“We’re here for the long haul”: UK ticketing & discovery app DICE to roll into Australia [exclusive]
After a year’s planning, UK ticketing and discovery app DICE will launch in Australia on August 1.
It will start in Sydney and Melbourne with 200 events and eight staffers.
“The team will only be looking at Australia,” London-based CEO Phil Hutcheon tells TMN exclusively. “We’re here for the long haul.”
“We’ll add on engineers to build software just for the Australian market, and expand the workforce to 20 or 30.
DICE’s draw for Australian customers is that it can promise venues and artists that their concert tickets won’t end up in the hands of scalpers.
Reason: the tickets it sells remains on DICE’s app, and can’t be shared by email or web-links.
A QR code appears on the mobile ticket an hour before the show, only after which patrons can enter the venue.
‘The ticket is animated, so you can’t screengrab it,” Hutcheon explains. “There is nothing to resell.”
Australian promoters and venues have long expressed concern that scalper activities could lead to a crisis of confidence with consumers.
In Victoria, the grumble is that while 300 scalper posts have been taken down, no one has been charged and fined.
“Consumer confidence is a legitimate concern,” Hutcheon agrees, adding that any move to stamp out the scalpers “empowers everybody”.
He adds, “You can change things, and the old arguments just fall flat. You can eradicate illegal tickets.”
DICE technology is set up so tickets can only be resold and transferred with permission of multiple parties, which ensures that the price remains at face-value.
The app also caters for fans who return tickets to sold-out shows. Research shows these make up 24%nof an average sell-out event.
DICE’s approach is that those returning the tix are automatically refunded, while these go to the next on a waiting list.
The anti-scalping feature also fits in with DICE’s other strong point: “Our whole mission is to get more people out more to live events and leave Netflix at home.
“We’re also a discovery site.”
Each user gets personalised recommendations to events.
This is through linking with their Spotify or Apple Music library which reveals their listening habits, and machine learning that knows which live events they’ve attended.
Many of DICE’s event pages come with a brief sampler of what to expect before they buy tickets.
“People are realising just how much of activity is really going on in their city which they don’t know about,” says Hutcheon.
“On the weekends, the app becomes a map so people get to find out what else is going on in their city that night, and how to get to the closest events.”
Venues which use DICE report their business increased between 20% to 30% after using the app.
That it advises stage times sees more patrons arriving early to check out support acts, which in turn increases business at the bar.
In time promoters will get recommendations on the best day to hold an event and the best price for the tickets.
DICE began in London in 2014 and quickly moved to Europe and the US this year.
“The US has expanded quicker than we expected, because customers see DICE as something that solves their problem.”
After starting out just in New York and Los Angeles, it quickly expanded to Chicago and will be in Miami, San Francisco, Austin and Atlanta by end of 2019.
It powered tickets for names as Kanye West, Adele, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Diplo, A$AP Rocky, Juice WRLD, Travis Scott, Jack White and Solange.
DICE’s entry into Australia comes after a 12-month research process which showed the market was buoyant and hungry for change.
But one-time artist manager Hutcheon also had a personal reason for wanting to enter Australia even as DICE began five years ago.
At the age of 10, he migrated with his family from the UK to Sydney and went to school at Pennant Hills.
“I still have an Australian passport, and cheer for the Aussies at cricket and football,” he quips.
“We work with Australian artists in the UK and now the US, and we’ve had Australian promoters stopping over in the UK telling us Australia is ready for an app like ours.”