Ticketmaster Dives Head-First into Blockchain with Acquisition

Events tickets may soon be blockchain-powered after Ticketmaster recently acquired a startup working on such a project.

A recent press release provided by Ticketmaster announced that the company is acquiring a startup named Upgraded, which has the goal of providing live events services on a blockchain platform.

“Ticketmaster is constantly exploring emerging technologies, and there aren’t many that have the unique possibilities of blockchain. We’re excited to have Upgraded join the team as we continue to focus on providing the world’s leading identity-based ticketing platform to fans, artists, and our clients. We think blockchain and Upgraded will continue our progress to improve ticketing and create a safer and more seamless experience,” said Justin Burleigh, CPO of Ticketmaster North America.

Aside from the pomp and circumstance of having a major company acquire a blockchain startup, we gain a small window into the strategy adopted by the company to get its competitive edge.

Months ago, we spoke to Robert Stanley, the now-former head of business development at Based Global, about his company’s product and its role in the ticketing industry. In this conversation, he explained how blockchain technology could stop ticket scalping.

Stanley told us that digitized tickets would be much harder to scalp if they had a blockchain repository that could be accessed by any event organizer.

“The original person has the ticket, they bought the ticket, their ID is with us. And if there is a no-sale attachment to the smart contract, then the problem is solved. Why we want to [put tickets on a blockchain] is not to kill secondary sales. We want to hand control back to the artists. As an idea, if a ticket is 50 Euros, the artist reads this and he says, ‘Okay. If you want to resell my ticket, and it goes over 100 Euros, then all profits and extra money goes to charity.’ So, the person that controls that ticket makes the decision,” he said.

This may be why Upgraded was such an attractive investment for Ticketmaster. The company’s platform also has the unique feature of only showing a ticket’s barcode hours before the event.

To people interested in Ticketmaster as a company, this would mean that the ticketing site is getting serious about ticket scalping, looking to upgrade its tech infrastructure, and aiming towards providing a more transparent user experience.