How Ticketing Company Lyte Found Success by Going Heavy on Ticket Flexibility
Guest Feature: Lawrence "LP" Peryer
“Just because the industry has been selling tickets online for almost 30 years doesn’t mean it has had anything like state-of-the-art ecommerce,” said Lawrence “LP” Peryer, Lyte’s Chief Strategy Officer. “If you look at what is best-in-class to other ecommerce categories compared to what consumers have to go through to buy a concert ticket, there’s no parallel there.”
And that’s where Lyte, an ecommerce company with a mission to fill every seat in the house and to bring an ecommerce experience to ticketing, finds their niche.
Lyte has relationships with festivals, tours, venues, events and most recently, artists, where their platform of products aims to deliver a better fan experience for buying and selling tickets. Additionally, they’ve built add-ons to more than a dozen primary ticketing platforms across the world that streamline the ticketing experience to make those platforms more buyer-friendly. Some of these add-ons include a reservation system before tickets go on sale, a waitlist for sold-out items, and the ability to sell tickets back to the event without going to the secondary market. Put simply, Lyte is not a primary ticketing company, rather an additive layer that makes buying and selling tickets more user-friendly.
When asked about 2020, LP was quick to say that Lyte handled all of the cancellations and postponements “with style and ease.” He laughed, then expanded, “It turns out that a platform that already makes reserving and returning tickets easy comes in handy in the midst of a pandemic.”
They worked with hundreds of events to build waitlists for rescheduled dates long before those new dates were announced. In doing so, they quickly learned that fans don’t care very much about when an event will happen, they just care about seeing their favorite artist. This revelation made it safer for events to extend refund periods and to take reservations before future dates were announced. The system requires fans to enter credit card information to get on the waitlist allowing events the flexibility that comes with commitment. Money was kept in the event’s ecosystem, and events could do right by their fans while helping themselves at the same time.
Speaking of doing right, Lyte was one of the first two companies to put up money to support NIVA, recognizing the interconnectedness of live entertainment and the need for everyone to be strong and work together to survive.
“We knew immediately that we needed to give back to the industry that helped build us. Without these people and these festivals, we all struggle, so donating to NIVA was a decision the entire Lyte team was happy to be a part of,” says LP.
Despite the myriad challenges of 2020, Lyte further invested in their products and continued to accelerate. They expanded outside of their North American footprint to Australia and New Zealand, raised $35 million in a Series B funding round, and realized their reservation system could extend beyond events and help artists get back to work.
Lyte’s partnership with Ticketspace in Australia and New Zealand happened quicker than originally planned, but was always on their road map due to its great live event market and its relative similarities to the US and Canada markets (banking laws, payment processing, English-speaking). The first joint events were held in January (Bay Dreams and Soundsplash) and generally went as expected. They don’t have boots on the ground there just yet, but there may be a need in the future. After Australia and New Zealand, LP says that expansion into the UK and Europe are likely next, but they aren’t in a rush to be everywhere. He and his team are evaluating expansion and determining which areas they want to prioritize in 2021 and 2022.
Another first occurred in February of this year when Lyte announced its first agency partner, Mint Talent Group, utilizing the concept of fan demand to route tours. Artists can put up a list of cities where they might play, fans can then pay a fee to make a reservation to see the artist in one of those cities. This act of making a reservation qualifies the demand significantly more than social or streaming data. Just because a fan follows or likes an artist, doesn’t mean they are willing to buy a ticket to see that artist. Lyte believes that once fans make a small monetary investment, they’re more likely to buy a ticket, and artists can then route their tours around cities with higher demand.
When he’s not revolutionizing the ticketing game, LP is the host of Spot Lyte On, a podcast based on the idea that everyone working in the music industry - not just those at the top - should get to experience the excitement and access that typically only executives are granted. Guests include a wide variety of artists, entrepreneurs, executives, and all of LP’s closest friends.
“It became a forum to follow some of my eclectic interests and has been very beneficial during COVID as a way to get out of my own head and focus on the stories of others,” he says.
While he balked at telling me his favorite guest, he particularly enjoys chatting with artists and taking in their points of view. He’s still chasing after his dream guest, Joni Mitchell. So Joni, if you’re reading this, hit up LP.
“Joni Mitchell represents so much to me: Her historical role in an era of music I love. Her specific musical contributions. But also her integrity and steadfastness. My dream used to be to promote Joni Mitchell at Carnegie Hall. Now it’s simply to chat with her for an hour on mic,” he says.
Looking ahead, there are five things that are becoming clear to LP:
Last summer and fall, artists and their teams were struggling to get avails and worried that there weren’t enough available stages to play. This has changed and now, the concern is that everyone is going to go on sale at the same time. With only so much wallet-share to go around, there is motivation for folks to engage with Lyte’s reservation system to secure those dollars.
Recovery will look different across different parts of the world and we need different tools to handle it. How many people can we let into shows? How do reduce no-shows for reduced capacity so venues can capture the in-venue spend? Who can we let into shows? How can we keep events safe? These things will be determined regionally and locally.
The pandemic has shown that fans need an alternative to the “no refunds, no exchanges” tradition of our industry -- Something Lyte provides.
Conscious consumption is real. People want to spend money where there is real value and with companies focused on social good. This is a new level of decision-making that we didn’t have before and will be a big part of claiming wallet-share.
Streaming and social are not always correlated to ticket demand and therefore we need a better signal for that demand.
Above all, Lyte is invested in the notion and reality of our industry as an evolving ecosystem. They want to be additive to the industry and not impinge or take away from others. Lyte strives to create something new, and if it does that well, LP believes that they will offer valuable services for the industry and all stakeholders.
About Lawrence Peryer
Lawrence “LP” Peryer has been with Lyte for two and a half years. Prior to Lyte he spent time at small and large companies, including UltraStar, a company sold to Live Nation, as well as Warner Music and Amazon. A computer science student who never practiced as an engineer, and lover of music, his 30-year career has been spent combining media and technology, leveraging, and in the service of artists and fans. In his current role as Chief Strategy Officer, he spends his time focused on what’s next for Lyte, partnerships and acquisitions, incubating new products, and exploring new verticals and territories.
Lyte is a reservations technology platform that has reimagined event ticketing for artists, venues and fans. In an industry where the standard is “no refunds,” and concert-goers have to compete with robots and brokers for the tickets they want, Lyte's mission is to fill every seat with real tickets at fair prices and make the entire experience delightful and simple.
Lyte’s technology has delivered millions of dollars in savings by enabling fans to reserve, return and exchange tickets through its proprietary risk-free reservations system. Top live entertainment brands are now leveraging Lyte's technology to confront the uncertainty created by the pandemic. As featured in Rolling Stone and Billboard, Lyte's industry-friendly solutions have been utilized by over 300 major events, festivals and artists including Coachella, Newport Folk Festival and tours with the likes of Mumford & Sons and Wilco.