Ticketing & Touts: Lyte Turns A Corner In 2019, Seeing Huge Growth

Lawrence Peryer
– Lawrence Peryer
With the Federal Trade Commission having just held its workshop on online ticketing June 11, all the talk of bots, scalpers and scams has no doubt left some fans wondering why they can’t simply return their tickets when, for whatever reason, they can’t use the product. 
Enter Lyte ticketing, which is having a banner 2019, just three years after Pollstar first reported on its novel approach to ticket exchange. 
At an event with which Lyte is partnered, fans can swiftly return their tickets, plus fees, at the original point of purchase. Organizers then re-sell the ticket to someone else who wants it, often fans who missed out on original tickets and were put on a waiting list. 
While fans miss out on the potential profits from re-selling a hot ticket, they get easy refunds through Lyte.
“Joe the fan is not trying to be a semi-professional ticket broker, he just wants his money back. When you want to return a sweater, they don’t tell you to sell it on eBay. When you make it easy [to return], two or three clicks, people use it,” Lawrence Peryer, Lyte’s Head of Business and Corporate Development, told Pollstar. “[The industry] has made event ticketing one of the few consumer products that you can’t return. Once you change that, people start wondering, ‘Why can’t it be this easy everywhere?’ … We get emails through helpdesk asking why they can’t return tickets to other shows.”
Lyte’s big 2019 suggests there is room for growth with waitlists and primary resale. In Q1 alone Lyte claims it matched its revenue from the entirety of 2018 (though company reps declined to reveal the official figures.) 
Additionaly, it is partnered with festivals Coachella, Stagecoach, BottleRock, Newport Folk, and Afropunk; artists like Mumford & Sons, Robert Plant, MGMT, and Wilco; venues including Echoplex and Marathon Music Works; and non-music events like All Elite Wrestling, Emerald City Comicon and Star Wars Celebration. At press time the privately-held, angel and venture-backed company was boasting 50 festival clients (up from six in 2017) and 400 venue clients, including those in a just-announced expansion of its partnership with Elevate Tickets into AEG venues.
Peryer boasted that across all of Lyte’s festival partners, it handles 60 percent of the resale activity and consistently drives down no-show rates by 1-2 percent, not an insignificant number when considering per-head spending. 
In terms of how the resale money is divvied up, the stakeholders (promoter, venue, talent, etc.) work out how to split the “lift” as part of the initial deal, before the onsale. Tickets are then resold at a price that is “higher than face value, but lower than other secondary sites,” according to Peryer, a number determined by an algorithm that monitors other websites and by stakeholders themselves, who don’t want to gouge fans.
The company works with partners to customize each experience, as new challenges are continuously coming up, Peryer said. With Coachella, for example, Peryer said Lyte had to engineer their system not only to handle the festival’s incredible volume, but also integrations with Elevate (formerly Gingerbread Shed), the ability to split tickets between weekends and to make sure each new ticket is given a unique barcode. 
Peryer said there is now enough product and tech savvy in-house now that there’s really no limit on the number of new partners Lyte can take on, and the company’s rapid expansion in 2019 is proving his point.
As Lyte’s role within the ecosystem grows, Peryer emphasizes to others in the space that “we’re not about taking tickets away from anybody, we’re about growing the pool of tickets and getting them to fans at a fair price.”