Spotify Concerts is a digital concert experience partnered with Ticketmaster, providing and selling pre-sale tickets to fans through the Spotify platform. By creating a seamless purchasing experience within one ecosystem, Ticketmaster is able identify and sell tickets to real passionate fans through user's Spotify data. This collaboration also solidfies Spotify's spot in the music market by continually improving music lovers' experiences.
As the team's lead UX and interface designer, I was in charge of creating high fidelity mockups, designing user flows, implementing features and managing the team. I played a major role in the idea conception, brand research, and competitor analysis.
Among fans and artists, Ticketmaster’s reputation has become synonymous with bad service and inefficiency. The company has been plagued with various business issues concerning scalping, auto-purchasing bots, and poor customer experiences. Every year, 5 billion bots attack the Ticketmaster website to scalp tickets, which equates to a loss of $8 billion dollars in tickets re-sold on secondary sales platforms. At one point, approximately 70% of purchased tickets were completed through bots and fake accounts (Sisario, 2013) which prevented fans from going to their desired concerts or having to pay exorbitant prices to see their favorite artists.
Former CEO of Ticketmaster, Nathan Hubbard expressed how ticket brokers are also taking advantage of the existing pre-sale system (fan clubs, credit card perks, exclusive email lists) by creating fake accounts with fake names and fake addresses to steal from an even smaller subset of real hardcore fans. This epidemic has angered fans and artists alike, causing revenue losses for ticketing companies and artists.
Ticketmaster strives to put fans first. They listen to their customer’s feedback and work to improve their experience before, during, and after events. As outside designers, we found that Ticketmaster’s brand values were poorly communicated to their customers which led to high levels of dissatisfaction. In order to revive the company’s values, it was important to address the real fans - people who have great passion for the artists they follow.
Spotify believes in innovation, collaboration and passion towards music; they are driven to . A partnership would also increase brand loyalty towards Spotify, giving users more incentive to use the service by being rewarded and branded as ‘real fans’. This partnership also helps Spotify stand out from competitors like Pandora (with TicketFly) and Apple Music.
Early in 2016, Ticketmaster launched public and partner APIs to allow third-party apps to integrate its ticket discovery, purchasing, and management services directly into their app through their developer portal. Ticketmaster has been continuously exploring new partnerships with other companies to offer customers other means of purchasing tickets on various platforms.
Ticketmaster has an opportunity to tackle the scalping problem by selling tickets to real people through a verification process that leverages Spotify’s extensive data on their users. Building a new ticket purchasing feature built on top of Ticketmaster's APIs and concert listings into Spotify creates a holistic end-to-end music experience. By targeting highly passionate music fans, Spotify Concerts aims to maintain engagement from the point of purchase to the moments after an event. Through this partnership, Ticketmaster is able to promote concerts to legitimate fans while deflecting both bots and scalpers.
“Spotify looks at various indicators, like length and depth of listening, to find ‘high-passion’ fans, who...are more than five times more likely to spend money on things like concerts than the average listener.” - Jim Lucchese, CEO of The Echo Nest @ Spotify (2016)
We’ve designed a system that aims to filter out ticket scalpers and fraudulent clicks through Spotify and Facebook user metrics, in order to authenticate fans’ profiles and recognize legitimate fans. By targeting Spotify users who have a Facebook verified account AND premium subscription, we are able to reduce the likelihood of ticket scalping and auto-purchasing bot incidents.
Defining the Experience
Once we settled on our proposal, I helped map out the entire Ticketmaster ticket purchase flow from Spotify. When you tap on a concert within the Spotify app, it redirects the user to Ticketmaster's mobile website. We took screenshots of each screen of each Ticketmaster platform (desktop web, mobile web, mobile app) to understand the purchase and payment flow. I noticed that the ticket purchasing flow was inconsistent on each platform.
