Cutting Out The Middleman: Q&A With Tikly’s Emma Peterson

Tikly is a ticketing platform that offers lower service fees, opens revenue streams for artists/venues and places ticket-handling back in the hands of the talent and event organizers. It’s been some time since Indie-Music last checked in on Tikly, so we went straight to the source, its founder, for an update.

Following in the footsteps of ReverbNation and PledgeMusic, Tikly, named a top five start up by CNBC, is the next evolution of the artist to fan experience allowing venues and artists to cut out the middle men and allowing fans direct access to their favorite performers at a reasonable price. Working with artists like The Nadas, Steve Poltz, Bess Rogers, Dick Prall, Andy Shaw Comedy and venues like Vaudeville Mews, The Greenville Tavern, The Venue at Court Center, The Ubisububi Room as well as Event organizers like Live LIVE Music, Next Charity Concert Series, Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, United Way of Central Iowa, Cityview’s Brewfest and Bay Area Metal Festival, Tikly is helping all facets of the music industry circumvent the pitfalls of major organizations price gauging.

Welcome to Tikly

Indie-Music recently received a press release from a band called The Nadas, who organized and executed a U.S. tour using Tikly’s services. “Tikly allows us the opportunity to make sure our fans are having a good experience, something other ticketing companies have never done before,” said Mike Butterworth co-lead singer/lead guitarist of The Nadas. “Other ticketing companies that have high service fees create a barrier to entry for our fans. Tikly removes that barrier and gives fans a great reason to buy tickets and merchandise in advance.”

When we learned that Tikly’s founder, Emma Peterson, had been touring with the band we were hit with the realization that Tikly had, essentially, been road-tested into existence. And no doubt tweaked and updated to reflect the changing needs of a touring band along the way. I had the opportunity to lob some questions to Ms. Peterson, and gain some more insight into a ticketing service that is making waves (along with improvements) among artists and venue owners alike. Read the interview below.

To check out all that Tikly has to offer or to sign up, visit:

Tikly founder Emma PetersonQ&A with Emma Peterson, Founder of Tikly

Indie-Music: Can you give me a little bit of background on how you went about piecing together your business plan for Tikly, and then putting that plan into action?

Emma Peterson: For the last three years I have been touring with Iowa-based roots rockers, The Nadas. During my first year on the road, it became blaringly obvious that there was a real problem with the ticket industry. I found that not only were ticketing fees limiting the ability for fans to buy tickets in advance but those same fees, coupled with restricted access to their ticketing pages, placed artists and venue owners in a very uncomfortable position. If an artist or venue owner wished to encourage their fans/patrons to buy tickets in advance, they were met with concerns re: why fees were so excessive – something that the artist/venue owner had no control over.

So after searching for a great ticketing solution that provided a respectful, transparent fee structure in addition to customization tools for the ticket seller and having found nothing—I decided to build it. On April 17, 2011, I launched Tikly in its beta form and we’ve been placing the ticketing experience back in the hands of the people who put on the show ever since.

I-M: Specifically, what kinds of conversations were you having with venues and other artists on the road during its conception?
EP: I had a handful of very bad experiences on behalf of The Nadas before I launched Tikly. We would promote our shows with the contractually obligated ticketing service our venues would provide and we would find that our fans were being abused in the process. Fees ran anywhere from 15-50% on any given show and our fans wanted to understand why it was oftentimes more expensive to buy in advance than it was at the door.

The Nadas have an incredible community built around what they do and it was unacceptable to place our loyal fans at the mercy of overbearing ticketing companies.

These bad experiences got me wondering and so as we traveled throughout the US, I began chatting with the bands we shared the stage with and the venue owners who booked us. I found that across the board—artists, venue owners & event organizers were upset by abusive fees, contractual obligations & limited access to their ticketing experience.

I-M: What has the reaction been to the service, and what kind of growth has Tikly seen since the initial startup?
EP: The reaction to Tikly has been excellent. Touring artists, venue owners & event organizers are entrepreneurs in their own right. Tikly provides these entrepreneurs with an easy to use, cost-effective platform to sell their tickets to their fans. After all, it’s their show – they’re their tickets. We just want to help them get those tickets sold!

Since the launch of our built-from-scratch platform in February 2012, we have sold tickets in 28 states and four countries. That platform is what you see at today.

I-M: In the last several years, more venues and promoters seem to be gravitating toward e-ticket services centered on lower costs, including less overhead with printing, mailing, distributing tickets. How is Tikly different from other established services like Brown Paper Tickets and Eventbrite?
EP: Tikly is different from other ticketing companies in a few key ways—the item I am most proud of is our merchandise table feature. We allow our clients to sell merchandise alongside their tickets which results in increased revenues for the client while their fans feel like real VIPs.

In addition to our merchandise table, we also provide a transparent fee structure that requires no extra algebra to understand what the final fee associated will be. Because we pride ourselves on being the most kind, respectful ticketing service available- we gladly pay transaction costs (credit card, Dwolla) for tickets listed at less than $100.00. Finally, when it comes to fees- we allow our clients to either pay the Tikly fee or pass it along to the ticket buyer. It is a very cool thing to see a ticket price listed on a poster and have that same price be what the buyer sees upon check-out.

I-M: How critical of a role does the Facebook integration play in the account set-up, fan engagement and order processing?
EP: Our Facebook integration has been very appreciated by our clients. It is easy to turn on (three clicks & you’re live!) and we do not redirect ticket buyers away from the client’s Facebook page to complete their purchase.

I-M: What ways do you see the service evolving over the coming year?
EP: We just launched our new website interface as well as our QR code solution early this year. Within the coming year we will continue to evolve the platform to meet the needs of our clients, including tools to create shared events amongst organizations and various promoter tools.

I-M: Is Twitter integration under consideration?
EP: It is certainly under consideration—we have a lot of great friends in the startup world who are doing cool things with Twitter and payments.

I-M: What are some of the most unique or creative ways that artists and venue owners have used the service?
EP: I really enjoy when our artists use Tikly to sell tickets and merchandise for an upcoming show and then leverage the Questions portion of the platform to allow fans to make song requests or dedications. I’ve had artists build their entire set lists for an evening in this way.

Venue owners have used Tikly to incentivize their patrons to buy tickets in advance by also pre-selling drink specials.

I-M: What advice would you give a venue owner or artist regarding ticketing their shows in general?
EP: Whether you’re a band, a venue owner or an event organizer – you have a brand to manage and fans/patrons who want to go to your shows. Don’t let greedy ticketing companies misrepresent your brand and certainly don’t allow them to abuse the people who support you.

I-M: How can account users best maximize their experience using Tikly?
EP: Sign up, it takes about 25 seconds and within minutes you can have your first event live. We have put the tools to ticket sales back in your hands so explore all the features we offer and be sure to leverage the features that make best sense for you.

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