Sofar Sounds announced its acquisition of ticketing company Seated for an undisclosed amount. Seated will continue to operate as an independent company and there are no changes in management structure.
During normal years Seated provides ticketing services including direct-to-fan presale and VIP ticketing for artists like John Legend, Robert Plant, Dillon Francis and Death Cab For Cutie. During the pandemic the company has powered livestreams for Nathaniel Rateliff, Andrew Bird, Joan Baez and Best Coast and launched a Shopify integration to increase artist revenue by 35%. The company also has a tour listings platform and has developed text messaging presale signup technology.
Sofar, whose model of promoting small concerts in nontraditional venues for members of its community has spread to more than 400 cities around the world, saw synergies with Seated, particularly in both companies’ commitment to supporting independent artists.
“Seated and Sofar share a common vision of putting artists first. During this past challenging year, that’s been our primary goal: to support the independent musicians who rely on touring to connect with their fans and make a living,” Sofar Sounds CEO Jim Lucchese told Pollstar. “These musicians are why Sofar exists. I’m incredibly excited about what Sofar and Seated are building together to do more for artists, both digitally and in person when live music returns.”
A Sofar representative told Pollstar the two companies have paid out $3 million to artists in the last year. Sofar has paid out 3,000 artists for their canceled shows since the pandemic began and has since launched its Listening Room livestream series, which promotes performances from Sofar artists, earning them an average of $450 per performance. Seated similarly has paid out millions to artists since the pandemic began and has donated more than $200,00 to charities selected by artists and $20,000 directly to Plus1.org’s COVID relief fund.
“In January of 2017, John Griffin and I set out to build the future of what ticketing should be. Our bet was that in the near future, artists would want more control of their ticketing experience and a more direct connection with their fans,” Seated Co-founder and CEO David McKay said in a statement. “Today Seated is joining the team at Sofar Sounds – a huge step in our goal to help empower artists to take control of their ticketing experience and fan data. Together, we’re going to be able to do even more for artists.”
McKay formerly worked for Paradigm’s Matt Galle at Photo Finish Records. He was on the founding team of the ticketing company Applauze, which was acquired by Live Nation in 2016, after which he founded Seated with CTO John Griffin.
Artist manager Chris Tetzeli of 7S Management, which represents Nathaniel Rateliff, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dinosaur Jr., Dawes and Galactic, told Pollstar some his clients have used Seated and Sofar for years.
“For the past 4 years, our artists have relied on Seated to power ticketing for major nationwide tours and nearly a dozen sold out shows at Red Rocks,” Tetzeli told Pollstar. “Many of those same artists also relied on playing Sofar Sounds shows early on in their careers to help develop their fan base. When I first heard about this partnership, it made so much sense to me. We’re all really excited to see what new offerings Seated can now provide to our artists with the added resources from Sofar.”