Despite increased revenues and shrinking losses, Eventbrite’s weak Q1 sales forecast and slow client conversion sent stock tumbling.
On first glance, Eventbrite’s fourth quarter earnings report issued Thursday (March 7) had the strong top-line figures investors wanted to see from a publicly traded tech company nine months after going public.
The company’s revenue was up 21 percent for the quarter and net losses were down significantly over the same period last year, indicating that chief executive Julia Hartz was making progress increasing transactions and squeezing efficiencies out of the San Francisco-based middle market leader following the acquistion of Ticketfly in 2017.
But when trading on the New York Stock Exchange opened this morning, the stock plummetted 30 percent, temporarily dropping below its $24 IPO share price before inching back some ground. As of 3 p.m. EST, the stock was down about 22.5 percent with two hours of trading left in the day.
Three factors seem to be pushing the share price down — first the company had lower than expected financial projections for the first quarter of 2019 (which ends in three weeks), forecasting revenues between $80-84 million, well below the consensus target of $91 million. Second was growing losses — while Eventbrite was able to lower net losses for the quarter, losses for the year were up 66 percent despite a 45 percent increase in revenues.
Third, and perhaps most important, was news that Evenbrite had hit some “execution hurdles,” explained analyst Mark Mahaney from RBC Capital Markets, noting that the company was experiencing delays as it converted Ticketfly clients onto the Eventbrite Music platform.
“[Eventbright] is facing headwinds related to the migration of (clients) from the acquired Ticketfly platform,” explained Mahaney, who said he believed the May 2018 “cyber incident” that saw a hacker take down the Ticketfly network for a number of days had slowed efforts to move Ticketfly clients onto Eventbrite Music.
Hartz and chief financial officer Randy Befumo told investors on a earnings call Thursday that converting Ticketfly clients (Befumo calls them “creators”) had also been complicated by creator’s schedules and their complex event calendars — many creators were having trouble finding time to make the switch.
“It’s the largest acquisition we’ve done today and what we’ve learned along the way is that serving creators in the migration context just takes time,” Befumo explained. “It takes a deliberate approach because your odds of maintaining the creator and their trust are heightening if you are migrating along a timeline that makes sense for their business.”
Ticketfly’s main clients are concert promoters, venue managers and festival organizers and many didn’t have the bandwidth to make the switch in the past six months, Befumo explained. Some are busy booking and preparing their events, while some are reluctant to switch to a new platform after years of being on Ticketfly. Befumo said he recognizes that some creators might be hesistant to leave Ticketfly, but said the company has been clear that its long-term strategy has been to create a single platform.
“We could run [Ticketlfy] as a side platform and not capture any of the synergy and have better growth optics, but we believe that would fragment our development capability and dramatically reduce the rate of innovation of Eventbrite,” said Befumo, explaining this was “the most critical strategic consideration for our business.”
Timing activities “to align with the creators requires some patience,” Befumo added. “And if you have a team that you’re asking to focus on those creators, first and foremost, there are growth consequences. They just aren’t spending as much time growing the business.”
Many of Ticketfly’s largest clients still have not made the switch to Eventbrite Music. Jam Productions Chicago venues like the Riviera Theatre and Park West are still on Ticketfly, as are the three venues that make up the Mercy Lounge complex in Nashville.
Billboard did a sampling of Ticketfly clients selected from a large signing period in 2016, which Ticketfly highlighted about a year before being acquired. Of the 17 clients the company announced had joined Ticketfly in August 2016, only two — Moonfest in West Palm Beach, Florida and Many Rivers to Cross festival in Atlanta — have switched over to Eventbrite. None of the venues signed in the August 2016 roundup have switched to Eventbrite: nine are still on Ticketfly and six have either left for a different ticketing company or ceased doing business.
Venues like Seth Hurwitz’s 9:30 Club and The Anthem are also still on Ticketfly, while Brooklyn Bowl in New York and Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom still have not made the migration to Eventbrite Music. Other creators are making progress switching over — MRG, which operates a number of venues in Canada, recently completed the migration from Ticketfly to Evenbrite, executing a complex multi-venue conversion during the winter months when the live music scene is slower in Canada.
Several promoters who spoke Billboard on background said they were planning to make the switch over to Eventbrite and noted the delays stemmed from timing issues. Converting a club to a new ticketing company can means changes to booking, marketing and accounting and requires communication with fans and changes to how shows are promoted and settled.
Company officials said they felt confident that they would meet their goal of converting most of the Ticketfly clients over to Eventbrite by mid-year, with Befumo saying he was confident Eventbrite would soon deliver a “single global platform will pay off for many years to come.”
