Live Nation Entertainment is developing a “clouding printing” app in conjunction with Internet search giant Google and computer company Hewlett-Packard, which will allow fans to wireless print event tickets at the venue, or from virtually any printer in the world.
But, according to one ticket industry consultant, secondary ticket brokers should have cause for concern over the burgeoning technology, because Live Nation could potentially use it as another way of shutting out the secondary ticket market, similar to what it can do with paperless tickets.
The way Google Cloud Print works is devices with the app send information to Google’s servers, or “cloud,” and that cloud is “responsible for sending the print job to the appropriate printer, with the particular options the user selected, and providing job status to the app,” according to Google. The printers would either be connected to the Internet itself or attached to a computer that’s turned on and connected to the Internet.
“Our goal is to build a printing experience that enables any app (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer anywhere in the world,” Google said in a statement.
So, instead of a fan printing a ticket at home, they could print it at the venue by using their cell phone and printer at the facility, for example. It could also mean that tickets that would typically drop in price as an event draws closer could retain more of their value for a longer period because they could be bought and printed out only seconds before entering the venue.
“I think this provides one more convenience for fans before they get what they really want, smart phone enabled bar codes that can be scanned directly at the gate,” Glenn Lehrman, spokesperson for StubHub, told TicketNews.
A Live Nation spokesperson did not respond to messages seeking comment. A time frame for when the company hopes to implement the technology is unknown.
While Live Nation’s foray into cloud printing could just be an interim move, Jim Goodman, a ticket industry consultant and former executive with Ticketmaster and Tickets.com, told TicketNews that brokers should still be wary of the technology.
Goodman worked extensively with both Ticketmaster’s and Tickets.com’s Web sites, and while he believes cloud printing is a good idea, he said he is uncertain how much affect it will have “in the real world,” because some difficulties – such as firewalls and non-routable IP addresses – may remain.
“So, you better believe that there is going to be some sort of system in place to validate who is printing [the ticket], how it got transferred to that account, etc.,” Goodman said. “If there isn’t, I’d be shocked – that would just open the door to everything [Live Nation would have] been trying to prevent.
“By creating an app for it, they would be able to apply even more controls/checks to their system now, such as paperless ticketing, that makes it difficult for the secondary market. I think that while this does have ‘paper’ (it gets printed), this will be analogous to the paperless entry system, where it is far more difficult to transfer/sell a ticket in the secondary market,” he said.
The Live Nation cloud printing system could potentially validate credit card numbers, like its paperless system, Goodman said, which would mean brokers would not be able to give a ticket buyer the info so they could print the ticket.
“I think it will be a closed system, again, much like Ticketmaster’s paperless ticketing, which will prevent folks from just handing out an email address, etc. to get tickets printed/redeemed,” he said.