Paperless ticketing has become Live Nation Entertainment’s latest weapon against the secondary market. Twenty percent of tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s performances in New Jersey this April will be paperless, Live Nation announced. Doing so prevents the resale of these tickets on secondary outlets, such as Ebay-owned Stub Hub, or between fans.
Though ticket resale is legal according to U.S. law, individual states have passed legislation restricting the practice. In New York, for instance, tickets cannot be resold for more than $2 above face value. In January, New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell called for increasing government regulations on ticket selling after Ticketmaster’s website suffered a malfunction, preventing fans from acquiring tickets through the Live Nation subsidiary. Tickets were available, however, on Stub Hub.
According to NBC New York, Pascrell released a statement criticizing the secondary market. “I think it’s important to note that while many fans were unable to get tickets today, many brokers were able to get their hands on good seats for Springsteen and put them up on secondary ticket sellers’ web sites where they were sold at higher prices,” Pascrell said.
Requiring tickets to be paperless allows Ticketmaster to sell them exclusively through its own subsidiary, TicketExchange. Undermining Pascrell’s position, TicketExchange routinely sells tickets for hundreds of dollars above face value. As Bloomberg News reports, TicketExchange offered tickets for John Mayer concerts to be sold at 20 percent above face value.
Springsteen criticized Ticketmaster three years ago, when the reseller directed fans to another subsidiary,TicketNow, which sold tickets at 400 percent above face value. Ticketmaster later issued an apology.
StubHub is Ticketmaster’s largest competitor in the secondary market. CPBJNow.com, website of the Central Penn Business Journal, called StubHub “the largest of these online resellers” in a Jan. 27 article. The New York Times affirmed this title in an article dated Jan. 14, 2011.
Despite increasing support for paperless tickets, certain states have expanded the use of paper tickets in recent years. Against Live Nation’s protests, New York passed legislation in 2010 that allows for a paper option.
Ticketmaster’s restrictive ticket sells would impact more than StubHub. Paperless tickets require the purchaser to attend the performance, showing the credit card and official photo ID at the door. Therefore, fans cannot resell legally-purchased tickets if they are unable to attend a show.