The Bros Have Taken Over Ticketing

Wanticket’s entanglement with Eventbrite is a complex legal case but recently I had a friend explain it in very simple terms: “This whole thing is just a bunch of ticketing bros trying to do a bunch of bro deals,” he said. Sounds about right. 

If you’ve had any interaction with a ticketing salesperson in the last five years, you have seen it too – the ticketing business has been taken over by bros. There are a couple different bro types in ticketing. There’s the rock bros – guys who have been going to Phish shows since they were 17 and arranged a meet-and-greet with Springsteen for their dad’s 60th birthday.

There’s the Boiler Room bros, dudes that cold-call 50 promoters a day and secretly whisper to themselves “coffee is for closers” whenever they refill their mugs.

And then there’s the EDM bros who fly on private jets and date models, taking bromanship to a place other bros can only aspire.

Why is the Wantickets/Eventbrite mess an example of bromanship? Because the top bros at each company decided to forgo the restrictions that are normally put in place during an acquisition and instead opted to follow the bros’ Golden Rule: Don’t do your bro wrong.

That was probably a bad idea; Wanticket’s former CEO Diego Carlin and ex-president Barak Schurr are now entangled with Wantickets new owner who accuses the men of working on Eventbrite’s behalf during an attempted acquisition earlier this year. In many ways, this case speaks to how ticketing has evolved in the last decade.

With so many players in the space, the pressure to constantly sign new clients and offer upfront signing bonuses has increased dramatically. Talk to the older bros and they’ll tell you the hard sell doesn’t really work.

Ticketing is about the long view and with friendships that take years to build. The other day I was talking to a buddy that finally closed a ticketing deal he had been working on for ten years.

That’s a different level of bro-ness – one that emphasizes cultivating a long-term relationship.

Because, after all, bros aren’t exclusive to ticketing. Promoters are their own special type of bro – one that’s distrustful of outsiders and big on authenticity.

Those who succeed in ticketing over the next decade will be the bros with the most credibility.

And a healthy expense account. Promoters hate fakers, but they also hate picking up the check.

What can I say? A bro’s gotta eat too!