OUT ON A LIMB: Can A Ticketing Platform Truly Care About The Artist?

March 29. 2013 | By Collin Welbon

Emma_LowRes Photo courtesy of Anna Jones Photography

Let’s take a moment to reflect… It”s 1994, and prior to May of that year many events, both tragic and jubilant, occurred throughout the world of music. Green Day releases their breakout album Dookie, Kurt Cobain commits suicide leaving thousands of fans distraught and searching for answers, and the legendary Fillmore re-opens in San Francisco. In May of 1994, the world was Pearl Jam’s oyster, but they weren’t willing to sit back and let just anyone shuck it. In an attempt to formulate positive change in the music world (for musicians and fans alike), Pearl Jam filed a complaint with the US Department of Justice against Ticketmaster for having a monopoly on the concert ticket business. Does anyone remember that happening? This Owl remembers it every time I go to click on the “Submit” button when purchasing my concert tickets, but just in case anyone doesn’t remember, Ticketmaster won that war and continues to gouge fans with exorbitant ticket service fees for their “convenience,” not ours.

Well, there is finally hope for artists, fans, and venues. Almost twenty years after Pearl Jam’s stand, there is a new ticketing platform available that would even impress Eddie Vedder. Tikly is an online ticketing platform that makes sense by placing the tickets back in the hands of the talent and event organizers, creating a positive experience for everyone involved. In order to gain a more enlightened view of what Tikly is and who’s behind this wonderful new platform, The Owl Mag took some time to ask Emma Peterson, the founder and CEO of Tikly (pictured above), some questions about the company, the music industry, and where it’s all headed.

The Owl Mag: What inspired you to start Tikly?

Emma Peterson: My passion for live events and the experiences I’ve had over the past three

years while touring with and managing The Nadas, which is a roots rock band based out of Des Moines, IA. Even though I was already very aware of the fact that the ticket industry was not providing a positive purchasing experience for fans, during my time with The Nadas, I figured out that they were not doing any favors for the bands or venues putting on these events as well. These ticketing agencies are not adding any true positivity to the industry, which is so incredibly valuable, because if you think about the music industry and what it provides to various cultures and communities, it”s just something that shouldn’t be taken advantage of in my opinion. I wanted to have an honest answer to tell fans when they asked why pre-sale tickets cost so much more than buying them at the door. So, I found myself wanting to find a good solution. After going on a bit of an adventure trying to find a more engaging ticketing experience and using a couple different ticketing agencies, I realized that there really wasn’t a good solution that catered to the touring musician or small to mid-sized venue. So, I figured with my love for live events, and me kinda being a nerd, as well as some help and a nudge from my friend Ben Milne, who created Dwolla, we”d just have to build it.

The Owl Mag: So how does Tikly set itself apart from other ticketing agencies?

Emma Peterson: Ticketmaster and other ticketing platforms of that nature kind of speak to a different clientele. We work more with the touring musicians, the small to mid-sized venue and the event organizer – the people who really put on the show and give back to their community. Although we”re more than happy to work with the big arenas and bands to help them have a positive experience and sell tickets, that’s not our bread and butter. Our passion is more with the touring musicians and event organizers who are truly committed to creating a memorable event for their fans. In addition to that, we are the only ticketing company that provides a very respectful service fee structure that’s accompanied by transparency, and the fact that we pay your credit card transaction costs for you as long as the ticket is valued at less than $100. We challenge the idea that credit card fees applied by other ticketing platforms are part of doing business. We believe that we”re in this together and want to provide our clients with a positive experience as well. What I”m most proud of is our incredible cool merchandising experience where we allow our ticket sellers, whether it be a musician, comedian, or venue owner to sell merchandise in advance along with their tickets. This not only provides further incentives for fans to commit to attending the show in advance, but also provides a more VIP experience for them. I have found that live events are experiences people want to be engaged with and the merchandising aspect provides this while making every happy.

The Owl Mag: What are your plans for growing Tikly over the next year and beyond?

