Faced with the prospect of not selling out the popular teen singer’s show, it appears that Ticketmaster sold an undisclosed number of paper tickets to Justin Bieber’s November 17 concert at New Jersey’s IZOD Center, despite the show otherwise being a paperless ticket event.
By most accounts, Bieber’s current My World Tour has been a huge success, and it is listed among the 10 best-selling weekly events on TicketNews’ exclusive rankings, but the paperless ticket aspect of the tour has caused headaches at some stops.
Last week, glitches with scanning equipment plagued the singer’s Louisville, KY show, causing long delays. And, while equipment problems were not reported at the IZOD show, fans were again subjected to delays in gaining entry. Ticketmaster’s paperless ticketing system requires venues to swipe the credit card a fan used to purchase the ticket in order to gain entry, a process that can be time consuming. For a Justin Bieber concert, where many of the fans are teen-agers or children without credit cards, the process can take longer, as parents or guardians often need to accompany them to the gate.
Paperless ticketing has been used by a growing number of artists, like Miley Cyrus and John Mayer, in part to eliminate ticket scalping or the fraudulent sale of counterfeit tickets. But, unlike a paperless ticket product by Veritix, which allows for the easy transfer of tickets, Ticketmaster’s technology is closed, making the transfer of tickets difficult. Fans and ticket brokers have complained about the system, though Ticketmaster, which is a divison of Live Nation Entertainment, has stressed that system is designed to make buying tickets easier and more safe.
Whether complaints from fans about paperless tickets played a factor in the decision to release some paper tickets for the Bieber show is not known; Ticketmaster quietly sold some paper tickets during the day on November 17 (see screenshot below; at the bottom, there are options for buying TicketFast print-at-home tickets or having paper tickets held at Will Call).
Spokespersons for Ticketmaster and Scooter Braun Management, Bieber’s management company, did not immediately reply to messages seeking comment.
“Paperless tickets are simply too complicated and fundamentally changes the pre-concert experience, creating large crowds and confusion,” said Don Vaccaro, founder and CEO of TicketNetwork. “It’s a potentially dangerous situation where none needs to exist.”
During the summer, New York officials passed a bill requiring that fans be given the option of buying either paper or paperless tickets at check out, marking the first time paperless tickets were legislated. Politicians in New Jersey were also considering new ticketing laws last summer, but they did not pass any specific bills.
TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.