Showclix CEO To Frustrated Kraftwerk Ticket Buyers: "Ultimately, We Failed Many Of You"

kraftwerk_computerworld.jpg
The CEO of Showclix—the ticketing company that handled yesterday's ticketing process for the Museum of Modern Art's eight-night series of Kraftwerk shows, during which quite a few people got stuck in waiting rooms and took to Twitter to describe their sell-out-rage in detail—has posted an open letter to those people who feel they were let down by his company. "Ultimately, we failed many of you," wrote Joshua Dziabiak, who while noting that there were no actual outages also said that one of the company's queuing servers "bubbled-up under the heavy load and caused frequent timeouts."

It's worth pointing out that, according to the letter, tickets to the eight shows sold out in approximately one hour; in the era of large venues being sold out in minutes thanks to people bum-rushing Ticketmaster.com, that timespan seems almost camp-out-at-Tower-era slow—especially for a series of shows that could only sell tickets to "approximately 1.20%" of the "tens and tens of thousands of people" exasperatedly tweeting and hitting refresh. The full text below.

Dear Kraftwerk fans,

Sorry it took me a day to write this, but it was important for me to first understand all of the facts so they could be properly communicated. First and foremost, we are deeply sorry for the frustration and massive inconvenience that yesterday's on-sale for Kraftwerk caused for many of their great fans around the world. I recognize that so many of you spent hours in front of your computer watching a spinning wheel--or watching the page go blank. Please allow me to explain what happened and what we'll do to correct this for the future:

MoMA has been a really great partner of ShowClix for over a year now, and we've worked with them to move tens of thousands of tickets successfully. They leaned on us to help them with this on-sale, which was a special event for them, and we let them (and you) down. ShowClix has successfully executed many very large, high-demand on-sales over the past five years that we've been in business. Most of these on-sales have a high demand, with a great deal of inventory to sell. Kraftwerk's eight-night performance on-sale was a very unique situation. While we're not able to disclose the number of tickets that were available for these performances, what I will say is that of the tens and tens of thousands of die-hard Kraftwerk fans from around the world that logged on at exactly noon EST yesterday to get these tickets, the venue capacity restrictions would only ever allow approximately 1.20% of them to actually be reserved. As you might imagine, this is an extremely large technical hurdle, particularly because of the tiny fraction of supply versus the demand.

Still, this is no excuse. We should have never advised MoMA to allow the tickets to be sold in the fashion in which they were, because in the end--even if everything were to go smoothly--many people would have been very disappointed. ShowClix didn't set the proper expectations from the beginning, nor did we properly prepare our load balancing servers in order to prevent the queue from timing out. Ultimately, we failed many of you.

Since yesterday, we have discovered that a single setting within one of the lower levels of our queuing system's middleware bubbled-up under the heavy load and caused frequent timeouts. There were also some issues with the broadcast system which allows us to communicate with ticket buyers while they're waiting in the queue. We should have both of these problems resolved by the end of this week. However, even with these problems resolved, it is my belief moving forward that we should not perform an on-sale all at once for an event or venue that has such small capacity restrictions versus potential demand. Instead, we will advise our clients on various alternative methods to fairly sell tickets to an event that has such a small fraction of inventory available versus the potential demand.

There were certainly technical problems around this event. Contrary to some reports, however, our servers never crashed or went offline, and none of our other clients or their events experienced a problem during the Kraftwerk on-sale. We always keep high-demand on-sales separate from all of the other activity happening on our server. It's also important to note that there were online sales successfully processing the entire time, and all eight of the events sold-out in approximately 60 minutes.

In closing, regardless of what the technical problem was--or how we plan to solve it in the future--we haven't overlooked the incredible amount of frustration many people felt from the on-sale. We take full responsibility. This company was founded and continues to be run by a big team of live entertainment and technology addicts. We feel for you, the fans, and our partner, MoMA, and vow to work hard to prevent such a debacle from happening again in the future.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Joshua Dziabiak

CEO

ShowClix, Inc.


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7 comments
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RT Vegas
RT Vegas

What an awful system!  They should broadcast this whole series on PBS and use it as a fund raiser.  The tickets should have been distributed through a lottery system.RT VEGAS

Uri Dalal
Uri Dalal

How mortified do you think Ralph Hütter is that of all groups in the world to piss off their fans or let them down via something technological or through (forgive the awful cliché) our HOME COMPUTERS beaming us into the TIMED OUT MESSAGE it's Kraftwerk. Let us keep in mind that I have (since 1974) NEVER heard anything remotely negative about this group. Maybe they'll do something special to make it up to us. Especially those of us that had to miss the Minimum-Maximum gig because they were under contract to do a gig of their own and one thing he needs to do before he dies is see the most brilliant band on earth! And a real volcano.

Uri Dalal
Uri Dalal

I love that what they're willing to do to make it up to us is make sure it doesn't happen in the future. Well, WHOOP-E-DEE-DOOOO! Did anyone else catch the MoMA 'leaned' on us to do this gig comment? Who runs the MoMA? Tony Soprano?

Depechetraff
Depechetraff

Tens of thousands?  So let's say 90,000 people at the most were trying to get tickets.  If only 1.2% of people could get tickets, that's only 1080 tickets available.  Less than 150 per night.  I know the atrium is small, but it's not that small.   The VIP phoneys get the tickets and the fans get the shaft...

Mofongo Maniac
Mofongo Maniac

It really sucks to know that the tickets sold out in an hour and most people who were logged on at exactly 11:59:59 could not get a single ticket to a single show. When I called ShowClix, the representative told me that they only released 150 tickets PER SHOW to be sold. This number has been confirmed by others on the internet who also spoke to ShowClix representatives. So what's the story? How many tickets were actually sold? What is the capacity of the MoMA atrium? Who exactly was able to get tickets? There's definitely something fishy going on here. 

Shanolh
Shanolh

Yup. I got to the screen that allowed me to select the number of tickets and "get tickets." Needless to say, the tickets were never got.  An hour to sell out all tickets? That makes me think they were all sold over the phone (despite it being an "online only" sale) or sold to folks within ShowClix's network and celebrities only.

guest
guest

Thanks for reopening old wounds. I'd already forgotten the hour plus I spent starving and unable to urinate for fear of leaving my mesmorizing spinning queue icon.

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