Bands Sell Tickets Online "D2F"

bands sell tickets online

Bands love their fans. Some bands love their fans so much they have started selling concert tickets to them directly. This edition of 'Thinking Outside the Box(office)' looks at how bands sell tickets online Direct To Fans (“D2F”) using a new D2F mobile app. More importantly the question that must be asked is "Should the D2F dynamic be a concern to venue owners?"


Everclear is a rock band with a reputation for going the extra mile for fans. The members of Everclear take time for their fans with meaningful interaction through social media, personal appearances and autograph sessions (video above). Everclear front man Art Alexakis has even taken direct interaction so far as to cook meals for fans.

Direct interaction has recently entered into a new domain - bands selling tickets online directly to their fans. Independent, local bands have always sold their own tickets to fans on a one-to-one (and usually face-to-face) basis, of course. But once signed to a label, or after achieving a certain threshold of fame, the standard dynamic of being booked by a venue - and the venue selling the tickets - has been the norm.

In the Internet Age, the band-to-fan, face-to-face ticket sale dynamic may become a one-to-one-million dynamic with the venue nowhere in sight. The latest example of this is a new mobile app from Limited Run. The app is purposely built for bands to sell concert tickets directly to fans and contains features normally associated with the venue box office. Hypebot senior contributor Clyde Smith mentioned Limited Run’s new app earlier this week:

Limited Run, an e-commerce platform for D2F label and artist sales, rolled out its Ticket Selling Module earlier this month. Features include multi-user Will Call check-ins, integrated guest list options, maps to the venue [and] 24 hour email reminders for ticket buyers.

The app should be very popular with hard working independent musicians who are already taking control of the other aspects of their music. There is a small gotcha mentioned by Smith in his run down of music ticketing news. Limited Run’s D2F mobile app charges “a 25 cent service fee per fan.” - Ouch.

Regular readers of Fee Free Friday know just the mere mention of a any kind of fee at all can generate a maelstrom of anger. Should the new mobile D2F app not give control of fees to the band its use may be of a future concern.

Ignoring the ugly specter of ticket fees, a more pressing question is "Should the D2F dynamic be a concern to venues?"

Hybrid theory

In a post called 'Venues vs. Performers' we wrote of the sometimes contentious nature of the relationship between venues and bands when it comes to selling tickets. Our post cited a booking agent's strong opinions on pre-sale allotments and the amount of money a band makes as they sell tickets directly to fans. We also shared a few thoughts based on our years of experience:

"Allocate blocks of pre-sale tickets for distribution by sales agents or the performers themselves and be as fair and amicable about the percentages as possible. If you have accumulated historical sales data that indicates past events of a similar nature sold well, take that information in confidence to raise your percentage. If the opposite holds true or there isn't enough sales data to decide, you may consider that an opportunity to be more generous with pre-sale tickets, treating them as more of an event awareness marketing tool, rather than an outright form of revenue."

With the growing popularity of the D2F, it is important to consider a hybrid dynamic that serves all parties' best interests. Rather than strike an all-or-nothing position ("the bands sell tickets online directly to fans" or "tickets are only sold at the box office") the bands can sell directly to fans using from the total ticket inventory made available by the venue's choice in ticketing software.

At a more sophisticated level than unproven D2F mobile apps, it is possible for bands to become sales agents for their own shows with little or no knowledge by the fans of the venue's involvement. The heavy lifting of programming show dates, times, pricing, etc. is performed by the venue, who then lets the band interact directly with their fans for all tickets sales. This hybrid theory should be better suited for busy musicians that do not have the time to micro-manage software accounts, since the artistic process is likely their number one concern.

However, not all ticketing software can function in this hybrid way...

Should all bands sell tickets online?

Venue owners and independent musician can both use the ThunderTix plan for live music events. Our technology can be used in the "D2F" dynamic, of course, and it can also be used for the hybrid dynamic of "band as sales agent." Band members that are assigned sales agent status for a venue's ThunderTix account can sell tickets direct to fans and those sales will be accurately tracked as commissions.

Best of all, ThunderTix never charges you per-ticket fees or "per-fan fees." We give control of fees to you, including the option of not charging any fees at all. If you need to sell tickets to your events quickly, sign up for your free trial today to test out all the features we offer!