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Ticketmaster, which recently merged with Live Nation, dominates the multibillion-dollar ticketing industry. But these companies are looking to steal the show.

Anderson Bell says he realized the ticketing industry was broken when Ticketmaster assessed him $50 in fees for two $60 concert tickets. FanFueled, Bell's Chicago-based start-up, charges much less in fees than the big boys: from $1.50 to $9.95, depending on ticket price. And FanFueled gives back a portion of the fees in cash rewards to customers who help spread the word. The company has technology to track the ripple effect of any Twitter or Facebook post about one of its events. So far, FanFueled, which has raised $1 million in funding, has been signing deals with indie promoters. The company, which has 11 employees, had revenue of $1.8 million in 2011.

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TechCrunch

FanFueled Raises $1M, Challenges Ticketmaster and EventBrite With Referral Rewards

Ticketmaster screws artists and venues by charging big service fees that scare away customers. Chicago-based FanFueled thinks it’s time event ticketing and marketing platforms stop gauging and start adding value. That’s why it’s just raised a $1 million seed round led by Listen LLC and angel William Lohse to provide ticketing at 1/3 to a 1/4 of Ticketmaster’s service fees. It also plans to one-up Eventbrite with its referral system that lets event promoters track social sharing of ticket links and reward those driving the most sales.

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The Realtime Report

Social Event Ticketing Platform Rewards Fans for Influencing Sales

FanFueled is a new event ticketing platform that is designed to leverage the power of peer-to-peer networks and "turn fans into promoters." Even if you’re not selling tickets, you can leverage the companies engagement engine to reward fans for specific content-sharing actions. But what’s really novel is that the ticketing platform tracks the transactional impact of fan sharing–and lets fans earn rebates on their service fee if their promotional activities yield additional ticket sales. This, along with the additional rewards that fans can win by earning points for various engagement activities, leads to very high levels of sharing activity for users of the FanFueled platform. The company has worked with 200 events during its beta period. According to Founder and CEO Anderson Bell, the sharing rate for FanFueled events is 20% — 1 in 5 ticket buyers share information with their peers — which is double the sharing rate for a ticketing platform such as Eventbrite.

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TimeOut Chicago

FanFueled: A Viable Solution To The Ticketmaster Dilema

The live music industry is in a pickle - it has the opportunity to be more lucrative and consistent than album sales, but the many issues that exist with rising ticket prices, poor online ticket-sale experiences (including the ridiculously inconvenient 'convenience fees') and lackluster event promotion opportunities are still holding artists, and their fans for that matter, from realizing full potential of live music in a digital age.

The real problem, however, is that no one seems to be creating a viable alternative to the Ticketmaster/ Live Nation monster, and thus the industry continues to struggle.

FanFueled, a DIY online ticketing and marketing platform that rewards fans for helping to share the event/ sell tickets through social media seems to be taking all of the necessary actions to create just that alternative solution. I had a chance to speak to FanFueled CEO, Anderson Bell about where the company is headed, the state of the live music industry and what it will take to overcome the obstacles presented by the major players in the ticketing industry..

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TimeOut Chicago

Move over, Ticketmaster

Whether hearing a favorite band rock their number one hit, or cheering a rising football team as they score the winning touchdown, live events create fond memories among fans and artists, only to be intermittently offset by expensive ticket prices, outlandish service fees and the time-consuming nature of booking gigs and organizing events. However, new emerging websites provide clarity in place of the often-frustrating corporate conglomeration that characterizes current event booking and ticketing sites like Ticketmaster and StubHub, while shifting the power back to fans and artists.

One site, FanFueled.com, suggests its concept by the name; it's "fueled" by the "fans." Created by Georgetown graduate and Chicago native Anderson Bell, the site, which is free to join, not only promotes a collective experience gained from attending live events, it actually rewards fan loyalty by sharing its service fees.

FanFueled works with fans through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to remove the high costs of marketing spent by event planners. It then shares the money with users, while advancing event awareness and attendance. More broadly, the more a fan shares an event, the more money that fan earns.

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TimeOut Chicago

The Revolution Will Not Be Service Charged

Essentially, his site works like this: When a concertgoer purchases a ticket for an event through the website, he or she is given a URL to pass along to friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. If a second person buys a ticket through that link, the original concertgoer gets a small cut of the service fees. If the second person pastes a link that a third person uses, ticket buyers No. 1 and No. 2 get a slice. From $1.49 to $4.49, FanFueled’s service fees are a fraction of Ticketmaster’s, and the company keeps only half. The money a concertgoer earns is put into an account. Bell envisions smart tickets embedded with RFID, so that, with a touch of the ticket, those rewards can be used on beer and merch at the gig.

The sooner one buys, the more one can earn. By contrast, Live Nation, the massive concert promoter that merged with Ticketmaster in January after much-scrutinized approval from the Justice Department, discounts unsold tickets at the last minute. “That penalizes the biggest fans for buying early,” Bell says from behind his desk. “They ruined their model in training people to wait. Let’s flip this model.”

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Chicago Reader

The Ticket Service That Pays You Back

A Chicagoan guns for Ticketmaster by rewarding fans who drive sales.

A few years back Anderson Bell, then a promoter for local nightclubs like Reserve and Crescendo, tried to buy a Pearl Jam ticket through Ticketmaster. “I was on a limited budget,” he says, “and the service fees were kind of a deal breaker for me. It was something like 30 percent of the face value of the ticket. . . . It just woke me up to the fact that something is really wrong with the system.”

For many consumers, there’s no realistic way to opt out of Ticketmaster’s formidable fees except to opt out of the concerts the company services—no sensible person would show up at a Pearl Jam concert hoping to buy a ticket straight from the box office. And opting out of the show is what Bell ended up doing.

That experience was a big part of what motivated Bell, who has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Georgetown, to develop an alternative to the Ticketmaster model. In March he filed a patent for his idea (it’s still pending), and in September he launched an Internet-based ticketing service called FanFueled based on that idea.

Like Ticketmaster it’s a centralized operation that sells tickets for venues or promoters and tacks on fees to make money. But unlike Ticketmaster it sets aside half of the fees it brings in—and out of this pool of money it makes small payments to buyers, rewarding them for driving further sales by promoting the event via social networks.

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