Pandora is going big into live events by acquiring Ticketfly

Pandora goes live.
Pandora goes live.
Image: Pandora
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Pandora, the largest internet radio platform, is trying to grab a greater share of music industry revenues with the acquisition of ticketing platform Ticketfly.

The $450 million deal, announced today (Oct. 7), expands the way Pandora connects artists with listeners by tapping into the growing live music business.

“Live music is booming, and we can grow the number of shows being staged and tickets being sold,” said Brian McAndrews, chief executive officer of  Pandora, in a statement. “By acquiring Ticketfly, we will bring live events more fully into the fold, enhancing the Pandora experience.”

North American ticket sales for major concerts were up 20% last year, reaching $6.2 billion (pdf), Pollstar estimates.

Scooping up the online ticketing service gives Pandora an additional source of revenue, which could come in handy as it dukes it out for listeners against competitors like iHeartRadio and Rhapsody, as well as on-demand music channels like Spotify and Apple Music.

Ticketfly, which competes with Ticketmaster, works with venues and promoters in North America to book artists, advertise events and, sell tickets. Last year, 16 million tickets were sold on Ticketfly, the companies said in a statement announcing the acquisition.

Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren wrote in a blog post that Pandora’s knowledge of the music industry and archive of listener data can help fill gaps in the live event space that leads to more than $1 billion in tickets going unsold every year.

Over the past year, Pandora has invested in data to sharpen its understanding of listeners. It introduced a new data system called the Artist Marketing Platform to help musicians identify popular music last year, and recently purchased the data system Next Big Sound to analyze customers’ listening habits.