Next, we created a user journey framework highlighting a user's interactions with the Spotify and Ticketmaster ecosystems. We identified five main stages of the concert experience: discovery (pre-purchase), assurance (purchase), engagement (pre-concert), concert, and refelection (post-concert). We realized that our proposal could live beyond ticket purchasing and play a bigger role in defining a concert experience. Through this we identified the key painpoints where we can intervene.
Pre-purchase Stage (Discovery)
Loyal music fans are acknowledged as "Certified Fans" and notified to access exclusive pre-sales of their favourite artist within Spotify. Their ticket access is displayed at the top of the Concerts page to remind fans of their reward. Tapping on the get tickets button will push the user to the artist's concert screen.
Frictions: Concert information is currently scattered in multiple places - you would typically have to seek out these sources of information yourself, and decide which reliable source to get your ticket information from.
Positive Touchpoint: We’re bringing recommended concerts to Spotify users based on their listening habits. Spotify would be further targeting the needs of music fans by offering them a one-stop shop for their music needs by offering ticket-purchases within their platform.
Purchase Stage (Assurance)
Once users click into their early access concert, they can directly choose the ticket type and seats within the Spotify interface. They can choose through a filtered list of seats or view the floor map to make a more detailed selection. Once the user has finished selecting, they will pay through the app and receive a digital ticket.
Frictions: Currently, the Ticketmaster purchasing process is confusing and hectic - visual layout is disorganised and makes finding seats that you want difficult.
Positive Touchpoint: We’re providing a clear intuitive step-by-step flow within the Spotify platform to offer ticket-buyers a smooth purchasing experience.
Post-Purchase Stage (Assurance)
If users purchase multiple tickets, they can share them with others via their Spotify friend's list or via email. This aims to prevent resales by scalpers while enabling passionate fans to share their love of music with their friends and family. We've set a max purchase limit of 3 tickets to ensure that other fans can also purchase tickets.
Frictions: For users and Ticketmaster, sharing physical tickets is a major concern due to fraudulent/faked tickets and scams targeting unwary customers. Users have very little ways to verify the authenticity.
Positive Touchpoint: By delivering and maintaining tickets on a digital platform, it is much harder to resell. Users can only share with friends connected through Facebook, Spotify or email and transactions can be tracked.
Pre-Concert Stage (Engagement)
A week prior to the concert, Spotify will start creating custom curated playlists to hype up the user. The Spotify user can start listening to these playlists to get excited and amped up for the concert.
Frictions: There is a lack of follow-up after purchasing a ticket where some people purchase tickets months in advance and may forget about the concert.
Positive Touchpoint: We’re utilizing Spotify's smart algorithms and curation ability to create custom playlists for users to get them ready for their concert.
Post-Concert Stage (Reflection)
At the end of the concert, the digital tickets are autographed and saved as memorabilia. Certified fans will also have a badge in their profile that acknowledges their status. Users can relive the concert experience by listening to the setlist playlist, viewing social media video and images (Spotify acquired CrowdAlbum) and purchasing official concert merchandise.
Frictions: Following the event, many concert-goers feel the sense of "post-concert" syndrome where they miss the whole experience of the concert. Many users continue listening to the concert playlist and watch fancam videos.
Positive Touchpoint: By publicly identifying users as loyal fans, we can create an aspirational value and inspire more users to listen to their favorites artists.
Our proposal fits within Ticketmaster's current strategies in aiming to step up efforts to combat bots and burnish the company’s negative reputation with their customers. Concert-goers seek to buy tickets with 100% confidence, and our proposal aims to offer that with a friction-free user flow. On the other hand, Spotify is continuously looking to supplement their experience and brand with partnerships. A collaboration with Ticketmaster would benefit current Spotify users with an even more personalized music experience through concerts.
Purchasing a ticket to an event should be a fun, exciting experience that flows smoothly into the concert itself. By improving the ticket purchasing experience, the customers start off their journey with a positive experience that can be carried over to the purchased event itself. I believe that as Spotify continues to grow, they will continue collaborating with artists, vendors, and fans to create more engaging and immersive experiences that allow users to live the music they love!