Emma Peterson: I am very excited to say that we are working directly with PledgeMusic to help empower the artists and provide a cool direct-to-fan experience. Since the music industry at this time is all about building relationships and because our values are so similar to PledgeMusic’s, it puts us in a unique position to integrate so that fans, in addition to making a pledge to their favorite bands or buying their PledgeMusic exclusive, can also buy tickets provided by Tikly. So, while the PledgeMusic campaign is still live, and say the band goes on tour, it gives their fans another place to access and buy advance or maybe even discounted tickets. This is definitely for the DIY artist who wants to do right by their fans, and that’s why we’re working together. We also just recently launched our new website interface, and in addition to that, we”ll be launching a few promoter tools. Quite similar to the way you may have a Facebook event and you can assign admins. So, everyone can throw their cards on the table and have an honest discussion about what’s working or not working and how things are going at every level.

The Owl Mag: How does Tikly help the venue?

Emma Peterson: There are some immediate and obvious benefits to working with us. One is the lower service fees than you would otherwise have. A couple other things is that there is no contractual obligation to work with us so you won’t find yourself in an abusive relationship with Tikly by any means. The other is that there is no cost to setup your account. It”s completely free to use. We also allow for venues to sell merchandise or drink tickets in advance, so if the venue has created a special drink for the event, they could allow their fans to purchase advance tickets for that drink. They could also work directly with the bands and sell their merchandise, which goes right along with the idea of creating that positive and memorable live event experience.

The Owl Mag: How can fans access and purchase tickets to live events from Tikly?

Emma Peterson: Fans can find tickets either via our website at www.tikly.co or, what is even more fun to me, is that a lot of our clients have been taking advantage of our Facebook integration, which allows our clients to sell tickets directly on their Facebook page. Now, what makes this unique to Tikly is that fans can complete the entire transaction without ever leaving the band’s or venue’s Facebook page.

The Owl Mag: What got you into music and the music industry?

Emma Peterson: Growing up my dad was the bass player in a local band called Meloncolony. So, I was always being quizzed about bands that would come on the radio and always being engaged in discussions about music. I also had brothers who were eight and twelve years older than me and would pick me up from school or take me to a friend’s house and en route would put on some classic rock and ask me if I knew who the musician or band was. Sometimes if I knew the answer they would reward me with a dollar, and if I didn’t know the answer, I made sure I did the next time to either get that dollar or at least look cool. My brother, Colin, played bass in a band called The David Haack Band, and they actually toured with Billy Ray Cyrus one summer because David Haack was Hannah Montana’s first guitar player. So, the connections are all there, and I came from a mostly bass playing family, but truth be told, the bass I got for Christmas one year didn’t necessarily get much attention. I taught myself how to play acoustic guitar in college well enough to be able to play a couple songs by The Nadas, of course, but “Dominoes Fall” by Rancid is my go to song at parties if someone will hand me an acoustic guitar.

The Owl Mag: Nice to hear you can kick out some Rancid. That’s cool.

Emma Peterson: Yeah, you know me, some folk rock and Rancid. (laughs)

The Owl Mag: What are you listening to these days?

Emma Peterson: This answer has changed since attending SXSW. The two bands that I”m just head over heels for right now are The Stone Foxes and Sons of Fathers. I actually saw Sons of Fathers in this very serendipitous way. The Saxon Pub in Austin, TX is one of my favorite places to go see a live show. Traditionally, I’d go to see Bob Schneider perform in any rendition of his bands, but this time it was our friends over at MusicFog were hosting a little party with some of their friends. I was just planning on stopping in to say hi, but when I heard Sons of Fathers, my ten minute stop turned into me staying through their whole set. The Stone Foxes played at the Tikly, PledgeMusic, and Givit showcase at SXSW. All the bands that played that night really killed it, but The Stone Foxes…that’s rock “n roll.

The Owl Mag: Is there anything else you would like to say to bands and concert-goers out there?

Emma Peterson: If anyone knows how to get a hold of Eddie Vedder for me, I would really like to tell him about what we’re up to.

To conclude, we could have seriously talked for days. Emma Peterson is truly breaking new ground in the live event ticketing industry. Since its inception, Tikly has grown to over 500 clients representing over twenty states and four countries. The service that Tikly is providing to artists and anyone who wants to create an event and sell tickets is truly remarkable. Thank you, Emma for fighting the good fight. Check out more about Tikly and we hope to see a much more friendly live music environment as the standard in the near future.

The opinions expressed in Out On A Limb are of the writers’ and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of The Owl Mag.

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