Pandora to Acquire Ticketfly

The $450-million transaction could mean big things for the ticketing world

  • by Rebecca Nakashima
  • Published: October 7, 2015

The combination of Pandora and Ticketfly creates a powerful analytics platform for event discovery.

Pandora, the music streaming platform, has entered into an agreement to acquire San Francisco-based Ticketfly, which provides ticketing and marketing services for over 1,200 venues and promoters in North America. The transaction is valued at around $450 million and seeks to combine both companies’ resources for increased event discovery and a stronger connection between artists and fans. 

“Pandora and Ticketfly are a perfect fit,” said Andrew Dreskin, co-founder and CEO of Ticketfly. “We share a common goal of wanting to make the end-to-end experience better for everyone in the music ecosystem. We have similar values. We are both ridiculously passionate about music, and want to make live entertainment a bigger part of people’s lives. And it just so happens that we like each other. Anyone who knows Ticketfly knows that we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t like the people involved.”

Ticketfly was founded in 2008 by Andrew Dreskin, the co-founder and CEO of TicketWeb, the first company to sell tickets online in 1995, and Dan Teree, the former president of TicketWeb. Last year, Ticketfly sold 16 million tickets to over 90,000 different live events and powers more than 600 websites on behalf of its clients, which include the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland, Burning Man and the Pitchfork Music Festival, among others. Pandora touts a daily user count of around 80 million people and a high-traffic mobile app. Recently, Pandora has been progressing beyond its internet radio roots to become a data-rich resource for music makers. A year ago, Pandora launched its Artists Marketing Platform, giving artists access to market data that enables them to engage with their fans better.

That data piece is also a major benefit of this acquisition for both parties. Together, they will be able to improve recommendations for fans and create new tools for artists and promoters, forming a powerful analytics platform. Currently, the exact way the two will integrate and what it will look like for Ticketfly customers and Pandora users is still in the works.

“While we're still working out the exact nature of the integration, we have a strong vision about what the combination of the two businesses can achieve together that will guide us,” said Dreskin. “When Pandora and Ticketfly join forces, the largest and most powerful recorded music company and the fastest-growing live events technology company will be coming together to create the definitive online music platform for venues, promoters, artists and fans. This is a watershed moment for live events industry and a proud moment for all of us.”

The deal has definitely caught the eye of the industry, especially other ticketing companies. Lynne King Smith, CEO of TicketForce, said they “definitely pay attention to things changing in the market and how it’s going to affect our clients or our prospects or our future.”

Smith is excited to see what comes of the acquisition and curious about how it will all play out. It made sense to her that music streaming sites could be the next radio, so to speak, in that they are now the place fans go to listen to music.

“People are streaming on Pandora and not listening to the radio over the airwaves anymore as much,” said Smith. “It makes sense to try to get that information to them. I think the music streaming services will need to start to get the word out to their listeners about where to see and hear their favorite artists, but that traditionally has never been locked into one ticketing company. A cycle that feeds back to engaged fans going to an event is a great circle that involves a building, an artist and a ticketing company, and I’m interested to see where it goes.”

Pandora has dipped into the ticketing world on a couple of occasions and seen great success using its ability to target fans of specific artists. They sold out 55,000 tickets during a recent Rolling Stones on sale and completed a successful presale for EDM group Odesza, selling 25,000 tickets using audio ads, banner ads and blog posts all targeted specifically to Odesza fans.

“This is a game-changer for Pandora — and much more importantly — a game-changer for music,” said Brian McAndrews, chief executive officer at Pandora, in a press release. “Over the past 10 years, we have amassed the largest, most engaged audience in streaming music history. With Ticketfly, we will thrill music lovers and lift ticket sales for artists as the most effective marketplace for connecting music makers and fans.”

Things at Ticketfly are going to stay much the same, despite the new owners. Even Ticketfly’s nonmusic clients are set to benefit from the acquisition, also gaining access to Pandora’s marketing might.

“This combination will be transformative for the industry,” said Dreskin. “Our clients will gain access to the largest and most powerful music marketing platform in the world, which will help them to sell more tickets and generate more revenue. We will tackle the problem of event discovery for fans and make live events a bigger part of people’s lives, which is why we all got into this crazy business anyway. I've been at this for eight years, and at no time have I ever been more excited about our ability to deliver on our vision to reimagine live events than I am now, with Pandora as our partner. This is going to be an amazing journey.”

Interviewed for this story: Andrew Dreskin, (952) 240-4012; Lynne King Smith,  (480) 510-6011

  • by Rebecca Nakashima
  • Published: October 7, 2015