M. Shadows spoke with Culture3 about Avenged Sevenfold's approach to token-gated ticketing through Ticketmaster.
“It takes people like us who are willing to go in there and take the arrows in the back,” he says, referring to the criticism that many early adopters have faced. “Just go, ‘Okay, it’s a bunch of grifters, it sucks, it’s a scam; I get it — but here’s where it’s cool. This is why you should want to be involved.”
When it comes to delivering significant value for his fans, Shadows believes that it’s necessary to partner with the major music industry players — these are the kind of partnerships that have taken The Deathbats Club perks to a new frontier in NFTs.
The partnership between Avenged Sevenfold and Ticketmaster began in an unassuming fashion, with an impromptu meeting between Shadows and Michael Rapinoe, CEO of Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation Entertainment. Live Nation had already made several investments in blockchain companies by that point, but was still looking for further opportunities to explore web3. Shadows knew just the people for it.
Shadows and Rapinoe immediately connected over their shared enthusiasm for the NFT ecosystem, and Shadows recalls how Rapinoe was “dialled in”, eager to learn what he and Avenged were working on with The Deathbats Club.
Using Ticketmaster’s crypto wallet integration, Deathbats Club members were given exclusive access to purchase discounted tickets for the band’s upcoming shows in New York City and Los Angeles. A monumental presale, the NFT-only release saw about 1,000 tickets sold, with some elated fans on Twitter showing how they were able to save hundreds of dollars on tickets.
Aside from The Deathbats Club presale, Avenged Sevenfold also rolled out a separate blockchain rewards programme called TicketPass. These Polygon NFTs were initially free-to-claim, and could also grant holders access to a token-gated ticket sale. Much like their initial Into The Ether NFTs, TicketPass provided the band with a way to expand their web3 ecosystem perks to even more fans.
In the aftermath of that meeting, Shadows met David Marcus, responsible for global music at Ticketmaster. The two began hatching a plan to transform how the band sells their tickets.
Significantly, the band has plans to let fans “tier up” their TicketPass NFTs through actions like attending shows, buying NFC-tagged merch, and listening to the band’s music on Spotify. As with all of Sevenfold’s web3 efforts, Shadows views TicketPass as an experiment in progress, but its ambitious plans point to an exciting future for blockchain-based membership clubs.
As for the band’s experience “working with the enemy”, as Shadows puts it (Ticketmaster has drawn ire in recent months over sky-high concert ticket prices), the frontman sees this partnership as a potential model for other artists to tweak in order to deliver unique experiences for their fans — not to mention giving the most dedicated ones a way to get better prices on their tickets.
“We were able to dictate everything we wanted,” Shadows explains, noting that NFTs have empowered the band to have a more equal relationship with their partners. “We are taking responsibility for ticket prices, and at the same time they’re allowing us to build tools that other artists can use however they want.”