For Those About to Rock, We’ll Connect You: The Role of Tech in Live Music Today

By Scott Cutler, President of StubHub
Originally published on LinkedIn, Feb. 10, 2017

It’s 1987, and I’m at my first concert – Billy Idol and The Cult. They’re taking the U.S. by storm on their national tour. Billy is riding high on his new-found American fame, and he takes the stage to power through a few chart-toppers: “White Wedding,” “Rebel Yell,” “Eyes Without a Face.” Though this is my first live show, I know that this is it: I’m finally experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime event that I’ll remember forever. The roar and push of the crowd, the feel of the bass, Billy’s fist pumps right there in front of me – I’m invigorated in a way that a vinyl record could never make me feel. I don’t stop smiling for the entire show. In awe of the talent I just witnessed, I think to myself, “Wow – this is one of the most memorable moments of my life.”

I didn’t know it then, but I’d eventually go on to lead a company that empowers other passionate music-lovers worldwide to experience this same feeling – a concert high that only comes with seeing your favorite artist rock a stage. If you had told me in 1987 that 30 years later I’d be watching Lady Gaga take the Super Bowl LI halftime show to new heights – literally – I would have never believed you. It would have sounded almost as outlandish as saying that 300 drones would be flying around Gaga as she performed. But wait… I saw that, too!

Indeed, tech in the live music industry has changed dramatically since that Billy Idol tour back in the ‘80s, and dancing drones at the Super Bowl are just the start. As streaming continues to overtake digital downloads, which long ago replaced physical CDs as our primary format for listening to music, artists will search for ways to find worldwide popularity in an industry that is inundated with new performers on every platform, every day. How can a rising star get into Spotify’s “Discover Weekly,” and will the momentum from that visibility drive concert ticket sales?

As streaming continues to strengthen, the role of mobile and social media in music will only become more important. At StubHub, we got ahead of the mobile trend and made our app a powerful way to tap into technology and surface well-known acts and up-and-comers to millions of customers around the world. We also see social media driving growth in live events because being there live and in person matters.  Being there in person provides social currency which we value and use to define us as unique individuals.  As concert-goers share live video feeds, snap the best moments and broadcast commentary globally, demand for in-person live events will continue to rise.

I also expect that as new and even more sophisticated technologies are applied to everyday uses, AI will secure its place as a technology influence within music. Across other industries, companies are already using smart data to predict consumer behavior. We see this in the recommendations tools on audio streaming services. Next, we’re bound to witness the application of this intelligence in the end-to-end music experience. For example, we’ve started to see AI technology being leveraged for chatbot integrations that provide instant recommendations to consumers who are deciding which live events to attend. And with AI like IBM’s Watson beginning to play a role in song composition, the music industry is sure to see the influence of intelligent tech behind the scenes as well.

I’d argue that the global music scene has been applying futuristic technologies even beyond what we’re generally familiar with in the U.S. For example in South Korea, K-pop stars are performing at their concerts virtually via hologram. These stars reach their super-fans at concerts that, aside from missing the physical presence of the band, are incredibly real: the music is bumping, the venue is packed, and the hologram is life-sized and life-like. While some acts only tour once every few years – don’t get me started on how excited I am about another Guns N’ Roses reunion tour – artists like Jaejoong, G-Dragon, and Psy are hosting concerts every day to thousands of fans who love to see their favorite singer in augmented reality.

At StubHub, we’re advancing all of these technologies – mobile, social, and virtual reality – to provide event-goers with the best possible experience at a live event. From our “virtual view” seat view tool to mobile browse and checkout, our technological advancements have enhanced event discovery, streamlined ticketing, and ultimately heightened all phases of the fan experience.

Tech is only going to continue to grow in significance in today’s digital world. Everyone in the industry is tasked with empowering fans to have seamless access to the once-in-a-lifetime experiences they want to attend. At StubHub, we know that our tech will be there for you before, during, and after the concert: we’ll get you there, elevate your experience, and ensure you’ll never forget it. We see ourselves as the ultimate connection between fans and today’s hottest shows.

This weekend, I’m heading to the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, where Adele is bound to blow the roof off the Staples Center. Tributes to Prince, George Michael, and Leonard Cohen will remind us the great talent we’ve lost, and we’ll see Beyonce astound us as usual. As I watch these performers set the new standard for live music experiences, I’ll be thinking ahead another 30 years to imagine what musical performances will look like then.

