February 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Thrillcall Is Like Groupon for Live Music; Now It Just Needs Some Deals

thrillcall ios app like grouponMost of the time, the decision to see live music takes place weeks or even months in advance. You know the routine: Talk to your friends to see who else is going, somebody throws down a credit card, and then you put the show on your calendars.

Thrillcall, which released an iOS app on Wednesday, flips that process in that the whole point is to find out about shows at the last minute. For starters, it includes the same sort of show listings available elsewhere on BandsinTown and Songkick, with a new twist: the mobile version only shows you which concerts are happening in your town that night. That’s the “Tonight’s Music” tab in the app, pictured to the right.

That’s not an incredibly original idea, though it is useful if you suddenly find yourself with a free evening. The more original aspect of Thrillcall is a GroupOn-like feature that purportedly lets you score deals on tickets.

Here’s how it works: If a venue, promoter, or band decides that they’d rather sell out a venue than leave it half empty, they can offer deals through Thrillcall designed to attract last-minute deal-seekers looking for a bargain. Fans can buy tickets from within the app, as well as getting directions to the venue.

It’s a neat idea, but there’s one big problem: As of today, there’s only one exclusive. If you’re in San Francisco — one of only two cities where the Exclusive feature is live so far (the other is Los Angeles) — you can enter a contest to win Flaming Lips tickets. That’s it. One offer. In the entire app.

That said, this is only day one. Thrillcall clearly addresses a big problem in live music: how to fill up shows that have yet to sell out. In fact, Ticketmaster told me this was one reason it wanted to buy Live Nation — to help fill empty seats when shows don’t sell out. When Ticketmaster is worried about something, you know it’s a big problem.

If Thrillcall succeeds in making deals with venues outside of San Francisco and Los Angeles (it currently plans to expand the Exclusive feature to New York and Austin), it could get big quickly. If music fans like anything, it’s the chance to get something for free — or, failing that, on the cheap.

Meanwhile, venues would rather get something for those unsold tickets rather than just leaving them in the box office — not to mention the fact that people buy beer and T-shirts when they go to shows, and they can’t do that if they’re not there.

  • Matthew

    Eliot:

    Thanks for the write-up much appreciated.

    Today
    is just a testing day for the app so a single offer is not indicative
    of the entire offering. We gave a free preview to beta users who signed
    up early. So not our official launch.

    Just wait until next week when we have shows every night.

    As for the app, what you should know about Thrillcall is that we are *not* trying to be a Groupon for tickets. In fact today’s offer is not a discount offer, it is an exclusive deal to soldout ticket through a relationship we’ve developed with Noise Pop here in SF.

    We strongly believe that the
    live music space is one that needs dynamic pricing, not discounting en
    masse.

    Discounting as a single value proposition of an app or anything
    is a practice that short changes the artist, venue, promoter, etc.Sure
    some shows you may want to do that, but the future of ticketing is
    likely to look more like a stock market for tickets with an opening
    price and a closing price and many transactions in between. Those
    different price points and transaction along the concert lifestyle are
    opportunities to market that usually are lost.
    That’s where
    we come in. By introducing unique deals–there are no other Flaming
    Lips tickets available today at cost (or free) since the show is
    soldout–Thrillcall helps the promoter, venue capitalize on their
    content.
    And for consumers we provide exclusive daily offers, providing real-time online and mobile alerts, so fans don’t miss anything.

    Would love to connect with you for a follow-up if you have the time so I can fill you in on what we’re trying to accomplish.

    Matthew

    Matt@thrillcall.com