YEG Live

Overall Superstar

Location Edmonton Owner Cameron Gertz and Chris Martyniuk
Employees 4 Founded 2009

★ The Business

For Chris Martyniuk and Cameron Gertz, it all started with a restaurant in Edmonton’s Belgravia neighbourhood called Hulbert’s. They planned to stay on the sidelines as silent partners but were eventually encouraged to help run it as a community space, and before they knew it they were booking live events, working with artists and cultivating a reputation within the city’s music scene as first-rate promoters. In 2009 they registered and used it to run the city’s first e-ticketing platform, and in 2010 they put it to the test with their first big e-ticketed event in Edmonton: SOS Fest, a weekend-long music festival along Whyte Avenue. It passed the test, to say the least, and Martyniuk and Gertz have since applied their system to the Edmonton International Film Festival and the Open Sky Music Festival.

★ The Case

Trying to crack a market that includes a behemoth like Ticketmaster might not sound like a promising business strategy, but YEG Live has carved out a niche for itself among smaller artists and venues that either can’t or won’t pay Ticketmaster’s fees. Instead, YEG Live allows smaller venues and independent artists to take advantage of the benefits of e-ticketing, which can include everything from a larger turnout to better bar sales. It has also partnered with venues like the Pawn Shop, Haven Social Club and the Artery to incorporate their listings into YEG Live’s ticketing system. The owners have even started doing business in Atlantic Canada. But no matter how big the business gets, Cameron Gertz and Chris Martyniuk have no intention of trying to compete against Ticketmaster. “We didn’t get it into to our head that we wanted to compete with them,” Gertz says. “We did it because we wanted to provide tools to event organizers who wouldn’t have been able to access them before. We wanted to fill a niche, and to service a market that was being underserved. And we have.”

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