With DICE, Indians now can rave with Kanye West or Raghav Meattle in their own home


UK-based mobile ticketing platform DICE has found a new market in India, just as an industry for virtual concerts starts booming

Remember the last time you held a concert ticket in your hands and showed it off on social media? The pandemic has robbed us of that excitement, but UK-based mobile ticketing platform DICE is here to alleviate the sadness.

Founded in 2014, DICE is a plaform that allows one to discover and attend live events. The company has previously worked with Kanye West, Charlie XCX, A$AP Rocky and Billie Eilish among others. DICE launched in India last month; its founder-CEO Phil Hutcheon says, over video call from the UK, “We see a great amount of interest internationally for Indian musicians, and we want to tap into an important market that is also diverse. Last year, we launched in the United States and we saw a lot of traction. In a way, that readied us for more expansion.”

DICE, however, does not just want to become another social media platform where an artiste is singing at a camera and viewers are minimally engaged. Phil points out that his company has been working to create ambient productions to mimic a concert environment. “We are committed to recreating high-end production value, and this will also keep the artiste motivated and the audiences motivated because they are, after all, spending money on that ticket to enjoy the concert,” he explains, adding that ticket prices are in the artiste’s location currency.

India as a music oasis

Livestreams from India have kicked off: Raghav Meattle performed on November 15 along with Rahul Shah, Sooraj and Niyati Mehta. On December 3, Anushka Manchanda aka NUKA will be hosting a concert, and December 12 will usher in virtual festival RetroFuture 2.0. DICE claims that more than 4,000 virtual concerts have taken place globally via the platform since April 2020.

Arnav Banerjee, DICE’s India head, says the pandemic made musicians resort to social media live performances “where little to no money is made”.

“DICE helps them to turn a profit and also feel enthused during a time of no concerts,” he remarks, adding that the company would also round up venues from where the livestreams would take place. “It is a wonderful way to create jobs in these difficult times. Concert production houses have taken a hit during the pandemic, so we have to help adapt to that.”

India’s diverse market also presents DICE with opportunities to tap into genres like Carnatic and Classical, something Arnav notes “is in the pipeline”, before adding, “These genres always generate a lot of local and international interest. Right now, we are focussing on taking Indian musicians in a phased manner.”

Particularly exciting is the reach potential of live-stream concerts with high-end production value, in that fans from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities need not pay extra and travel to major metro cities for a live concert. Arnav agrees, “We have noticed the majority of ticket buyers do travel into the cities for concerts. We do not want anyone to miss out on these opportunities; we want a fair game that way.”

Behind the scenes

The company also has a strict anti-scalping policy — meaning, there is no second-hand selling of tickets. If a customer is unable to attend a concert, the ticket is merely transferred to another customer at the same price with no mark-up. “We wanted the space to be as democratic as possible and that system has earned us a lot of trust in the music industry,” Phil explains.

DICE’s app has a clean UX (user experience) relaying emphasis on the events. Its algorithm has the option to sync with Spotify or Apple Music library, so that DICE can recommend concerts and festivals for you. Phil is proud of the tech team that has leveraged this algorithm to make DICE different for every user. “We also have our team to make sure the live-streams go smoothly,” he adds, explaining that while they may not have invested in Adaptive Streaming technologies, they do make sure that production and quality checks are done before the live-stream kicks off.

So, how does DICE make a profit? “We have fees, a set commission that is typically 10%, but this can vary. The big difference with DICE is that fans see the full price upfront so there are no nasty surprises at the end, and we work hard to keep the price fair for the fans,” Phil adds.

Download DICE app here.

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