GCMAs 2021: Taking The Ticket To Ride With Oztix

Oztix are an online ticketing platform that have been connecting people with event ticketing for nearly twenty years, in the process becoming Australia’s largest independent ticketing provider.

They’ve also been a long-time proud sponsor of the GCMAs, putting their support behind the Venue Of The Year category since 2017.

To get an insight into the machinations of Oztix and how they’ve been able to navigate the perils of the pandemic, we recently had a chat with the company’s Business Development Manager, Brad Hinds.

Can you give us a rundown of the Oztix story and what it’s like to work for the company?

The business has been operating since 2003 and is Australia’s largest independent ticketing provider. The two founders have a long history of managing events such as the Gold Coast Big Day Out and the Livid Festival.

The ticketing options in the early 00’s were all about hard tickets at record stores like Sunflower Music at Pacific Fair and Rockinghorse Records in Brisbane. Promoters would drop off batches of hard tickets to each store personally and then you would need to call every day to see how many had sold. It was such a manual process.

Online ticketing at that time was only just starting to take off – so Oztix was born! And all of a sudden you could log in to see your ticket sales, as all record stores were networked up to the system and there was no more running around and physically taking tickets to stores when they ran out of allocation. The Zoo in Fortitude Valley was one of the first Oztix partners in 2003 and is still a key part of the family nearly 20 years later!

After some years of working at venues like the Troccadero in Surfers Paradise and the Coolangatta Hotel, I came on board as the company’s first Business Development Manager in 2008.

The team is very tight and are like a big family and the business model is all about doing good things with good people. Its very relationship-based and is all about getting the best outcome for clients.

How has the business been coping in light of all the uncertainty and disruptions around the pandemic, in particular last-minute event postponements?

March 2020 was a tough time with so many events instantly cancelling and it was a major piece of work to manage across the business, as never before had ticketing companies been required to refund tens of thousands of tickets and hundreds of events all at once. The administration and customer service ramifications were overwhelming and there were several weeks of confusion about whether events would proceed, reschedule with a new date or postpone indefinitely.

Even now there are events with international artists that have sold tickets but have still not announced new dates as it is still unclear on when these artists can return to the country.

As a result of the additional work around COVID-19 cancellations, many systems and processes were put in place to reduce the manual workload around refunding, rescheduling, customer notifications and managing hundreds of events. It was actually a positive that led to some automation in the ticketing platform that may not have been deployed without the impact of COVID-19.

What do you think needs to change to achieve an equitable playing field for live music in comparison to how other industries such as sports are legislated during the pandemic? 

Well, the Queensland Government and the Chief Health Officer have made it clear that sport and the arts and the relevant crowds for each are not equitable. So that isn’t going to change and as an industry we need to move on from this argument and find another way to show the health authorities that the event industry can offer safe environments for customers and workers to be a part of. This is an industry full of highly skilled event professionals who manage large crowds and millions of dollars of production budgets and infrastructure on a regular basis, so I am certain that this can happen. Legislators just need to engage more with the industry in a meaningful way.

Mass gatherings were the first activities to be stopped, so they will ultimately be the last parts of our lifestyle that will return to 100% normality. What is becoming clear from the guidelines being set by the Federal and State governments is that vaccination of a large portion of the Australian population will be necessary for us to get anywhere near to having full scale music festivals and events again. What we may see is that proof of vaccination or negative tests will be required to enter an event or business in the not-too-distant future. It’s already being rolled out in the USA and Europe. Watch this space.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s GCMAs? And have any local artists particularly caught your eye over the past 12 months?

The best thing I like about the GCMAs is catching up with other industry crew from around the Gold Coast and hearing what everyone has been up to.

Hot tips for artists to keep an eye on? US born but now GC based, Sofia Isella has brought a fresh energy to the local scene, Gaudion is a new act that is doing great things, and both Buttered, and Alex James Bowen have been releasing some excellent music and getting great vibes at their shows!

Oztix was the proud sponsor of Venue of the Year category at this year’s Gold Coast Music Awards.

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