Turn On The Lyte: How Lyte is Improving the Live Show Ticketing Experience
In the words of Lawrence Preyer, Lyte's Chief Strategy Officer, adding insurance to your ticket isn't very "rock-n-roll." Lyte – the reservations technology platform reinventing ticketing for fans, artists, and live events – makes it easier for fans to buy and return tickets.
In a world where the words "No Refunds" can be found multiple times throughout the ticket buying experience, Lyte makes it easier for fans whose plans have changed to get their money back by putting that same ticket in the hands of another fan. The service eliminates a significant pain point of the ticketing ecosystem. Lyte aims to remove the uncertainty of ticket fraud and predatory prices from scalpers. Lyte-enabled events help fill every seat and make the experience as a whole better for fans, artists, and promoters.
What is Lyte?
We like to say that we are the e-commerce platform for live events. And what we mean by that is we're trying to bring modern e-commerce principles to event ticketing and to live event attendance. We want to make it easier for fans to get access to tickets, to let go of their tickets if life gets in the way. And long term, we want to make it easier for fans to get to, move around, transact within, and perhaps even be rewarded and surprised when they're inside the event. If we can do right by the fan, we think it does right by the business.
I read that Lyte's mission is to fill every seat. It's sad to look up from the crowd and see empty seats. I can only imagine what that does for the artist or whoever is performing.
You're picking up on something really important. When companies talk about yield management, they're talking about trying to make as much money as possible from the best seats in the house, dynamic pricing or VIP packages, things of that nature. There's nothing wrong with that, but the way we think about yield management is a full house, and you're exactly right. It's better for the talent, whether it's an artist or a sports player. It's better for the fan because it's more fun and more high-energy. It's better for the people that put up the money to make the event happen.
Lyte-powered events offer some powerful additional options and services. Can you give a brief overview?
At the very beginning of a campaign, a partner can turn on Lyte's waitlist technology so that they can make reservations. We have a demand aggregation component of our platform, which allows event producers to understand the demand profile of their audience before [tickets] even go on sale.
When the secondary component of Lyte kicks in, that's where fans who previously bought tickets can return their tickets, get a full refund, and then those tickets can go to someone else. The fan doesn't have to become an amateur ticket scalper. I don't think artists like to know that their fans are taking a risk when they buy tickets. There's all kinds of things fans get presented with. They could add insurance in their shopping cart. Sometimes a festival has a partnership with a secondary ticketing platform, but those things aren't necessarily fun or easy for the fan. I always find it funny when I'm checking out and buying tickets, and it offers me the insurance product. And I think, well, what could be less rock and roll. I just don't think it's fun or interesting to make them think about it.
One of the services that I saw is "fan groups." This is huge, as more often than not, people are attending live events in groups. Can you explain how this works?
That feature was born out of some personal experiences of our staff that led us to some consumer research. We sat down and talked to a few different panels of ticket buyers to find out what some of the pain points were in the ticket buying process.
Let's say you're going to Electric Forest and you've got a half dozen friends that you're going with. In the past, what would happen is all six people would attack the on-sale and buy whatever they could buy and figure the rest out later. Our group buying feature is meant to make it easier for fans. You can spawn a group shopping cart where everybody in a very orderly fashion can come in and say, let's get six GA tickets, one parking pass, four charging stations, and a shuttle pass. And everybody can have one ring leader who puts down their credit card, or you can enter your own credit cards. It's just a flexible way for people to plan to go to events together.
Apart from the secondary market of returned tickets, there's an intelligent on-sale where fans can pay a fee to make a reservation before tickets officially go on sale. Does this automatically guarantee them a ticket? If not, what does the fan experience look like after that?
The short answer is it depends. In most cases, it does not guarantee you a ticket explicitly. You never know if you're going to get more reservation demand than supply on the performer side. In practice, the overwhelming majority of the time, your ticket gets fulfilled. Because what you're doing is you're giving the promoter demand signal before the ticket goes on sale. You're helping the promoter plan. In the cases where there's more reservation demand than inventory available, if you've paid a reservation fee and we can't get you access to tickets, you have a bunch of choices. You can either full stop, have your money back. Or you can transfer your reservation to any future event. We're not in the business of keeping your reservation fee.
You've worked with major festivals like Coachella, BottleRock, and Life Is Beautiful. What other key events have you partnered with, and what can we be on the lookout for?
We've been very fortunate to work with the largest nationally known festivals in the last several years. But we also work with a lot of regional and genre festivals. I mentioned Electric Forest ... I'm sure your readers are more than familiar. Things like North Coast Music Festival, Baja Beach Fest, or Lost Lands, [and] all kinds of festivals from mainstream rock to pop to niche EDM festivals, jazz festivals, and even food and wine festivals. We've also worked with several hundred independent venues across the country. Increasingly, we're working directly with artist tours. So going into 2022, I think you'll see Lyte-enabled festivals continue to grow.
Apart from Lyte's services, you also run a podcast called "Spot Lyte On." What kind of content is featured?
Some episodes fit very neatly within what Lyte does day today. We talk to people from in and around the entertainment business. It was born out of something we used to do with our team internally. We called it the "Salon Series," it was something we did within our office where - for those of us who maybe were friends with artists or some of the big characters in the music business. We would have them come in and do an interview. Some people in our business get to do the fun stuff, like get to go to shows, get to work at the events, get to hang out backstage. But a big part of the company is the people that make it all happen. They're in the office doing the work. They're grinding it out. They're writing code. They're fixing things. It was an attempt to bring in a little bit of that world of fun to those people too. We did it a few times, and we thought, why wouldn't we just do this for everybody? It fits within our mission because we're about accessibility. We're about bringing the fun to as many people as possible. And some days, I'm like, this is really a stretch. Like, should I be doing this right now? But then other days, I realize, well, this is actually exactly what we do.