Industry Noize: Selling Out With Goldstar

In an age of shrinking attention spans and expanding media options – and concertgoers reporting they attend fewer than three shows on average per year – one vexing question for the concert industry is how to find new audiences for shows and get those butts in seats.

Goldstar, with more than 4 million members and thousands of partners from stadiums to small clubs, has been doing that for more than a decade in primarily the areas of sports, theatre and family events.

In 2011, the company turned to the concert business in earnest – tripling its business in the first year and doubling it again in 2012, according to Goldstar CEO Jim McCarthy.

“It was the only major genre that didn’t use Goldstar a lot by then,” McCarthy told Pollstar. “The great thing about that is the concert industry is beginning to realize the benefits of Goldstar that some of the other genres have realized over the years.”

Photo: Glen DiCrocco
Goldstar CEO

Goldstar operates on a couple of levels – informing members of events they have an interest in, and selling them tickets – sometimes discounted as much as 50 percent, up to face value, depending the market demand for the ticket.

“These people sign up because they like to go out for live entertainment. Then we have relationships with thousands of venues, producers and promoters – all the different parties who are involved in marketing a show. We bring that together and create events.

“It’s not just informational; we actually sell them on our website and interconnect back to the venue to make sure they get ticketed properly,” McCarthy said.

He added that Goldstar is a very flexible system, allowing for changing ticket allocations as well as for changing ticketsellers in a given venue, which can vary from genre to genre.

Goldstar works with whatever entity is authorized to sell tickets.

“We’ve done this millions of times for events big and small all over the country. We bring all these events into one place where people can find them and buy them, and we sell them at tremendous value. It gets people who otherwise wouldn’t be going to shows out to shows, learning about shows and being there.”

Goldstar isn’t a discounter, though it often sells tickets at a discount that otherwise might go unsold.

McCarthy estimates the promoter gets about 95 percent of each ticket sold via Goldstar, as opposed to 50 percent of those sold through what he calls the “daily deal” model such as Groupon or Living Social.

Venues and ticketsellers control their inventories, and make use of online tools such as Scale Power to price tickets appropriately for larger events.

Rather than diverting regular customers away from box offices with the enticement of discounts, McCarthy says Goldstar’s members represent new audiences. “Our job is to help you sell out your venue every day,” McCarthy explained. “We help you maximize revenue and grow your audience. We have 4 million people whose sole reason for signing up for Goldstar is they want to go out for live entertainment more. That’s the only reason they are there.

“The difference between putting something out on your Twitter account is we have a very large audience that turns to us as their source of information. It’s probably a different audience than any individual venue is currently reaching.”

Members who access events – or have them pushed to their mobile devices or tablets – are able not only to check their personal calendars against what’s available coming up, but buy their tickets and discuss their events with other members.

Now, fans aren’t the only ones discussing live entertainment and sharing information via Goldstar.

The company has rolled out a new service for industry pros, too. is much like a blog, where McCarthy and others bring stories and links they find interesting to industry readers for the purpose of generating discussion and idea-sharing. “We serve a broad range of interests,” McCarthy said.

“One of the things I thought about a lot is if you talk to people in performing arts, there could be a sports marketing idea, like they do with baseball games, that’s really great for them but they might not see it. Concerts might be doing something, or struggling with something, that people in Broadway theatres are handling pretty well. So those are the kinds of ideas you want to see cross-pollinate a little bit.”

A quick scan of shows posts ranging from “how not to discount” to the secrets of successful, long-running Broadway theatricals, to how to make a venue more audience-oriented.

And bringing new audiences of people who enjoy live entertainment for an evening out is what Goldstar is all about, McCarthy says.

“We’ve got the attention of live entertainment customers looking for something to do. By not being there, it’s a lost opportunity – you’re not going to hit that customer’s radar screen if you’re not on Goldstar.”

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