And while I don’t think Billy Idol will make an appearance, if he shows up via hologram, you can bet I’ll be cheering louder than anyone else.

StubHub Launches First Ticketing App for Apple TV

App encourages people to get off the couch and discover their ticket out

OCT. 3, 2016 – SAN FRANCISCO – With mobile becoming an integral part of the event experience, StubHub today announced the first ticketing app for Apple TV. Designed to be purposefully different from its core mobile app experiences, the new StubHub app for Apple TV is less transactional and more emotional – and encourages people to browse and discover events nearby or in a city aross the U.S.

Specially designed for 4th gen Apple TV, the new StubHub app builds on the theory that the best screen is life-size. It takes advantage of a large-format TV screen to showcase event imagery and an energetic, highly visual design aesthetic within StubHub’s new, dynamic brand look and feel.

In creating this design aesthetic, StubHub’s designers and engineers had to consider new use cases for Apple TV and design for the person who isn’t sure what they want to do, or who needs extra motivation to get out of the house. The design was tested and iterated through several rounds of user feedback, in which StubHub designers added the side-scroll interface for browsing within a seating section of a specific event, and included high-resolution seat maps on the listing cards so consumers could get a clear idea of the view from the section in which they were considering tickets.

“We know that most people will be interacting with our app from their couch, as they’re looking for something to do, so we kept the StubHub app for Apple TV focused on browsability and discovery, to better motivate people to get up and get out,” said Marcus Shelksohn, director of mobile product. “The StubHub design team wanted to create a more custom interface to reflect the emotional nature of event discovery – and the result is an engaging look and feel that maximizes event imagery and seat maps, and is highly intuitive to navigate.”

As consumers rely even more on their mobile devices to research, access and share their live experiences, StubHub’s goal is to be everywhere their customers are, across multiple screens via multiple devices. For example, StubHub and third-party data shows:

  • Over the next few years, mobile will account for more than 50% of digital tickets purchased1.
  • Fifty-two percent of concert-goers use their mobile devices to look up details about shows2.

The new StubHub app for Apple TV expands on StubHub’s goal to connect consumers to inspiring experiences, and for event-goers to be able to access their favorite events, artists and performers on nearly any screen.

 

1,2StubHub: The Year in Live Events, 2015

 

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StubHub Expands Apple Pay to the Web 

StubHub today announced that it will be among the first to bring Apple Pay on the web to customers this fall so they can make easy, secure and private payments in Safari on iPhone, iPad and Mac with a single touch.

 

“StubHub connects fans to inspiring events and experiences, and it’s important that our transaction process is simple and seamless, so customers can focus on the artists, athletes and performers they want to see,” said Mats Nilsson, senior director of product and technology for StubHub. “By expanding Apple Pay beyond our iOS app to our desktop and mobile Web platform, we’re giving customers a convenient, secure way to complete their ticket transactions and get excited for what’s really important – the event.”

 

Apple Pay has been a payment option on StubHub’s iOS app since January 2015, and is popular with StubHub customers. StubHub data shows that Apple Pay users transact more frequently and spend more in total than users of other payment methods in the StubHub iOS app.

 

StubHub plans to add Apple Pay to its Safari checkout flows for iPhone, iPad and Mac users when it is available this fall. The checkout flow will be quick and easy, and customers will be able to check out without the interruption of creating a StubHub account.

 

Security and privacy is at the core of Apple Pay. When you use a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique dynamic security code.

 

Apple Pay is easy to set up and users will continue to receive all of the rewards and benefits offered by credit and debit cards. 

 

For more information on Apple Pay, visit: http://www.apple.com/apple-pay/

 

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StubHub Moves Toward End-to-End Platform with New Uber Integration

Integration allows fans to arrange transportation after ticket purchase, making it easier than ever before to discover and attend events.

San Francisco (July 29, 2015) – StubHub, the world’s largest ticket marketplace, today announced a new app integration with Uber, the nation’s leading on-demand ride-hailing service.

After completing a ticket purchase on StubHub, fans will now be able to set a reminder to arrange transportation through Uber when the event is imminent. Users who purchase tickets within two hours of the event will be able to order an Uber directly from the order confirmation page. In both cases, StubHub will automatically share the venue location with Uber.

