Take it from someone who’s lived through the front line saga: the past 18 months have been some of the darkest days on record for the live event industry. We’ve all had to retool, reshape, reform, and reimagine. And London’s music discovery and events ticketing platform DICE is no different. Where DICE is different, however, is on their focus on repeat fans, something that’s not only caught the attention of artists the world over, but also investors. To the tune of $122 million in a Series C round led by SoftBank Vision Fund.
We’ve all been to a live music event. And if you haven’t, stop reading this, and head over to DICE and buy some tickets. To something. Anything. For the love of all that is funky. Right now.
Right, with that out of the way, let’s get back to the sometimes unpleasant aspect of the live music event process – ticketing. Ungh. It’s not always a drag, but in the experience of this humble author, it usually involves some kind of wtf moment. Since 2014, DICE has been striving to reduce the wtf moments to nil and increase the omfg moments to full.
Employing a ‘fan-first’ model with a dramatic boost in transparency (when compared to, oh, some other ticketing platform), DICE has effectively wiped the process of scalping off the map. Score one for the fans.
Adding another plume to the hell-yes cap, DICE offers refunds on sold-out shows and a waitlist feature that has served me well in the past, giving me access to shows that I would have otherwise missed out on. Flipping the coin, the feature also ensures that venues are filled to capacity, culminating in maximising revenues, for both artists and venues. Score one for the musicians and places of worship.
To add a bit of historical context, because who doesn’t like a bit of a backstory, remember that retooling I mentioned above? Yeah, DICE did that too. With the powers that be telling us, “Stay home, save lives,” the ticketing company turned on a dime and set to work pioneering the ticketing of live streaming. To date, DICE has powered over 6,400 live streaming events, with paid streams giving artists direct access to fans (and income) from around the world.
Completing the circle, DICE’s third offer on tap is helping bands manage things. Via an exclusive partnership, Northern Irish electronic music duo Bicep grew from 300 tickets sold to over 30,000 tickets sold per event in London.
“We began working with DICE as soon as Bicep started doing live shows in London. They encouraged us to sell tickets directly to the fans on the app and to trust the data allowing us to invest in the event rather than extra marketing. We plotted out a strategy, selling out quickly, delivering exponential growth show by show,” commented band manager Oli Isaacs. “This has allowed us to stay independent and choose our partners. It has worked amazingly for the artist, our fans, partners, and label.”
And if all this goodness wasn’t enough to bring it on home (Percy via Willie Dixon, you’re welcome), existing investor and iPod inventor Tony Fadell will be joining the board at DICE as part of this round.
“The concert business is a tangled mess of archaic tools and taxing ‘industry standards’ where artists are paid last. Venues shell out for marketing and are beholden to ticket conglomerates. Fans have to hunt for shows and regularly buy overpriced tickets from secondary markets or scalpers. This doesn’t make sense,” quips Fadell. “DICE re-engineers the entire live industry, not just a part of it: Venues are connected to fans and artists. Artists get transparency, access and control. Fans easily discover local shows and global live streams, and buy scalper-safe tickets with a single click. I’m ecstatic to be joining the DICE board and to be part of another entertainment revolution.”
DICE’s Series C round was led by new investor SoftBank Vision Fund, with follow on investments from Future Shape, Blisce (which gives DICE a nice ESG focus as per the term sheet), Mirabaud Private Equity, Cassius, Evolution, and Xavier Niel.