Eventbrite has also shown progress developing the international infrastructure needed to be a global platform, Hartz said, striking deals with payment processors in Latin America and Asia while investing $18 million in technology last year.
“I’m also excited to continue to lean into the durable growth that our self-sign on creates,” said Hartz, noting that the company’s non-music ticketing platform continued to show double digit growth both domestically and internationally. The company’s biggest challenge, financial reporter Andrew Sheivachman explained, is convincing investors that Evenbrite has enough runway to turn around mounting losses and accelerate conversion so that resources can be shifted to growing revenue.
“Is the bottom falling out for Eventbrite? Not really, but it needs to turn a corner soon to make investors more confident in its future,” Sheivachmann wrote at Skift. “It takes time and money to build a global platform, and it looks like Eventbrite could be running out of time.”
Country Outlaw Songwriter Billy Joe Shaver Dies at 81
He became a reliable storyteller, logging songs with Kris Kristofferson (“Good Christian Soldier”), Tom T. Hall (“Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me”), the Allman Brothers (“Sweet Mama”) and Elvis (“You Asked Me To”). When Jennings invited Shaver to Nashville to work on what became his 1973 outlaw country landmark album Honky Tonk Heroes, Shaver burst into national…
He became a reliable storyteller, logging songs with Kris Kristofferson (“Good Christian Soldier”), Tom T. Hall (“Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me”), the Allman Brothers (“Sweet Mama”) and Elvis (“You Asked Me To”). When Jennings invited Shaver to Nashville to work on what became his 1973 outlaw country landmark album Honky Tonk Heroes, Shaver burst into national prominence. He landed credits on 10 out of 11 tracks on the album that is often tagged as the first, and some say best, “outlaw” LP from a back-to-basics 1970s movement that included Willie Nelson, Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and a number of others.In 1973, he also released his Kristofferson-produced solo debut, Old Five and Dimers Like Me, which included his beloved songs “Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me” and “Georgia on a Fast Train.” Cash covered his song “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Some Day),” which he wrote after giving up drugs and alcohol. In all, Shaver released nearly 2 dozen albums on a variety of labels (MGM, Capricorn, Columbia, new West, Sugar Hill), earning a Grammy nomination for Best Southern/Country/Bluegrass Album for his 2007 effort Everybody’s Brother. His most recent release, 2014’s Long in the Tooth, was his first to chart on Billboard’s Top Country Albums tally and it featured a duet with Nelson on “Hard to Be an Outlaw.”Shaver received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting from the Americana Music Association in 2002 and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. His highest praise, however, came from the men who towered in the genre and whom he called friends. Cash once referred to Shaver as “my favorite songwriter,” and good pal Nelson said he was “definitely the best writer in Texas… Everything he writes is just poetry.”His rough-and-tumble songs often emerged from a life that had its share of tragedies and heartache, from his son Eddy’s 2000 death from a heroin overdose to the nearly fatal heart attack he suffered onstage in 2001 and a notorious incident in 2007 when a bar fight ended with Shaver shooting another man in the face; he was acquitted of the charges and turned the scuffle into the song “Wacko From Waco.”Shaver also acted in a number of films, including Secondhand Lions, The Wendell Baker Story and Bait Shop, and his song “Live Forever” was performed by his friend Robert Duvall in the Oscar-winning film Crazy Heart; Duvall cast Shaver in his 1996 movie The Apostle and produced the 2004 documentary A Portrait of Billy Joe.Check out some of Shaver’s songs below.
Janelle Monáe Leads The Revolution In Stirring ‘Turntables’ Video
YouTube “We are in the middle of a revolution right? What’s a revolution without a song and a song without a revolution.” That’s the question the Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe posed to Entertainment Weekly when describing her latest single, “Turntables.” The song was released on and flips between cleverly rapped lines about “liberation, elevation, education” and a harmonic…
“We are in the middle of a revolution right? What’s a revolution without a song and a song without a revolution.”
That’s the question the Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe posed to Entertainment Weekly when describing her latest single, “Turntables.” The song was released on and flips between cleverly rapped lines about “liberation, elevation, education” and a harmonic refrain with clear gospel influences. It’s Monáe’s take on a contemporary protest song, a call for a political sea change, in the vein of, say, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” or Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”
Courtesy of Atlantic RecordsAnd on Tuesday (September), Monáe released a moving music video — or, as she calls it, an emotion picture — that solidified that message. The visual opens and closes with the singer walking along the beach in a beige trench coat and military cap. At times, she can be seen singing into a retro microphone before an American flag; in others, she moves through staged breakfast scenes, with a family reading through newspaper headlines as they mouth her lyrics. The visual flashes through archival and contemporary footage depicting inspirational figures past and present: Where one scene shows the model and activist Jillian Mercado at a photo shoot, another depicts a conversation with lifelong activist Angela Davis.
