A ticket bot, which is a software program that automates the process of searching and buying tickets to events, has the capacity to buy thousands of tickets in just a few minutes, according to a report by New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. For instance, bots purchased 1,012 tickets in one minute and 15,087 tickets in an entire day for U2’s 2015 tour, the report shows.
This means that in just a few minutes, thousands of music fans were robbed of their opportunity to see their favorite artist in concert.
This is why methods such as Verified Fan programs and transparency with fans need to be established for all entertainment events so that it’s easier for fans to purchase tickets at face value.
According to an article on Billboard, Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program, which launched earlier this year, has had about a 90 percent success rate of blocking bots.
Ticket master states that in this program, people register ahead of time and get sent an access code once they are verified as being fans instead of scalpers.
The success of the Verified Fan program is great for music fans because it means that they not only have a better opportunity of seeing their favorite artists, but they also have a higher chance of purchasing tickets at face value.
As if concert tickets weren’t expensive enough to begin with, resale tickets sold on websites such as StubHub and Vivid Seats are almost always more expensive. Markups for brokers that use bots can range from 30 percent to over 1,000 percent, according to the Schneiderman’s report.
It is unfair for music lovers with genuine interest and appreciation for an artist to be unable to attend a concert just because a random person wants to unrightfully make a profit.
Ticket bots have a negative effect on the music industry, said Claire Thompson, California Lutheran University sophomore and artist manager of a band named Half Past the Revolution
“It’s essentially stealing from the consumer and stealing from whoever they’re purchasing from as well— the artist and promoter selling the tickets,” Thompson said.
This is wrong because the person making a profit is in no way, shape or form involved with the artist. The person behind the ticket bot is essentially making money from the opportunity that was stolen from fans.
Ticket bots also cause fans to be suspicious whenever tickets to an event sell out immediately after going on sale.
“It’s difficult for me to say that it was particularly ticket bots that prevented me from getting them but it’s a looming question… whether or not I would’ve gotten tickets if there hadn’t been bots,” Thompson said.
This is why being transparent with fans about the number of individuals attempting to purchase tickets to the same event is important. For instance, if only a few hundred fans were approved for the Verified Fan program but somehow tickets sold out in less than a minute, fans would know that something suspicious was going on.
“We start having a better dialogue,” said Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino in an article posted on Billboard. “So you [the consumer] will feel better if you’ve registered and we tell you, you’re one of 100,000 that are registered. We have 50,000 tickets here. And here’s how you can now increase your spot in the line.”
Rapino makes a valid point. Transparency gives fans a realistic view of their chances of finding tickets, and reduces suspicions about bots stealing all of them.
Every person should have a fair opportunity to see his or her favorite artists. Nothing compares to that special moment when you see your favorite artist perform your favorite song live. In order for more fans to experience this, Verified Fan programs and transparency need to be implemented for all entertainment events.