Russ Tannen is President of DICE, a UK- and now NYC-based mobile ticketing, live streaming, and live music recommendation platform that partners directly with venues, labels, and promoters to bring upfront pricing to live music fans (no fees are added at checkout, so the price you see at first is the price you get).
Before rising through the ranks at DICE, Russ spent many years as an artist manager at Deadly Management during — and after — his time as an Events Manager at Vice Media. Before that, Russ studied Photography at the University for the Creative Arts in the UK.
On this episode, we chat with Russ about how the DICE platform is helping independent music venues, artists, and fans as live music comes back to many major cities.
In 2014, Phil Hutcheon founded DICE in London with an obsessive vision: Disrupt live music by making the ticketing experience more enjoyable.
We wanted to create a completely different way of thinking about both event discovery and ticketing that was going to be much, much more artist and fan friendly. We kind of differentiated ourselves straight away in the market by having the full price of the ticket displayed up front, the tickets that you can't resell onto the secondary market to eliminate reselling, thinking about how the experience of buying the ticket actually is ... so the actual experience of buying a ticket isn't this horrible thing.
DICE were well on their way to making that happen when the pandemic hit. However, rather than a pause in live shows stunting the company's growth, the hiatus seemed to encourage independent venues to reassess their ticketing options and recognize the value in switching to DICE, according to Russ.
Venues only make a decision to choose a ticketing partner maybe 2-3x a decade, so the deals are 3-5 years long, typically. Normally, when people make those decisions, they make the decision while they're also in the middle of running events every night.... During the pandemic, I think a lot of venues had more time to consider what the best option was for their customers.
Anything that helps independent venues will ultimately help the independent artists that are playing in those venues, and now that tours are rolling through major cities and fans are getting more and more comfortable attending indoor live shows, there's upside for all parties involved in live music: venues, artists, and fans.
Everyone can't wait to get back out, and we're here to help facilitate that and make that the best experience that they've ever had for discovering these events and buying the tickets and going to the show and getting in and having those moments and those memories. That's what we're trying to do.