The Weekly (5/26)

Friday, May 26th 2023


If we told you that the cheapest ticket at Metlife Stadium this weekend was ~$1,800, you might think the Super Bowl was being played in May. But you’d be wrong – Taylor Swift’s famed Eras Tour is coming to town. Selling 2.4 million tickets virtually instantly, Taylor Swift broke the record for the most concert tickets sold by an artist in a single day for her 52-show, 20-city tour.

Fan of her music or not, there’s no denying that she’s an economic force to be reckoned with. Rumors circulate that she’ll net between $500 million and $1 billion, but we have a hunch that if changes were to be made in the secondary ticket market, her take-home could be 5x higher.

Just as a company goes public via an IPO, releasing a finite number of shares for investors to buy, tickets for a concert are initially released on the primary market. When the primary market can no longer satiate the demand, tickets, like shares post-IPO, find their way into the secondary market. 

Here, platforms like StubHub start to look a lot like the New York Stock Exchanges as ticket prices are governed by pure supply and demand. 

Let’s play out an example: You happen to be lucky enough to buy a ticket on Ticketmaster (the primary market) for $200. All of the sudden, your best friend gets engaged (a bit selfish on Memorial Day weekend) and you have to skip the show. In turn, you sell your ticket on Stubhub for $1,400, pay a fee, and net about $1,000 in profit. (StubHub fees are a topic for another day).

Do you really deserve to be the primary beneficiary of the insane demand for a ticket? Shouldn’t Taylor get some/all of that? There may be a way to fix this: insert NFTs.

No, not $300,000 Bored Apes or CryptoPunks but the practical, tangible application of NFTs to the ticketing industry. Artists could issue NFT tickets instead of traditional paper or digital ones. Each NFT ticket, uniquely coded and stored on the blockchain, would represent entry for one to the event. 

And here's the real game-changer: artists can set the terms of these transactions. Via a programmable feature of blockchain called smart contracts, artists could capture a percentage of any secondary sale. For instance, if that $200 ticket you bought gets resold on a platform for $1,400, a (large) portion of that markup could automatically reroute back to the artist.

In an industry where most revenue now comes from live performances, not album sales, NFTs could offer artists a new way to monetize their popularity and assert some control over the secondary market—sorry, scalpers.

For now though, we’re just hoping the prices fall a bit more before Saturday night.

Have a great long weekend.

–Your Titan Team

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