Mobile concerts apps vie for your credit card love and attention — what's next? And why should we care?
The seeding of WillCall started while Dinch was living in Seattle a few years back and working on package design while learning "how to get good at making things on the Internet." He was sitting at his friend and now co-founder Julian Tescher's kitchen table listening KEXP when the Shout Out Louds came in the studio to play songs live. The band's Seattle show was that night, and Dinch, a big fan, had no idea. Bring in Julian's developer brother Patrick, along with an initial Silicon Valley investment of $50,000 from early-stage seed fund and incubator program 500 Start-ups, and ship the whole crew down to SF in 2011.
It since has expanded to seven full-time staffers, including chief communications officer K. Tighe, who is sitting next to Dinch at Dear Mom. The company also initially included well-known local promoter Steve Brodsky, who sadly died of cancer earlier this year. And after WillCall announced its version 2.0 last month, it also announced another round of funding, to the tune of $1.2 million in investments from the likes of Facebook and Spotify investor and fancy wedding-haver Sean Parker, and band manager Coran Capshaw.
Thrillcall, meanwhile, was first a concert listings and ticketing website, which began in 2008. "As the industry changed, and obviously everybody uses some sort of mobile device, but the ability to find that stuff through mobile devices is prehistoric compared to the web. So that's where we moved the business because that's where people are going," Tomaszewicz says. Before that Tomaszewicz helped develop the first surfing app for Surfline.com. Thrillcall's app launched with a bang at 2012's Noise Pop festival, a sure in with the local indie pop community.
Both companies claim to be active and deeply connected to the local music communities, and for WillCall a lot of that credibility came from the connection to Brodsky.
Currently, WillCall is in San Francisco and last month launched in New York. Thrillcall is in SF, New York (where Tomaszewicz grew up), LA, and Chicago. Both are hoping to expand to other major national and even international cities within the year.
This is the million dollar question; why use any concert ticket apps on your phone, instead of going to the venue website or Ticketmaster, Ticketfly, etc. as you've been doing since the days of waiting in line at Tower Records?
Well, first of all there's the ease. Tap the app open then tap to purchase tickets to a (possibly) supercool show in seconds. (Your credit card info is already there, they have your email address, and your friends are alerted to your ticket purchase if you so desire.) It's fast, simple, and honestly, kind of fun. Though let's just hope the shows available are bands you want to see.
Herein lies another possible problem, which is that the shows that are chosen, or "curated," by the fine people at these companies might not be the right option for you, personally. Currently, WillCall lists a few shows through its app, and you have the option of going, but what if you don't like said bands? At press time, the offerings were Monterey's First City Festival, Sex Panther at Vessel, Paper Diamonds and Roach Gigz at 1015 Folsom, and Bells Atlas at Brick and Mortar Music Hall, among a few scattered others.
Maybe hop over to Thrillcall. While this app also only offers direct purchase to a handful of shows, many more are listed in a full calendar, and they'll send you to a third-party ticketer if you click. At press time, Thrillcall's exclusive is also, interestingly, Bells Altas at Brick and Mortar Music Hall, along with Bootie SF at DNA Lounge, and Rich Medina at New Parish. Perhaps there's something there worth checking out, maybe not.