ticketing dream is officially over. Or is it?

Billboard reports that back in the US execs at the web giant have been talking to promoters about a possible alternative ticketing service based around its Echo devices and Alexa voice-activated assistant. “Hey Alexa, is Amazon abandoning ticketing so it can move back into ticketing?” “No comment”, says she.