Q+A: Adam Schiffer of CrowdSurge
Founded in 2008, the ticketing company CrowdSurge is now headquartered here in DUMBO with additional offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, São Paulo and London where it originally launched. CrowdSurge seeks to increase engagement between musicians and their fans by designing engaging ticketing campaigns and data-enhancing marketing with goal of giving artists greater control over the ticketing process. For example, CrowdSurge recently teamed up with dubstep violinist Lindsey Stirling for her 2014 tour, making it easy for her to connect with thousands of her fans. Here, DUMBO BID intern Caroline Reichert chats with Chief Operating Officer Adam Schiffer about CrowdSurge’s journey to DUMBO and how they’re changing the music industry.
What brought you to DUMBO?
Matt Jones founded the company in London in 2008 as an enabling platform for artists and content creators to sell tickets directly to their fans. In 2010, we expanded operations to the US where we’ve since worked with artists such as Paul McCartney, the xx, and Arcade Fire. In 2012, there were five of us in a small office in Manhattan in a room we were subleasing from another office. Six months later we moved into our first official office and quickly grew to fifteen people. At that point, we were expanding quickly so we began looking for other opportunities that would be a good fit for us.
A major reason why we landed in Dumbo was because of the location. We came here to be by the water and feel inspired by the view of the city, but to also be tucked away in our own space to focus and have a sense of calm every day. We had also heard good things about the area: it had a creative vibe, it was low-key, but it was still part of everything happening in New York. Since our move, we’ve grown from fifteen people to more than fifty in this office. It’s is a great corner unit with enough space for us to expand in the future. We have an environment where people can collaborate or work in different areas around the office.
You mentioned that your staff size has grown recently. How has that impacted your company culture?
We’re big believers in empowerment, so we want people to come here feeling like they’re in control of their future and their job here at CrowdSurge. If our employees want to move into other areas of the company or grow vertically within their department, we promote that. Part of empowerment is ownership of what you do every day, knowing what can be achieved and working in an environment where you can be most successful. If someone wants to work remotely, work from home, or come in late, we have the flexibility to support it. We worry about quality of work and we try to look for people who are responsible and who take ownership of their work. A key goal for us within the past year has been making sure that everyone’s individual objectives tie into the company’s strategy and vision for the year, so everyone understands what role they play. No matter what someone’s job is, whether it’s working with a particular artist or in finance, it relates back to the overall company goal.
What distinguishes CrowdSurge from other ticketing services?
The primary difference is that we are a white-label technology that empowers content owners sell tickets directly through their own channels, whether that’s their website or other channels, allowing them to completely customize the experience and own it. Fans feel like they have a more direct line of contact with the artist. In return, artists get to know their fans much better through data acquisition in addition to seeing better conversion rates for selling albums or merchandise. We think that artists, as content creators, have the best ability to reach their fan base.
Based on that model, we want to connect with their fan base wherever they exist and pull them back to the artist and build on their brand. We research who the artist is, what have they done in the past, and what are they looking to achieve in the future. Often times, when we’re working with the artist, we’ll take the actual “ticket” off the table and say, “What do you want to get out of this next tour that you’re doing? More data? More engagement on social media sites? Do you want to get a certain message across?” Once we establish that initiative, then we’ll bring integrate the tickets piece back in and say, “Why don’t we design a campaign that will enable you to do that?” And we can execute these campaigns on a global level for artists whether that means they’re playing places like Uruguay or Germany or Japan.
What advice would you have for other startups in the neighborhood?
You need to have an environment that you and your employees want to come to every day. You need to feel that you’re at home. You want your employees to feel comfortable enough to think of new ideas and feel happy to have people come over to your office. When we hold events in our office, our employees have a sense of pride and ownership. Even when you’re just starting out, try to create an environment where everyone is happy to be there.