Image: Arne List CC BY SA 2.0

Twenty-two-year-old band manager Emma Peterson founded online ticketing service Tikly to give control back to artists and event organizers, so she’s doing things a little differently. The charge is low and predictable per ticket, hovering around 10 percent depending on the cost — in contrast to hidden fees and what Tikly says can approach a 50 percent cut at established outfits like Ticketmaster.

More importantly, perhaps, is Peterson’s commitment to empowering players in the music scene. There’s also a smooth social focus, and it’s the first ticketing service to be fully integrated with Dwolla, a fellow Des Moines startup.

Tikly emerged from a profound disaffection with the ticketing industry’s status quo that Peterson picked up while she’s managed The Nadas, a folk rock quintet from Iowa (a gig she still does in her free time.)

“Spending a year on the road with The Nadas informed my choices with tikly in a huge way. As a part of a band, I got to see first hand how the ticketing industry mistreated fans while misrepresenting the bands and venues they work with daily.”

What Peterson is trying to fight, in essence, is the idea the interests of a ticketing agency need to be at odds with the goals of independent artists. Case in point is that she sees the bands she works with as a source of business inspiration.

“Touring bands are serious entrepreneurs,” Peterson said. “Fans are a band’s clients and greedy third-party ticketing companies tend to work against the fan feeling appreciated and the band feeling in control of their brand. The goal with tikly is to place the ticketing experience back in the hands of the people that put on the show, empower them to sell directly to their fans with very low fees and a well-branded sale page.”

Of course, Tikly differs from the established ticket sales industry only in degree, not kind: They still charge a fee, even if it’s significantly lower than standard practice. That’s not to say Peterson didn’t consider other revenue models — though she swiftly ruled out selling information on customers, and decided against an ad-supported model as well.

“We are really serious about the need for our clients to receive better representation of themselves via their ticketing page,” she said. “Because of this, we do not wish to drag down a ticketing page with distracting ads.”

In addition to larger events, a handful of ultra-local venues in Iowa use the service, and have adapted it to their technical resources by printing the ticket list for the evening’s door person.

So far, Tikly has been bootstrapped, but it’s starting to talk with potential investors.

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