Ticketmaster’s new plan to replace tickets will let venues track your location

5 Jul 2017

Image: Dimitris Lantzounis/Shutterstock

Ticketmaster has revealed its latest tech upgrade to replace your ticket with a digital audio chirp, but it’s also a way to make more money by tracking your location.

It seems the days of having a ticket for a concert are numbered, with Ticketmaster – the dominant ticket-selling platform on the planet – revealing new technology that replaces it with a digital audio chirp.

According to VentureBeat, the company has partnered with Lisnr, whose technology allows devices to literally talk to one another through chirps – inaudible to most humans – giving people access to things such as cars or, in this case, a concert venue.

For Ticketmaster, the plan is to integrate Lisnr’s technology into its app to allow concertgoers enter a gig without having to wait in line, as the chirp from their smartphone will be picked up by devices run by the venue.

What it brings to the table

According to Lisnr, its technology is more efficient than just using a QR code or other scanning technology already available on smartphones, as it means little cost to the venue in terms of infrastructure.

The real benefit for Ticketmaster and venues, however, is that it offers a potential goldmine, as a person’s smartphone can be accurately tracked across a closed space, such as an arena.

Because each smartphone carries its own unique identifier, a venue would be able to target a person with very specific promotions based on where they are in a room.

Data transmission over audio has been a slowly developing technology over the past few years, with Google just one major company to have tinkered with the idea back in 2015.

Speaking of the move, Ticketmaster’s executive vice-president of product, Justin Burleigh, said: “We used identity as our north star – our guiding light to develop a product that makes each individual fan experience the greatest it could be.

“This means using identity to drive customised experiences based on who you are and where you are, eliminating fraud (resulting in a safer environment) and delivering more personalisation based on the specific event you’re attending.”

Wanting to up its game

The company’s interest in technology has increased dramatically in recent years. Last May, it held a hackathon in Dublin to get developers to create new systems using its Open API strategy.

Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com at the time, the company’s head of product design, Troy Suda, said that Ticketmaster admittedly needed to up its game in the tech stakes.

“In the past, the Ticketmaster experience might have fallen short of consumer expectations but we have made remarkable progress in the last two years, modernising internal platforms and developing new features and opportunities,” he said.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic