How Cashortrade Moved 50K Phish Tix at Face Value

Fan-to-fan, face-value secondary ticketing platform has been growing, described as an AirBNB of concert tickets with more than 132,000 members, and is fielding requests to handle primary ticketing for some artists.

– Cashortrade
Founders Dusty Rich and Brando Rich

“One of the things we could pride ourselves on mostly is that we have an amazing community of real fans,” Cash Or Trade founder and CEO Brando Rich told Pollstar. “Nationwide and across the globe, they’re rising up to come together and create this movement, scoring tickets for face value or less, gaining reviews and building credibility. Because of that, we feel it is disrupting the current business model of primary ticketing.”

While many ticket exchanges exist, the main difference is that Cash Or Trade deals in only face value, matching buyers and sellers through a social network and offering complete transparency. There are no transaction fees, either. Cashortrade  handled 50,000 ticket transactions on the 13-night “Bakers Dozen” Phish run at Madison Square Garden this summer, according to Rich.

At an average ticket price of $66, that puts the face value of those tickets at more than $3.3 million. The entire Baker’s Dozen run moved 227,385 tickets and grossed $15.04 million, as reported to Pollstar.

Phish is a big part of Cash Or Trade, and was actually the inspiration for starting the ticketing service. Years ago, Rich and brother Dusty were frustrated at trying to purchase Phish reunion show tickets, and then just plain angry when checking secondary ticketing sites and seeing those same seats listed for hundreds or even thousands more.

With web designing experience, the Vermont-based concert fanatics took matters into their own hands.

“In summer 2009 we went on tour with Phish and set up a trading tent,” Rich said. “It was kind of an easy-up with a banner, and we hung up a bulletin board. It was our low-tech version. We had fans just post up a slip of paper on the board saying what they had to trade or for cash. And we promoted the website. By the end of summer, we had 5,000 members.”

“Fast forward to a handful of years later and the site had over 100,000 members,” Rich said, adding that he and his brother sold their web design business and took Cashortrade full time.

The company is growing about 2,500 new users every month and processed total of nearly $9 million in ticket transactions between members last year, according to Rich.

“We have members from every single state in the country and more than 20 countries around the globe. We’re expanding more on that every day,” Rich said. “We are still heavily in the jam-band community,” Rich said, adding that Dead & Company’s recent tour was a favorite of its users.

“And we’re looking to expand much further. We’ve had tickets for Taylor Swift, Lady GagaJustin TimberlakeBruce Springsteen and Pearl JamDave Matthews,” totaling more than 3,000 artists.

Phish No.13 @ MSG
– Phish No.13 @ MSG
Phish Completes its 13-show summer run at Madison Square Garden

Also listed are tickets for sporting events, despite sports not having an actual category on the platform yet. Rich says that 2/3 of sellers on sites like StubHub are just regular fans who can’t attend shows, leaving an under-served market of fans who would rather see their tickets go to real fans or who simply want their money back.

“Cash Or Trade provides a service that basically keeps the scalpers out of the mix and is for real fans. No other service on the planet can really guarantee that scalpers are not getting into the mix,” he said, adding that for the most part “bots are still running the game and scoring the majority of the tickets.

“We’ve had bands contact us and say we really love your platform, because of your social component, and the way you’ve set it up for sellers to choose who they sell to. It makes it very inefficient for scalpers.”

Rich added that Bassnectar blogged about the platform and endorsed Cashortrade as providing a ticketing alternative, further expanding the user base to more millennials, and says artists have inquired about selling primary tickets through the platform.

Cash Or Trade also offers a $2 per month option for fans to get expanded features and convenience such as early access to new tickets and push notifications.

The current plan focus is to handle the quick growth and to monetize new features.

“We are opening our first seed round of investment and creating a solid investment team,” Rich said. “That’s really the next step. For 2018 we look forward to raising money to get some more developers. We have plans to open up to include sports and really come out swinging.”