Today we are talking about Dice, an app born in the UK in 2014 that aims to revolutionize ticketing through a complete dematerialization of the ticket.
In fact, everything will be managed through an app, no more paper tickets, but they are a QR code.
Today we talk about it with Giorgio Riccitelli, the Head of Music of Dice in Italy.
Let’s start with the first question who is Giorgio Riccitelli, where does he come from as an experience and how did he become the Italian manager of the DICE platform.
My story began about 15 years ago in Rome when I worked as a press office manager. I developed my business as a promoter around a historic venue, the “Circolo degli Artisti” which now no longer exists, organizing tours and concerts by foreign artists in all Italy.
I subsequently had my experience with a multinational company, and for 5 years, I worked with Live Nation.
Then I went back and became independent, and I founded my own booking agency called Radar Concerti. During my business, where I brought world-famous foreign artists of the new Pop to Italy such as The XX, Bonopo, MGMT, I met several music professionals in England and London, in particular, the Head of Music of Dice Global Andrew Loggin, with whom I have deepened the relationship.
After spreading very well in England, France, and the United States, the Dice management team decided to develop in Southern Europe and then in Spain and Italy. So I organized a minitour in Milan to present Italy’s situation and in Milan in particular in the Music Venues and concerts.
I then realized that I could have been the right person to represent DICE and their producer in Italy. They were delighted to have a promoter with my experience who could promote them in the Italian jungle of music.
So a collaboration that has lasted for a year was born, from September 2019 when we launched the first FKA Twigs concert in Milan and it has never stopped
5 people now work in the Milan office while I am based in Rome.
Now Dice has developed throughout Italy in just one year.
Based on your experience, can you explain what it is and how does it work?
The strength of Dice is that those who created it have a completely opposite point of view concerning the ticketing services we know.
They are first and foremost people of music who are born and live on music as managers, promoters, label managers, who have decided to create this startup to fill that gap that normal Ticketing still have, and therefore to absolutely put the Fan at the centre of the experience, and don’t squeeze it seamlessly.
The goal is to create a platform where tickets are sold, but above all, where an experience is created, fans connect, new music is discovered, and a real community is created.
This is Dice’s secret, but the basis is absolute transparency and respect for the fan in an ethical relationship.
This is another sore point of the normal traditional ticketing services that we were used to, which I was used to until a couple of years ago.
So the main points of Dice can be summarized in absolute transparency, in the real fight against secondary Ticketing and with a look at modernity and the green: in fact, we are talking about completely digital tickets, instead of showing up at the concert counter with printed tickets, an aspect that in 2020 it is absolutely obsolete.
So I repeat the strength is precisely this: to be born from a group of people passionate about music, professionals in the sector who have completely revolutionized the way of thinking about Ticketing.
Basically a musician, or a band who want to use Dice, to organize one or more concerts, what should they do?
This is an aspect that immediately emerged in the UK and is also happening here, where the promoters and the artists directly contact us because they embrace the fan-centric and artist-centric vision of Dice and are also fed up with having to undergo unfair clauses from normal ticketing services.
Once they discover Dice, and this thing is happening very quickly, the promoters and artists contact us, and we evaluate the collaboration according to the type of proposal.
Behind Dice, and this is precisely the job that falls to me as an Italian manager, there is a great deal of research for collaborations.
We do not only receive proposals because otherwise, but we would also be like other ticketing services, even if any partner-customer can contact us.
This does not mean that we are an elitist platform, but we do a great job of scouting in search of the right partners who are in line with our artistic vision.
So you will never find trashy club nights or events that are not in line with Dice‘s strategy.
This is precisely because the international fan when he downloads the app, such as an Englishman when he comes to Milan, or a Spaniard who goes to Paris, knows he will find the best concerts and events related to his taste on the app.
The discovery function is powerful, and is one thing that makes us more successful.
The fan opens Dice and evaluates what to do in the evening and has the opportunity to discover many events and a lot of new music that maybe they didn’t know before.
But specifically, what should the artist do?
The artist contacts us, and we quickly evaluate the proposal, and if it is in line with our line, it is uploaded to the platform.
Here too, it is totally different than the others.
