In a move designed reportedly to crack down on counterfeiting and eliminate secondary ticket sales, Live Nation Entertainment is planning to issue digital wristbands in place of tickets for some upcoming UK music festivals.
The concept of using digital wristbands, which will carry a smart chip and be personalized to each buyer, takes the company’s Ticketmaster-based paperless ticketing initiatives a step further by embedding a wearable bracelet with a technological identification stamp. Traditionally, paperless tickets require the purchaser to swipe a credit card or a magnetized identification card at the gate in order to gain entry.
For now it appears that neither fans nor brokers will not be allowed to resell or transfer the wristbands. Through its Ticketmaster division, Live Nation operates three ticket resale Web sites, GetMeIn in the UK, TicketsNow and TicketExchange, but the company has not disclosed plans to allow resale on those or other sites.
A spokesperson for Live Nation did not respond to a message seeking comment.
During the run up to the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger, the companies identified paperless ticketing and dynamic pricing as two of the initiatives the combined company planned to build upon in 2010 and beyond. While the digital wristband experiment is being conducted in the UK, if successful it will likely come to the North American market soon after, if plans for a U.S. launch are not already underway.
“If someone has spent their hard-earned money on a ticket that they can no longer use, then they should have the right to sell it on, whether it is a paper ticket, e-ticket or any other type of ticket,” Edward Parkinson, online marketing director at UK-based viagogo, told the BBC, which first reported the story. “The most important thing is to make sure that when someone buys a resold ticket, they get what they pay for, in time for the event.”
Live Nation is expected to implement the digital wristband technology at its O2 Wireless, Download and Hard Rock Calling festivals, among others. And, organizers will be able to ask customers for ID to prove they are the person who bought the wristband.
“Your ticket won’t be a paper ticket, it’ll be a wristband unique to you,” John Probyn, chief operating officer for Live Nation UK’s music division, told the BBC. “If Fred Bloggs comes in, I can ask him for identification to prove he is that person,”
Besides gaining entry, the wristbands reportedly would also allow buyers to prepay for concession items, and possibly other merchandise, too.