With subscription business models dominating more and more markets, the ability to offer as much of anything as possible has become a necessity. Netflix, Spotify, MoviePass — these and similar companies have given the public a chance to explore massive amounts of end products within their respective mediums. Now consider this same line of service in the live entertainment industry. That's the concept behind the Atlanta-based company INWEGO, which debuts Oct. 11 in Dallas.
INWEGO is a ticket subscription app and service that allows subscribers to attend an unlimited amount of events in their city for a $39 monthly fee with no additional charges. Each subscriber gets one ticket per concert, sports game or other local event. In addition, guest passes will be available for purchase through the app if a friend wants to tag along. On a side note, Dallas Observer’s Tacolandia will be one of the first events offered when the app launches.
The company started in 2016 as a sports-only model but was quick to include concerts, festivals and comedy shows as it developed from a bigger entertainment company based in Atlanta called Experience. Chris LeCraw, INWEGO general manager, explains how the concept for the service originated.
“Myself and the team behind INWEGO have been in the entertainment and sports industry for several years now,” he says via phone. “We’re excited about how the industry is transforming and how ticketing is going more mobile. We were looking for a way to try to be a part of that transformation but also to do so in a way that is new and innovative. We looked around and found that you can almost get anything via a subscription or membership model these days. We realized, ‘Hey, there’s this gap in the sports and live entertainment space around this type of subscription model.’ Before INWEGO, there wasn't something that existed in the ticketing space.”
From that drive to advance the live entertainment market, a mission arose to provide an easier way to discover and attend events within a given city. Once the company found success in its hometown, it branched out to Phoenix, then Denver, then D.C., and now Dallas. The INWEGO team has been careful about where and how it expands. LeCraw notes that their thoughtful and intentional approach to location led them to choose Dallas as their next addition.
“Dallas has always been on our short list of cities because we really want to continue to grow the product in markets that have a lot of people that are excited to try new things — and Dallas fits that bill easily,” he says. “You look at Dallas and it's not just Dallas; it's the whole Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area. There's so much stuff. We thought Dallas was the perfect fit to continue to grow the product and deliver a great experience given the nature of the city and the passionate nature of the people who live there.”
For a business that offers new events on a daily basis, partnerships are a crucial element in keeping the service at a flat rate. Before its planned launch, INWEGO scoured Dallas to familiarize itself with the different events that attract large audiences and create a buzz. LeCraw finds that the biggest benefit the subscription service can give partners is an audience that attends an event it wouldn’t normally have without the app.
“We are really able to pitch it as a win-win for both parties because, again, our subscribers love to find new things,” he says. “So if you're a music promoter, we’d love to say that, ‘Hey, people that signed up for INWEGO who like sports are now coming to your music venue — [people] who may have not otherwise known that it existed and vice versa.’ Our audience is engaged and willing to try new things. That's really how we frame it up for partners we work with in order to deliver that experience.”
One concern that does emerge with services like INWEGO is the financial aspect of the business. A band or team may gain a fan who’ll buy merchandise, a venue guest may buy some drinks, but all performers or owners are mostly depending on the audience member coming back again. Although LeCraw is not able to delve too deep into the subject, he guarantees that INWEGO takes into account how artists, sports teams, restaurants and festivals can still benefit.
“I can't get into too much detail, but we negotiate all that ahead of time to make sure that they're getting the value that they need from the product,” he says. “Ultimately, the consumers are getting it, too. We put a lot of time into these partner relationships to make sure that what we're getting the tickets for and how that all goes down is valuable to those partners, but also, ultimately, for members.”
LeCraw wants to keep modifying the app to satisfy the needs of subscribers. One of the areas he wants to touch on in the future is the social nature of the app. At the moment, INWEGO members in participating cities are able to go to any event with friends by inviting them through the app, if they also have it. If a friend doesn’t have the app, a guest pass can easily be acquired. In the event a friend has to cancel, there’s no issue in having to sell extra tickets because one person doesn’t have to buy all the tickets at once; it’s all done through individual accounts. LeCraw envisions this process bringing people even closer later on by making it easier for strangers with similar interests to meet for events. This way, more friendships can establish from the app, strengthening the social element of INWEGO.
Another potential perk LeCraw sees improving the service is providing parking. Events usually require paying for parking in the venue, which INWEGO does not include with tickets. The reason is to give subscribers the freedom to go to the venue however they please. However, LeCraw is considering adding this perk if it will make it easier for people to attend an event.
“Generally it’s up to the member in terms of how they want to get in,” he says. “We are experimenting with different ways to try to make it easier and more seamless. We want to take as few steps out of the process to go into an event as possible, so right now it’s two taps to claim the ticket and go with a friend. If we make it a third tap to add parking, we believe that would further enhance the experience, so it’s definitely something we’re thinking about.”
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