DiscoverTrapitalThe Culture Report, and DICE President on Making Music Ticketing Less Transactional
The Culture Report, and DICE President on Making Music Ticketing Less Transactional

The Culture Report, and DICE President on Making Music Ticketing Less Transactional

Update: 2022-11-03
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At the top of the episode, I talk about Trapital’s new Culture Report and our opening section on hip-hop’s “decline.” This report is sponsored by DICE, and it was a great chance to chat with DICE President Russ Tannen about the future of ticketing and live events.


Russ moved to New York City in 2021 amid the pandemic with one lofty goal: grow the music ticketing platform’s business inside the competitive United States market. If that wasn’t challenging enough, this was all while live musical shows were still hard to come by. More than a year later, DICE is still in growth mode, not only in the US but with aspirations for other international markets too.


Russ was a day-one employee of DICE when it started in 2013 in Europe. What separated the platform then — and to this day — is its laser focus on the music fan. Unlike its major competitors, DICE is as much a discovery platform as a point-of-sale. Using the app’s own internal data, fans are recommended local shows to attend. 


The recommendation system was created with the intent of improving the live music-going experience for fans. This same reason is also why the ticket price you see on DICE is the final price, no extra fees added at check-out. DICE tickets also can’t be resold outside of its app, ensuring true fans, not ticket scalpers, will have first access to see their favorite artists. 


Russ joined me on the show to discuss the inner workings of DICE, from the app’s unique benefits for fans, artists, and venues alike to its overarching growth strategy. Here’s everything we covered:


[0:35 ] The Culture Report

[13:01 ] DICE entering the US market amid pandemic

[15:26 ] Competing against other ticketing platforms

[19:58 ] Re-wiring consumer behavior around attending events

[22:15 ] Prior partnership with Kanye West

[23:37 ] Has there been any artist pushback?

[25:16 ] Showing ticket price upfront, not at checkout

[28:10 ] How DICE deals with ticket-buying bots

[35:57 ] DICE’s investment in data science is paying off

[35:37 ] Partnering with Ice Spice

[38:21 ] Early signals that an artist is on the rise

[40:22 ] Correlation between social media and streaming numbers on ticket sales

[43:16 ] Differences in ticketing in US vs. other markets

[46:18 ] Sales strategies for low-demand shows

[48:46 ] DICE’s plans to tap more into Latin music market

[52:27 ] Expansion is DICE’s primary focus in 2023


Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS


Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co


Guests: Russ Tannen, @RussTannen

 

Download The Culture Report here: https://trapital.ck.page/a23b7a6a4a

 

Sponsors:

 

MoonPay is the leader in web3 infrastructure. They have partnered with Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. To learn more, visit moonpay.com/trapital

 

Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital

 

Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.

 

Sponsors:

 

MoonPay is the leader in web3 infrastructure. They have partnered with Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. To learn more, visit moonpay.com/trapital

 

Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital

 

Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.



TRANSCRIPTION


[00:00:00 ] Russ Tannen: At one point I was booking in London a 150-capacity venue, and I thought it was amazing when 400 people would show up for the hundred 50 capacity show, and we try and cram them all in. And I always saw that was an amazing sign. Those shows were always free, but obviously, now we are ticketing around the world, many of the best 100 to 200-capacity venues that exist in some of the best music cities in the world. So what's fascinating for us is to not just be speaking to the people that are running and booking those venues, but to be looking at the data of, okay, which shows sold out on and out at that level, and who's got the biggest waiting list at that level. And we see a complete global picture of that.

[00:00:42 ] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to The Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level.   

[00:01:02 ] Dan Runcie: Today's guest is Russ Tannen. He's the president of DICE, which is a ticketing platform for live events that's working to make ticketing fairer for fans of live music. They're also working to make sure that there's personalization, so that fans have a better understanding for the music and the concerts from the people that they want to be able to see. And they've been using a ton of analytics to address some of the challenges that the live entertainment industry has faced over the years. DICE is one of the presenting sponsors for Trapital's 2022 Culture Report that is out and available. You can get that on the Trapital website or if you're on the email list. And it was great to talk to Russ about some of those findings and also get a better understanding for the main problem that DICE is trying to solve. There are several aspects of the live ticketing business from scalpers and bots that are raising prices, with artists and fans not necessarily being able to have the most direct connection possible, and fans not always necessarily knowing what concerts are in their area, other people that they may want to see, and being able to get personalized recommendations there. So Russ really brought us under the hood, painted us a picture of what the events business looks like. This is a company that started in the UK, was able to get a good amount of market share there, and is now expanding into the US. So we talked about how they're focused on the venues, specifically, that have capacity from 200 people up to 10,000, what that looks like, what the opportunities are, what some of the challenges are, and what he's ultimately looking forward to most. Here's my chat with Russ.

[00:02:36 ] Dan Runcie: All right. Today we have Russ Tannen, who is the president of DICE, a company that is on a mission to help solve a number of the challenges right now in the ticketing and live events business. And I give you a lot of credit because this is a difficult business for a number of reasons, and you're entering a US market where I think there's so much opportunity for improvements with things. So it would be great to hear from you all, and for the folks listening, what your strategy is and why the US market's been so important for you.

[00:03:08 ] Russ Tannen: Thanks Dan. Thanks so much for having me on. It's really good to meet you and to get a chance to have this conversation. I don't know why you think it's difficult. It's it's been so straightforward. It's been such a breeze the last nine years. No, it's definitely complicated. Before we jump into it, and I do want to tackle that one, I wanted to ask you a question first actually. What was the first concert you went to, Dan? 

[00:03:27 ] Dan Runcie: Ooh, the first concert I went to. So I am Jamaican and my parents are Big Harry Belafonte fans, so I must have been nine or so, and we all went as a family to a Harry Belafonte concert. I grew up in Hartford, Connecticut, so he had come through, so that was the first one. 

[00:03:44 ] Russ Tannen: Wow. What was the first one where you, like, bought a ticket or you were, like, going with your mates and you were, like, excited to go? 

[00:03:49 ] Dan Runcie: Okay. The first one where was actually, like, me going, it was a 50 Cent concert. He had come through, they had this concert venue, the Meadows in the Hartford area. So, yeah, we went to that. This is like right when he had, like, blown up. 

[00:04:00 ] Russ Tannen: How was it? Amazing? 

[00:04:02 ] Dan Runcie: I mean, at that age, it was amazing. I thought that it was the coolest thing ever. I mean, this was the person that everyone was talking about, Oh, you know, he got shot nine times. He's this mythical legend. And then you get to see him in this venue. And of course, you're also, you know, you're young, you're with your friends, you're finally, like, getting out, like, people are finally starting to go different places. So I really enjoy that. And yeah, I mean, that was with my own money for the first time.

[00:04:25 ] Russ Tannen: Yeah. I love thinking about those memories. I found a picture of me going to my, like, first proper concert, which is, like, I used to have hair, obviously, when I was a teenager and it was, like, dyed green, and we were going to see Deftones and Linkin Park play. They were playing in London. And I reme

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The Culture Report, and DICE President on Making Music Ticketing Less Transactional

The Culture Report, and DICE President on Making Music Ticketing Less Transactional

Dan Runcie