Rosen Joins Brousseau to Expand Montreal Ticketing Company

14 Oct

Industry veteran Fred Rosen is returning to ticketing, announcing a partnership to expand Outbox Technology, a Montreal-based white-label ticketing provider.

After building Ticketmaster into the most dominant ticketing platform in the world, Rosen said he’s now ready to compete against the giant, which he added is a much different beast than the company he originally helmed.

Rosen is joining forces with Jean-Françoys Brousseau, who created Outbox in 2005 with Cirque du Soleil, the company’s first client. The Montreal Canadiens and the Bell Centre, the team’s home arena, both use Outbox, along with the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

“We think the mandate historically that Ticketmaster has fulfilled has shifted for their own reasons and choices. We believe that mandate still needs to be filled,” Brousseau said.

Rosen, who will serve as the CEO of the venture, will be based out of a newly opened L.A. office and has not announced any new hires. He said he spent five months negotiating the partnership with Brousseau before Monday’s announcement of the deal.

“The philosophy is that the Internet has disintermediated the business and venues really don’t need outlets and phones anymore,” he said. “Since everything has gravitated toward the Internet, the next logical extension would be for facilities to be in control of their own destiny, set their own service charges, determine their on sale dates and ultimately have all of the transactions done within their own websites, which will make their websites more valuable.”

Rosen said his company’s platform and the pair’s “ticketing expertise that nobody can match” will be its two main competitive advantages.

Brousseau founded Microflex and Admission Network in Canada, two companies he sold to Ticketmaster. Rosen is best known for his role as the founder and CEO of Ticketmaster, where he served from 1982 to 1998. Since leaving Ticketmaster, Rosen served in management positions at trade show organizer Key3Media, travelling carnival North American Midway Entertainment and AudienceView ticketing, a Canadian-based platform.

“Ticketmaster is not the same company I created,” Rosen said. “When Ticketmaster was created, it was a clearly on the side of the building. It was a revenue stream that the acts could not participate in, and it was clear that the arenas and facilities could hide behind Ticketmaster and vice versa.”

The merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster that was completed earlier this year changed all of that — now it’s unclear whether the company represents the best interests of the building, the artist or the promoter. Rosen called company CEO Irving Azoff the “smartest guy in the music business,” but said it’s not clear he’s on the side of the buildings.

The realignment has meant another opportunity to create a ticketing company “that’s like Switzerland,” Rosen said, later adding, “In the end, do you want someone selling your tickets whose interests aren’t the same as yours?” — Dave Brooks

Interviewed for this article: Fred Rosen and Jean-Françoys Brousseau, (514) 315-1200

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