Dice HQ

Meet Amy Oldham, ticketing expert and DICE’s VP of Content for Europe

Words by DICE

DICE tends to attract interesting people full of great stories about how they came to work in live events – in this interview, VP of Content for Europe Amy Oldham shares hers, as well as discussing her current status as an officially ILMC nominated ticketing expert.

Amy hails from Putney, South West London. She remembers her time there fondly, calling it a “very special place to grow up full of vibrancy and colour”, and her homelife was saturated with music thanks to the influence of her parents.

“My father was a jazz musician. He played saxophone and clarinet, and he’d often play them at home and practice – it would drive me nuts, but looking back it meant the house was always full of energy. I remember that from a very young age, we’d either have music on or dad would be playing. Watching him practise for things like the BBC Big Band and all his jazz gigs are probably some of my earliest memories.” 

It’s from here that Amy got to know and love live music. “I spent a lot of time in the London jazz scene, especially in this pub called The Bull’s Head in Barnes, where the likes of Jools Holland and Charlie Watts would play. My dad performed there all the time, too, so I’d go and sit for hours while he was playing and, you know, be bored, but also having a lot of fun.”

Amy's collection of posters from venues where her dad played

On pop and Jack Peñate

I’m pretty sure the first live event I went to that wasn’t jazz related was the Spice Girls. Gig of a lifetime. I’ve seen them three times, maybe even four. One being a couple of years ago. It was an incredible time to be a young girl, surrounded by girl power and fierce women in music. And I think the first gig I went to on my own was Jack Peñate at Cambridge Junction when I was 14 – I could not have been more into him. I was like, ‘f**k, this is cool’. 

On her all-time favourite live events

One is Alexisonfire at Brixton Academy – it blew my mind as it was the first time I’d been to a slightly heavier show. My dad died when I was 19, and I used to listen to their album on repeat in the car when I was going to see him while he was really ill. So it was an intense romance with pretty heavy rock music. Then, when I finally got to go and see them live, it was like a catharsis of pent up sadness, but also a deeply euphoric experience.

The other is Maribou State at Beat Hotel in Marrakech. It was a beautiful little festival, with a magical and intimate vibe on site. I was right at the front standing in front of the singer, singing along to every world and totally lost in the moment. I would go back to that time in a heartbeat.

Amy's view of Maribou State at Beat Hotel

On her journey into the music industry

I started studying Business Studies at university. And then my dad died during my exams. I was getting average grades, so they said I would have to start again and I was like, ‘bloody hell, no’. So I chose something else, which was Media. On that course, I met my Senior Lecturer, Paula Hearsum who used to write for Melody Maker, and she kind of lit a fire inside of me about the opportunities in the industry. I hadn’t really understood what was possible before then.

So, I started working at the Concorde 2 music venue in Brighton, and I was doing all their web marketing. Then I managed to get an internship at NME, and became really, really heavily entrenched in the music scene in Brighton. I was essentially doing the marketing and going to live events about four or five times a week: I’d be going to get the hummus for Martha and the Vandellas, or running around helping out Ellie Goulding, Kasabian or The Maccabees. 

Most of my friends were at the music college BIMM, so I met a lot of people through osmosis. The feeling of music running through the city was just insane, and it’s still really prominent. Alongside The Great Escape festival, there’s a non-stop gig scene down there. So that was definitely my springboard into music.

Amy and Dave Grohl

On discovering DICE

I was working at Live Nation when DICE launched. I remember sitting there looking through the app, and thinking ‘This is going to be huge’. Then, three years ago I saw a position open up and decided it was the perfect move. 

I started as Head of Arts and Culture, and then became MD of the UK. And then I had a baby. While I was on maternity leave, I was offered the opportunity to become VP of Content for Europe. To be offered a promotion while you’re on maternity leave is pretty cool. So, I think the ability to progress has come from trust, and I’ve worked really hard, it’s not luck. I’m always moving forward and trying to have fun at the same time.

Our team is responsible for building partnerships with the incredible venues, promoters and creators whose shows live and breathe on DICE. And the shows that inspire a fan to buy a ticket comes from the team that we’re building. The reality is, without the Content team maintaining the quality of our events, we would become a platform just like everyone else, because there’d be no curation of what we’re putting into the app. But we have a voice and fans trust us: everything is personalised, we’re inviting partners into our world because we value what they do. I think it’s a really unique proposition because we’re a company that is built by fans for fans.

On the secret to ticketing success

Simplicity and transparency are the building blocks of great ticketing. You just want it to work, don’t you? It’s so easy to get super-complicated with ticketing and make the process really drawn out and complicated. But our mission is to keep it really simple, and do exactly what we need to do, which is get fans out more.

There was a lot of creativity coming out from ticketing platforms during the pandemic. We did an incredible job of springboarding streaming into the whole industry. The biggest shift for me was that ticketing has always been seen as a transactional service, but the pandemic brought the whole industry together to get creative and collaborate more effectively.

Partners realised that there’s a lot of value in going above DICE brings a huge amount of value that goes above and beyond selling a ticket. There’s understanding fans’ likes, dislikes, behaviours and passions, and what it means to be a fan. The partners that thrive are the ones using our tools and working with our team to drive their exponential growth. I think partners have to understand that our position is a lot deeper than a booking fee.

Working across Europe, the thing that excites me the most is seeing our ambitious and creative partners growing their businesses and connecting with our network internationally, whether that’s artists, labels, promoters or venues. And I’m excited for DICE to be a really continue being an instrumental part of that growth. We all need to sort out an awful loneliness problem that is the overhang of the pandemic – so that mission really inspires me. Our mission is to get fans out more, so the more content we can introduce to fans around the world, the more we give them good reasons to connect with old friends and make new ones too. That's the tonic that makes us all feel good. 

Olivia Dean live in Paris

On what she’s looking forward to
I’ve just been to Paris to see Olivia Deane and Jordan Rakei, the show was insane.  I’m super-excited to see Michel Kiwanuka at Cambridge Corn Exchange in May – I feel like I could burst at the thought of being in that room. Next on my hit list is Wet Leg and Black Country, New Road, too.

If you’re interested in talking to Amy and the brilliant Content team at DICE, get in touch.

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