Skip to content

Ticketmaster (Finally) Screws Over Scalpers With New Digital Ticket Transfers

Live Nation CEO MIchael Rapino

There was good news, bad news, and potentially great news yesterday coming from a brand best known for its convenience fees and general inconvenience: Ticketmaster.

First, the good news. As points out, it sucks waiting outside a venue to give tardy friends their tickets. Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster has launched a new digital ticket transfer system, which means ticket buyers can now, for free, transfer tickets to other people through the Ticketmaster website. Digital transfers should be available through the Ticketmaster mobile app by this spring. 

The bad news is none of this applies if you buy so-called paperless tickets. These tickets, used by artists to cut down on scalping, can’t be printed out and instead require buyers to bring a credit card and ID to an event as proof of purchase. A Ticketmaster spokeswoman told the Star-Ledger the digital transfer system won’t apply to paperless tickets, noting, “If artists still want to do that, they can still have that functionality.” 

The potentially great news: Hey, something bad finally happened to scalpers! Resellers, under this arrangement, would presumably not be able to sell paperless tickets via digital transfers. Recall the outrage over tickets to the 12.12.12 Hurricane Sandy benefit concert being resold for tens of thousands of dollars: With paperless tickets, that hopefully wouldn’t happen.

Of course, Ticketmaster being Ticketmaster, some have raised concerns about the new system. For instance, a ticket broker told the Star-Ledger he can’t get behind the fact the system allows Ticketmaster to obtain concertgoers’ names and e-mails.

Meanwhile, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino also spoke recently at the same digital media conference where Beats Electronics’ Jimmy Iovine detailed Beats’ forthcoming Trent Reznor-led music streaming serviceWatch Rapino’s comments below, including his acknowledgement that many tickets are already unavailable when tickets officially go on sale, via AllThingsD.