Hard rock icon AC/DC is the latest band to use Ticketmaster’s paperless technology. Select seats for the upcoming Black Ice World Tour will be available on a strictly paperless basis, while other seats will still be available as conventional hard tickets.
Although the band has not made an official announcement about the move to go paperless, several AC/DC listings on Ticketmaster.com carry a disclaimer that hard tickets will not be issued. “Please note that tickets for fan club members, as well as specific sections can only be delivered via Ticketmaster’s Paperless Ticket Delivery and are non-transferrable,” the notice stated.
As of Wednesday morning, September 17, only the band’s November 15 gig in Washington, DC, and the November 28 show in Vancouver, BC, carry the paperless notice. However a September 15 staff posting on the ACDC.com forum stated that the ticketing policy would be the same for all dates and venues.
“Tickets for the Fan Club will be paperless,” the staff post read, “so scalpers will have a hard time fulfilling that. Good luck to them.”
According to other posts by forum staff, 10 percent of venue tickets will be reserved for fan club members, who are limited to a total of two tickets. The face value for tickets will be in the $90 range, with public and fan club onsales starting simultaneously over the weekend. Further announcements on AC/DC’s move to paperless tickets are expected in the near future.
Ticketmaster introduced its paperless technology earlier in the year, listing singer-songwriter Tom Waits as the first artist taking advantage of the system for his 2008 Glitter and Doom Tour. “With Paperless Ticket there is no waiting in will call lines,” the press release stated. “All it takes is a single swipe of a credit card at the door of the venue and a photo ID check by door staff that leads to a quick, secure, and simple way to experience live entertainment.”
Recently, Metallica also joined Ticketmaster’s paperless ticketing ranks, debuting the technology in Europe for a September 15 concert at 02 in London, England.
Although more bands are beginning to use Ticketmaster’s technology, industry constituents and fans alike have been wary of the consequences of going paperless, particularly because of the limitations placed on buyers’ handling of tickets.
“Ticketmaster may find that this backfires on them,” Mike Masnick, a writer for TechDirt.com, said in a recent post. “Part of the value of the ticket is its resale value. Remove that and you lower the value of the ticket, meaning fewer people willing to buy those tickets at existing prices.”
Readers replied to Masnick’s post with their own stories on the shortcomings of paperless technology. “My grandmother buys all of my cousins tickets every year, and, as cool as she may be, I don’t really intend on forcing her to accompany me to a John Legend show,” one reader commented. “I have tried my hardest not to be cynical on this one, but the reality is that there is nothing convenient about this. It’s just one more way for Ticketmaster to make my events a little less enjoyable.”
However, despite the recent paperless trend, TicketNetwork CEO Don Vaccaro noted that hard tickets are still in high demand among event fans. “Venues are going to have to decide whether they will expend the time and energy to explain all the [ticketing] options to their customers,” he told TicketNews in July. “And, I think they will because consumers will pay a premium to be able to freely transfer tickets.”