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Live Nation's $100m investment in Ticketmaster tech to battle dodgy bots

Tim Ingham
Live Nation's $100m investment in Ticketmaster tech to battle dodgy bots

Live Nation believes that its $100m investment in Ticketmaster's tech over the next three years will result in "substantial" market share gains in secondary ticketing - as it spends big in its "arms race" against automated, ticket-snaffling bots.

Speaking today in London, Live Nation COO Joe Berchtold told media including Music Week that LN was well underway with a process of "re-platforming" Ticketmaster, in order to "move it forward from its 1980s technology that it had when we did the merger in 2010".

Live Nation received US approval to be merged with Ticketmaster in January 2010, and later became the promoter's official ticketing partner.

As well as reducing costs by automating Ticketmaster's processes, Berchtold (pictured) said that the investment in the company was driving forward a wider 'fan-friendly' strategy.

This includes the future introduction of a mobile-friendly, app-based digital system on which consumers can use, share and resell their tickets.

"It gives you overall management of your tickets," he said. "It's a project we’re now more than halfway done with. We expect to be substantially rolling it out in the US next year and we’ll deploy into the US next year."

In addition to discussing further expansion plans into Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America regions, Berchtold said that Live Nation hoped its improved Ticketmaster techn platform would allow it to take more share in the secondary ticketing space.

The company owns secondary ticketing platform GetMeIn, which is affiliated with official Ticketmaster sites. Its current rivals include Seatwave and Viagogo.

Berchtold said that a new Ticketmaster platform called TicketMaster-Plus would combine both Live Nation-owned primary and secondary marketplaces. It will launch in the US next week.

"TicketMaster-plus will put the primary and secondary tickets to our events on the same page," he explained. "You can buy either, but you know it will be a safe, secure transaction.

"Because we own the IP on the 400 million-[plus] tickets that we issue every year, we can cancel the ticket you’re selling and reissue it directly [to the buyer].

"There’s been a lot of issues in the UK of late with fraudulent tickets - [with TicketMaster-Plus] we can authenticate and reissue the ticket so you don’t have those fraud issues.

"We believe that by [fans] knowing the ticket exists and it’s valid and can easily manage the sale of ticket, we’ll take substantial share in the secondary market.

"That opportunity will vary a lot by market and by what is and isn’t accepted by the regulators in those territories. It’s why we’re starting in the US and sorting through with different parties here what the right answer will be in the UK: we’ll figure it out market-by-market in Europe."

Berchtold made reference to the multi-million pound "arms race" that Live Nation is fighting with 'bots' - automated online programmes used to get ahead of genuine consumers when tickets go-onsale and snap up thousands of tickets, which are then resold for vast profits by 'scalpers' on the secondary market.

"Part of this $100m we’re spending is about figuring out how to do a better job stopping bots," he said. "We need to reduce the scalpers' ability to go in and get the number of good tickets they’re getting.

"We’ve got people that are doing all sorts of algorithms that look at your IP address, how quickly you’re entering key strokes, to try to make an assessment on whether you’re a human or a bot well beyond just the CAPTCHA [the gate which asks users to type in a random code to prove that they're human].

"It’s an arms race. We get a little better, then [the bot operators] get a little better. It’s ongoing investment. It’s one of the things Ticketmaster will ultimately be able to make better because we have the scale and we can make that investment in technology - we have to do it."

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