In contrast, the other ticketing the feeling seems to be all complicated in the relationship, especially in the assistance, the promoter and the artist who choose Dice to have a direct relationship with 24-hour assistance.
Even when I was on the other side as a Promoter I could not understand the speed, for example in an hour I immediately received the answer and the link to activate a presale and sell the tickets. In contrast, this is not the case with the other ticketing services.
In 2020 with the Covid pandemic outbreak, the world of live music has suffered a tough blow. Still, as often happens in difficult conditions, new opportunities arise, and live-streaming events seem to be the only antidote at this stage, to overcome this moment. Still, this formula’s potential actually seems to have a much broader perspective soon as well. How Dice.tv fits into this scenario as it integrates into your ticketing platform project?
It was something we developed in record time precisely because of the pandemic.
Dice.Tv was created to provide a timely response to a market need and request for streaming events when events with an audience were not possible.
Obviously, it is not the usual platform that offers streaming events, but bringing together in a single App can sell live event tickets and virtual show tickets.
This formula was an immediate success.
Being a platform born in the UK but of worldwide use, it has allowed us to sell access to streaming events without constraints and territorial limits.
Therefore, publishing a virtual event on the platform will probably allow me to gather audiences from all over the world from New York, Tokyo, or Cape Town.
Obviously, it has been an ongoing and ongoing process.
There is a greater predisposition for news and a better predisposition to pay a ticket to watch a streaming show.
During the lockdown in Italy, we had an overdose of content, even a little low quality on the various social channels, of various artists who did their performances for free.
This slowed down the development process related to ticketing a few online events.
But with the extension of the lockdown, after a summer break where it was also possible to organize events with the public with all the limitations imposed and with the sale of tickets, we are noticing especially in the last weeks of a new trend and also a return to Italy of some Big Musicians who have decided to produce some streaming events.
They too, are beginning to understand that it is not an alternative. Still, a possible integration to the concert as we are used to seeing it, which we will also carry on once this period of the pandemic is over, and everything will return to normal.
Let’s try to imagine a soldout concert of a band X that makes a unique date in Milan, I was a promoter after I have sold my tickets, I can easily open to streaming for 5 euros or 10 euros, and I am convinced that several people would buy it, with the possibility of seeing it from home with the smart TV with a nice Dolby surround system from Palermo, Catania or Bari, since in any case, perhaps at that date they would not have been able to come to attend the live concert.
We are still in an intermediate evolutionary phase where we are in lockdown, and the premises are closed.
Still, interesting scenarios are opening up for hybrid events with an audience in the hall even if limited and an online audience from home.
Obviously producing a show with a quality live stream doesn’t come cheap.
Like all things, in the beginning, they have a certain cost and then with time they align with the market many companies are specializing in the production of streaming content. In a moment like this having to work, they tend to propose co-productions where they earn a percentage together with the promoter himself, without imposing fixed costs.
So for an artist or a band they can use dice.tv as a channel? How do you manage copyright?
Dice.tv is not a streaming platform, and we always need an external link which can be Youtube or Vimeo.
Our strength lies in the protection of the link that our development team is working on to protect it, to encrypt it, and to be able to embed it in the password management and thus protect access by selling a ticket.
The problem of rights is linked to the platform of use such as Youtube. Therefore it is an external problem to our process, while our main activity and focus are to create, protect and sell the ticket as an access system to the concert or to the event on an international platform, with the possibility of selling abroad.
Even for a club, a music venue, what perspective is there with dice.tv? I ask you because I know several club owners who are thinking about how to transfer their concert schedule on a platform to continue with live streaming events, but they don’t know how to move and where to land. What would you recommend to do?
We are working a lot with the locals to support them through consultancy, to make even the most sceptical of the possibilities understand.
Even if the premises are closed now, we are still trying to reason with them and understand the importance of collaborating.
We are working exclusively with venues to look forward to offering both the ability to sell access to the live concert and the streaming concert.
We are now trying to support the venues with exclusive three-year agreements to support them both on live and streaming events.
Many of the Italian clubs have already formed exclusive agreements with us.
