StubHub Music app takes on Live Nation in concerts

Aug 06, 2014 by Ryan Nakashima
StubHub Music app takes on Live Nation in concerts
This product image provided by StubHub shows the company's StubHub Music app. The app, currently only for Apple iPhones, launched in San Francisco in June and expands to major cities nationwide Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The app scans your music library and recommends upcoming shows by your favorite artist. (AP Photo/StubHub)

StubHub, the ticket reselling subsidiary of eBay Inc., is launching its StubHub Music app nationwide as it goes after core music fans in a challenge to Live Nation in the concert business.

The app, which launched in San Francisco in June, expanded to nationwide Tuesday. The app—currently only for Apple iPhones—scans your music library and recommends upcoming shows by your favorite artists or similar ones. A radius dial allows you to set how far you're willing to travel to see a show, up to 150 miles.

In many cases, it will direct fans to StubHub to buy that are being resold. Sometimes, if the show isn't sold out, it will also direct customers to other ticket-sellers, like Brown Paper Tickets, Eventbrite, or AXS, but not always.

It doesn't have a relationship with Ticketmaster, the leader in direct ticket sales, so for those shows, it either doesn't let you know primary tickets are still available, or it will say "refer to venue website" without providing a link. That could be a problem because resold tickets usually cost more than ones you can get from the box office.

Ray Elias, StubHub's general manager of social commerce, said the goal of the app is to help users find shows, buy tickets and share with their friends, even if StubHub is not the one selling the tickets in the end. The aim is to build a relationship with music fans in part because StubHub has been known primarily for resales of tickets to sporting events.

"If they're engaging with StubHub more often, they'll buy more from StubHub," he said.

For more popular shows, tickets sell out quickly, and StubHub does 40 percent of its business within three days of an event starting, Elias said. That increases the likelihood an app user would buy from StubHub anyway, particularly because the user can get notified of events shortly before they occur.

The lack of a link to Ticketmaster events can create some hassles, though. The Associated Press got to try out the pre-release version of the app. For a Lily Allen show at the Hollywood Palladium on Oct. 10, for example, the app showed that tickets were available at StubHub for $58 and up.

However, a look at the of Ticketmaster parent Live Nation Entertainment Inc. showed primary tickets were still available for $48.35 each, including fees, alongside resale tickets going for $56.10 and up.

In a statement, Ticketmaster confirmed it was not cooperating with StubHub.

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