What started out as an attempt to keep Alicia Keys tickets out of the hands of UK resellers, ended up becoming a hassle for fans and an unintended lesson for promoters on why ID requirements do not always work.
Keys performed a solo show at Royal Albert Hall in London earlier this month in which the show’s promoter, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), tried to ensure that tickets stayed out of the secondary market by requiring that attendees show identification that matched the name of the person who bought the tickets. The move is essentially the same procedure employed at paperless ticket shows — where attendees have to swipe the credit card they bought the tickets with at the gate to gain entry — but the Keys tickets were not actually paperless.
Despite the ID requirement, hundreds of tickets for the show were resold on the secondary market, with some going for bargain prices because the show did not sell out.
“We let anyone who wanted to list tickets know that they were responsible for getting their buyers into the show,” Joe Cohen, founder and CEO of UK secondary ticket marketplace Seatwave, told TicketNews. “If the buyer could not get in, the seller would not be paid, and we ended up having no problems with people not getting in.”
Dozens of fans, however, were delayed entry and hassled for their ID, according to press reports, and some were turned away from some gates and had to go to other gates in order to get in.
“It was chaotic,” Graham Burns, chairman of the Association of Secondary Ticket Agents (ASTA), told TicketNews of the show.
With the show not selling out, organizers ended up eventually relaxing the requirements, which led Cohen and others to question what was the point of the whole exercise? Red Light Management, Keys’ management company, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Cohen believes that ID required shows — or similar ones using paperless tickets — do not work, although he added that paperless shows are “not really on the radar yet in the UK” because several ticket companies provide tickets to venues, not one like Ticketmaster in the U.S. “Tickets are bearer instruments, they own them, and if people want to get into a show they will.”
On average, he encounters two to three ID required shows per year, but Cohen said promoters risk not making money on them because 15 percent to 20 percent of ticket sales are to brokers and resellers, enough to ensure a profit for the promoter.
“Promoters seem to want ticket speculators when they have shows they’re not sure will sell out. But, if they think it’s a hot show, suddenly they don’t want them,” Cohen said.