But big platforms like Facebook – Twitch and YouTube are opening up to music with various solutions just for musicians who want to create their own events and raise funds and offer integrated ticketing solutions. As you can see the relationship with these giants for the music sector and for players like DICE.FM
Dice is a platform that connects fans, and with all the big names we are closing global agreements, so in the coming months what has been experienced in this period will be contracted.
So our relationship with them is one of collaboration and partnership.
I don’t see competition but collaboration.
How does three-dimensional QR code work?
QrCode is one of the crucial points to combat secondary ticketing.
The Dice development team worked on it a long time to protect the digital ticket and avoid a parallel market for it.
When the user purchases the ticket, he does not receive the digital ticket but a notification on his smartphone.
The QR Code you mentioned is received on the smartphone only 2 hours before the event.
Therefore, the ticket is not there, but there is a QR Code, and moreover, it is three-dimensional.
It is impossible to take a screenshot to avoid reselling speech, which is a very negative practise for both promoters and artists.
We have also introduced the waiting list on Dice which allows the user perhaps unable to attend at the last moment, to be able to offer it to users on the waiting list, up to 2 hours before the start of the event.
So Dice also allows the ticket’s replacement, and it is a very positive thing in terms of experience both for those who can access the concert on the waiting list and for those who cannot participate.
For the organizer, it is an exceptional tool that allows the promoter to check the sales trend in real-time, and based on the numbers on the waiting list, I can decide to replicate the event itself.
How is it working? How is the turnover?
Dice before the lockdown was going strong and like Dice Italy, after the US and UK, which are the main markets, we were aligned with France.
With the lockdown, there was a real Tsunami that obviously affected us too, let’s say that the streaming events had a good response too, even if the first events were free and therefore without revenues.
In the summer, despite the dramatic situation, Dice was very present in almost all the events that could be realized.
Let’s say that obviously, we are all waiting for the market to recover because without concerts no tickets are sold.
But we are sowing a lot because we were on the launch pad before the pandemic.
Now we are waiting for the premises to reopen and reactivate for the festivals.
Where is the Dice platform most widespread?
The headquarter is in the UK and London, which, together with the American market, are the most important markets where impressive numbers are made in sales.
Obviously, in the Anglo-Saxon culture, there is a greater predisposition to the use of new technologies.
When I started on the Italian market too, having to go completely from selling paper tickets to electronic tickets only via smartphone, it was clear that it was difficult.
But the first big concert at the Fabrique in Milan with FKA Twigs in November last year actually sold out everything on Dice: 3,000 tickets sold all on Dice and managed via smartphone, and there was no problem, and the amazing thing that the Milan date of the world tour was the only one not available on Viagogo because it was sold all on Dice and this was fantastic, it was a great spot.
In Italy, for example, what kind of events can be found on the App? are there also unconventional events such as meetings and performances from home?
Absolutely yes. Indeed, in the first lockdown period, there were cooking events, yoga classes, all quality events, we mean, such as talks like that of Luca de Gennaro who met the artists.
Of course, the Dice platform was born mainly on music but for example this summer we also managed cinema events, and we are also open to other areas.
In Italy, we have just started, but in the UK, for example, there is a very varied and vibrant content schedule.
But is it possible to access the concert catalogue also in on-demand mode? And what is the access price for this formula?
Look at this moment not by choice in the sense that you see the event only when it is scheduled, as an event. For VOD (Video on Demand), there are other platforms.
What is the vision of music’s future, starting from this great transformation scenario?
We are writing the future of music day by day, and we are experiencing the changes firsthand.
Professionals like us realize why the entire world entertainment and music scenario is being redesigned from large multinationals to the independent market.
The change has just begun, and in 2021 there will still be one year of adjustment and then proceed in 2022, but it is the entertainment market as we knew it before it will hardly return and I do not think it is a terrible thing.
Obviously, many realities will disappear, others will downsize.
At the same time, those who are used to being transversal starting from the bottom, who will invest creatively in change, will probably have more chances to survive, those who will stand still without acting will have more difficulty starting again.
It is important to try to do something sustainable.
However, there will be a major reset in music, and I hope this change will allow us to return to a certain type of professional ethics.
It was a good chat, and we will certainly hear from you in the coming months to understand how the music industry is changing.