Today, Amazon launched its new Amazon Home Services product, with a huge banner placement and video on its homepage. Amazon Home Services allows people to enter their zip code, and search for service providers such as electricians, home theater installers, or just “odd jobs” around the house (all in direct competition with Yelp, and somewhat in competition with listing services such as Angie’s List). All quite uninteresting to the arts, until a deeper search of the offerings reveals arts-based services such as voice lessons, violin lessons, and guitar lessons. There are also options to “Hire A Singer,” as well as the strangely specific “Hire a Silk Aerialist“. While the former are educational experiences, the latter are clearly performances.

Once you pick the service, you are asked to select from vendors for, say, TV installation, based on price and star rating. I loaded that link into three browsers, two logged into Amazon, and one not, and got prices for the same service as the first choice ranging from $145 to $199. Amazon seems to be experimenting with dynamic pricing as it does on its books and other products, selling it via algorithm to optimize the price. (You can see this by using a service such as thetracktor.com to track Amazon prices as they fluctuate on products. For example, this toy plane).

Amazon has already become involved with other arts-based services, such as its Amazon Artists Stores, and this strange page that mentions that concert tickets can be bought via Amazon’s partner, RazorGator (but the link doesn’t work). As of mid-2013, Amazon’s Internet Movie Database (IMDB) app also allows people to purchase tickets to movies through a partnership with Fandango. While these purchasing options are mostly via partners, Amazon sells just about everything else, and the launch of Amazon Home Services moves it one step closer to full-on event ticketing.

So, let’s explore what an Amazon-based ticketing service might look like.

  • Users would be buying tickets from a system they know and trust. That’s a benefit for everybody.
  • Amazon Prime members would likely be able to purchase tickets with no service fees, or have them physically mailed for no service fees.
  • Amazon already sells deals and items locally via Amazon Local.
  • Amazon would likely provide an app for service providers (cultural organizations) to check people into the venue.
  • Amazon already has an incredible review system that would easily accommodate a theater or dance performance review.
  • Cultural organizations would benefit from Amazon’s built-in dynamic-pricing algorithm, selling the ticket for the most it could get for it based on demand.
  • Amazon would provide visibility and exposure to cultural events to Amazon customers — a valuable marketing benefit.

Tickets are emotional purchases, and Amazon is an expert selling platform. Based on these points, I believe it is only a matter of time until Amazon disrupts ticketing by applying its selling system to cultural experiences. How would you feel about Amazon getting into the ticketing business and selling tickets for your cultural organization?

UPDATE — We have now confirmed that Amazon Local has begun selling tickets to West End shows. A sample of an Amazon Local ticket purchase page for “The Commitments” shows an interesting feature gathering preference data, asking the user to click either “like”, “neutral”, or “dislike” and then storing these data along with the user’s record on Amazon. Amazon claims that all West End shows are available on Amazon Local, and we have put the word out to see if we can get more information from show producers or an attendee to the service. Given the launch of Amazon Local arts ticketing in the U.K., a U.S. launch for Broadway seems inevitable.