It's been more than 20 years since Pearl Jam unsuccessfully sued Ticketmaster for monopolizing ticket sales. Ticketmaster is still going strong, but now the would-be Pearl Jams of today can sell tickets and merch directly to fans courtesy of CrowdSurge. Matt Jones founded the company in 2009, inspired in part by the work he did as a teen in the U.K., promoting then-unknowns like Adele, Ellie Goulding and Mumford and Sons.
"I had the epiphany that artists should be empowered to sell tickets directly to their fans," Jones says. "If fans were finding out about shows through the artist's own channels, then why couldn't they buy a ticket right there instead of going to a third-party website?" Through CrowdSurge, bands can not only keep service fees low, but also interact directly with fans in other ways like special promotions, or open votes to determine performance locations. In the process, the bands also gain valuable data and analytics. CrowdSurge reported revenues of more than $15 million last year, and has worked with acts like Paul McCartney, Kenny Chesney and Jack White.