Leading figures from the ticketing sector have told Music Week the live industry's push towards digital technology has the potential to transform the business.
Ticketmaster partnered with Academy Music Group (AMG) to roll out digital tickets across all of its venues earlier this year. The move followed the successful launch at O2 Academy Brixton for four shows with Four Tet in October 2018.
“Digital tickets are a game-changer,” said Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons, speaking as part of Music Week's recent special report on ticketing. “We’re live in venues across the UK and we have used the technology at multiple greenfield sites too, including Lovebox, Trnsmt and SW4 over the summer.
“Digital tickets are loved by fans with 91% being satisfied with the ease of getting into the venue using digital tickets. Digital ticketing is also valued by our clients. Not only do they make ingress easier and cut back on paper usage, but they unlock a huge amount of marketing potential as we get to know every fan in the building, not just the buyer."
The tickets are delivered to the fan’s mobile and can easily be transferred to a friend using a Ticketmaster account, or resold on its fan-to-fan exchange.
“The adoption of digital tickets will only increase and that will continue to drive changes in our industry,” added Parsons.
Digital ticketing is a permanent solution
“Digital ticketing is a permanent solution, with many forward-thinking venues, festivals and promoters adopting it to tackle the secondary market, increase customer convenience and also reduce our waste, as no physical tickets means less paper,” added Gigantic Tickets founder Mark Gasson.
Gasson pointed to Gigantic's work on Ed Sheeran’s recent UK outdoor shows, where the Nottingham-based firm developed a contactless paperless system which meant that no physical tickets were issued in advance. To gain entry, the attendee had to simply present the card used to purchase the tickets, photo ID and email confirmation.”
Elsewhere, See Tickets launched highly secure and non-transferable digital tickets in September in a bid to combat the secondary market. Each digital ticket features a dynamically refreshing barcode, which is uniquely tied to a customer’s user account, mobile device and See Tickets app.
Dice CEO Phil Hutcheon, meanwhile, lamented that his company is still instructed to send paper tickets for some shows. “This is terrible for fans," he said. "Not only do they have to pay more because of postage, it’s bad for the environment, it’s stressful if they’re not home and it creates unnecessary workload.
“Luckily, some artist managers have pushed through Dice mobile tickets when we’ve been faced with this and it has worked great for everyone involved."
Commenting on the challenges involved, Rob Casson, Skiddle's head of business UK & Europe, added: “Fake tickets, especially for sold-out shows, have always been a problem. We’ve developed a number of features to stop this happening, such as making tickets available via the app just an hour before shows - this makes it very hard to duplicate tickets."
Click here to read the full special report on the ticketing industry.