Ticketmaster has teamed up with Costco. Yes, you read that right: the ticket-selling giant and the bulk items superstore have partnered together.
“A unit of LiveNation, the $7 billion (2015 revenue) company that is the largest producer of live entertainment in the world, Ticketmaster has in the last year or so started acting like a software startup vying for the attention of third party developers”.
Ticketmaster opened up access to its application programming interfaces (APIs) earlier this year, which allows consumers to purchase tickets from third-party apps like Bandsintown. This week, Ticketmaster partnered with Costco for costcotickets.com, allowing Costco members access to the ticket company’s massive inventory of event tickets.
TechCrunch says that this move is not uncommon for older companies. “Ticketmaster typifies a growing set of older companies who have discovered that their futures depend on extending their reach into adjacent market segments, and that the best way to do that is by reaching out to third-parties and their developers”.
For the business and money-making side of things, these partnerships make sense. Jared Smith, the Ticketmaster president for North America explains how the partnerships address long-standing problems. For example: “the best seats in the house often don’t sell for as high a price as they might because the people willing to pay a premium price don’t always know about them”. Additionally, it helps with the “impulse buy” by making it easier for catching consumers at the time when they learn their favourite band is coming to town.
The open API comes from previous partnerships.
“Ticketmaster’s open API was the natural result of a series of less ambitious partnerships with Groupon and Broadway.com, Smith says. Groupon for instance regularly emails discounted tickets offers for Broadway shows and Major League Baseball games. The “Buy” links in those emails go back to Ticketmaster”.
Anyone can start using Ticketmaster’s API and active developers have gone from just 250 to over 2000. However, there is something that interested developers need to keep in mind: “Building test apps is free. But requests to Ticketmaster’s data are rate-limited. This ensures that before a developer deploys an app for production, they first have to contact Ticketmaster to ask for an increase in their quota”.
Ticketmaster’s open API and new partnerships with companies like Costco opens up a world of possibilities for the future of how consumers can buy event tickets. The company is also starting to explore new technologies like chat bots and AI agents.