“At StubHub, we are obsessed with thinking of new ways to create a frictionless event experience. Going to a game or concert involves so much more than just purchasing a ticket — there are a number logistics around the event that fans need to make decisions about,” said Parag Vaish, Head of Mobile. “Our integration with Uber takes one of the most frustrating parts of event-going — transportation — and makes the process infinitely easier. This integration marks another step towards StubHub’s vision to become an end-to-end live entertainment service, moving users from discovery to purchasing to planning.”

The Uber integration will be available within the StubHub iOS and Android apps in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, first-time Uber users will receive a voucher for $20 off their ride. Fans who purchase tickets at one of StubHub’s Last-Minute Service locations will also receive a promotional code to redeem their discount.

About StubHub

StubHub is the world’s largest ticket marketplace, enabling fans the choice to buy and sell tickets to tens of thousands of sports, concert, theater and other live entertainment events on desktop, tablet or mobile, as well as the ability to discover local live music through its iOS app StubHub Music. Offering a superior fan experience at its core, StubHub reinvented the ticket resale market in 2000 and continues to lead it through innovation through numerous industry firsts, including the introduction of the industry’s first ticketing application, first interactive seat mapping tool and the first live entertainment Fan Rewards program. The market leader, StubHub is partners with major organizations and brands, including more than 60 teams in MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and NCAA, plus ESPN, NBC Digital, AEG and Paciolan. Throughout North America and Europe, StubHub provides the total end-to-end event going experience that is the way ticket buying should be.

StubHub is an eBay company (NASDAQ: EBAY). For more information on StubHub, visit StubHub.com, Twitter.com/StubHub, Facebook.com/StubHub, or YouTube.com/StubHub.

StubHub Unveils New Personalization, Content & Discovery Features

5.5-inch (iPhone 6+) - Screenshot 1StubHub, the world’s largest ticket marketplace, today unveiled its updated iOS and Android mobile and tablet apps, featuring new personalization tools and content partnerships to enhance the live-event discovery process for fans. Collectively, these features, combined with a new UI, represent a major move toward StubHub becoming an end-to-end experience for fans who want to plan their free time.

Today’s announcement also underscores the ticket marketplace’s commitment toward becoming a mobile-first experience. New mobile app features, which will be live in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., include:

  • A robust personalization algorithm that will recommend customized activities based on your favorites, your location and/or your iTunes library (for iOS). As part of this, users will receive push notifications when their favorite bands/teams are in town or recommendations for similar likes. For iOS, the personalization features also take into account the Apple Watch, to surface notifications based on geofencing.
  • Incorporating ESPN content – scores, team stats and stories – about overall team performance. Also, an improved integration with Yelp allows individuals to see nearby restaurants and read reviews. And lastly, the new apps will feature Foursquare so that users can read user-generated content and reviews for venues.
  • Improved mobile ticketing, making it easier for you to scan a barcode and gain access to the event, either via your phone or your Apple Watch. Android users meanwhile will have the ability to pay via PayPal/Braintree. iOS users already have capability to pay via Apple Pay.
  • Dramatically enhanced UX with more seamless search, navigation tools and overall design

“In today’s on-demand environment, consumers don’t want to spend a lot of time researching what they’re going to do this weekend. Instead, they expect to receive timely and personalized information without having to search for it, and the new StubHub mobile experience provides just that,” said Parag Vaish, StubHub’s Head of Mobile. “Through our new content partnerships and personalization features, fans will not only be in the know when their favorite teams, bands or shows are in town, they’ll also be able to discover new recommendations based on their preferences.”

The enhanced iOS and Android app are coming on the heels of StubHub’s Apple Watch app announcement. Last fall, meanwhile, StubHub hired its first Editor-In-Chief to allow for expanded content offerings as a way to keep fans more engaged within its platform and help them better determine what games and shows they’d like to attend. The integration with ESPN is a reflection of that, with more to come in the future.

The enhanced iOS and Android app are coming on the heels of StubHub’s Apple Watch app announcement. Last fall, meanwhile, StubHub hired its first Editor-In-Chief to allow for expanded content offerings as a way to keep fans more engaged within its platform and help them better determine what games and shows they’d like to attend. The integration with ESPN is a reflection of that, with more to come in the future.

To download the latest app, visit the App Store or Google Play.
Contact Shela Heath / 212.564.3665