What rings true without is a hopeful cry for change and for equality, and a recognition of those who have been leading that fight for decades. Monáe wrote “Turntables” for the new Amazon Studios documentary, All In: The Fight for Democracy, that shines a light on voter suppression, particularly through the lens of Stacey Abrams’s failed bid for the Georgia governorship. “Right now, I am focused on turning the election in our favor,” Monáe told Entertainment Weekly, “and I hope this song can inspire those who are on the ground doing the work.”
Joe Keery’s Reinvention, Mxmtoon’s Carly Rae Jepsen Collab, And More Songs We Love
Getty Images/April Blum The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new? Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by…
Getty Images/April Blum
The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?
Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by genre and can include anything — it’s a snapshot of what’s on our minds and what sounds good. We’ll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.
St. Vincent ft. Yoshiki: “New York”
St. Vincent, the intuitive musical goddess that she is, must have sensed our collective need for another quarantine ballad. Enter “New York [Feat. Yoshiki],” a classical arrangement of the standout single from 2017’s Masseduction. An added string section courtesy of Yoshiki, a Japanese multi-instrumentalist, beautifully complements the song’s original piano instrumentals. What more can I say? “New York isn’t New York / Without you, love” just hits different in the middle of a pandemic. —Sam Manzella
Djo: “Keep Your Head Up”
Last year, Joe Keery (of Stranger Things fame) released a glossy solo album under the moniker Djo. It was titled Twenty Twenty, and its sparkling arrangements ended up being quite far removed from the overall vibe of 2020 the year, but who could fault him for his optimism? Keery has also long been a contributing member of Chicago psych band Post Animal, but Djo is simply Joe — and latest “Keep Your Head Up” feels like several Joes ripping open a vortex in the funk-time continuum. This is a groove, peppered with buzzy synths and icy falsetto and an honest-to-god sax part. It’s akin to Todd Terje doing Tame Impala, a lightheaded cocktail rush that feels both clubby and bedroom ambitious. Positively galactic. —Patrick Hosken
Mxmtoon ft. Carly Rae Jepsen: “OK On Your Own”
When Mxmtoon’s Maia said she recorded “OK On Your Own” for the girls and the gays, she wasn’t kidding. The mellow bedroom-pop bop soundtracks a journey of self-reflection after a breakup, complete with the soft ukulele instrumentals that put the 19-year-old singer-songwriter on the map. Is it revelatory? No, but with pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen lending her sugary-sweet vocals to the second verse, it doesn’t have to be. Now I’m just waiting for “Party for Two.” —Sam Manzella
Video Age: “Aerostar”
Pleasure Line, the third album from emerging indie pop quartet Video Age, delivers perfectly escapist ’80s new wave vibes for when you need to get outta 2020 for just a moment. “Aerostar” is its punchy center, a hip-twisting, shoulder-shuffling groove that delivers quirky robot dance commands (“Slide to the left, now! Shimmy to the right!”) over hoppin’ funk synths and a kickin’ drum machine. It all harkens to a simpler time, one where dance floors were actually a real thing. Oh, the ’80s! —Terron Moore
Ruel: “As Long As You Care”
About a year ago, Australian middle-part heartthrob Ruel told MTV News that for him, “songwriting is exaggerating to an extent.” On his latest, the technicolor, soulful “As Long As You Care,” his exaggeration is so seamless, you’d be forgiven for believing the 17-year-old is actually a time traveler. The neo-soul groove he rides propels everything upward, even as the sound cheekily looks backward. “As Long As You Care” has one amazing hook, coupled with sonic candy that makes his upcoming third EP, Bright Lights, Red Eyes (out October 23) one to watch. —Patrick Hosken
Alycia Bella ft. Boogie: “Cue the Sun”
Something magical happens two-and-a-half minutes into “Cue the Sun,” the exploratory new collab between striking R&B voice Alycia Bella and rapper Boogie. After piping in the aural equivalent of stage smoke via jazzy piano and gorgeous vocalizations — “It feel like being lost in the right direction” — Bella’s song enters a more sparkly realm for Boogie’s recitations. By the end, you’re lighter, like your mind’s been cleared of all the cobwebs. Cue the sun. —Patrick Hosken
Carly Rae Jepsen