During Live Nation‘s quarterly results announcements yesterday, CEO Michael Rapino spent a large proportion of the time allotted for questions talking about blockchain and nonfungible tokens (NFTs). He believes many of the benefits offered by blockchain for ticketing are achieved with digital tickets that don’t necessarily use blockchain. But he was keen on memorializing attendance at an event as a ticket NFT, and offering video clips from concerts as NFT collectibles.
Blockchain for Nonfungible tokens
Rapino was upbeat when asked how Live Nation might approach blockchain and collectibles. Currently, when a customer buys a ticket, Live Nation looks to sell them a T-shirt or offer a unique piece of artwork on the PDF ticket. Rapino sees an NFT as another avenue to “cement that magic moment called the concert”. So he envisages layering an NFT on a ticket using the Ticketmaster platform. Much like people might keep a concert ticket as a keepsake, a concertgoer will have an NFT of the ticket.
In terms of Live Nation, which manages events, “We think it’s a great way for us to engage with our fans using that NFT and that direct relationship now to add rewards, add perks, add souvenir moments,” said Rapino.
NBA Top Shot, the NFT marketplace that has now reached $570 million in sales, offers “Moments”, which are video clips of memorable basketball shots.
Rapino continued, “We’ve all learned from Top Shot at the NBA. So we envision Live Nation with the marketplace and looking at some of the concert moments as magic moments that we could mint and attach to our ongoing ticket festivals and special moments.” He noted that it’s exciting times for intellectual property owners.
Blockchain for tickets
Before talking about NFTs, Rapino spoke a little less enthusiastically about blockchain for tickets. Often promoted benefits of blockchain for tickets include addressing counterfeits, controlling ticket touts and re-sales, and enabling traceability.
Rapino outlined how the move from PDF tickets to digital tickets in a mobile app delivers a key advantage of knowing the details about the customer. So digital tickets without blockchain “unlocked a lot of what you keep reading about the blockchain is going to do in the future,” said Rapino.
“Identity for us, the fan, the artist, the team and the venue. Knowing who sits on that seat, who is actually coming to the venue, having a communication directly with them, having a verified ticket, being able to trade that ticket, putting rules on that ticket. We currently do that now. If you want to, you can transfer it with a certain cap,” he said.
Nonetheless, the company will continue to use blockchain to augment its platform. There was a recent announcement that a European subsidiary is adopting a blockchain wallet for tickets. And Ticketmaster acquired a blockchain sports ticketing app a few years ago.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Ticketmaster isn’t that keen on blockchain. In some ways, blockchain-enabled tickets could disintermediate Ticketmaster. As Rapino noted, Ticketmaster has already centrally implemented much of the functionality that smart contracts can enable, and Rapino emphasized the company’s API and massive centralized marketplace.
Where blockchain is most beneficial is where instead of a single outlet such as Ticketmaster, there are many, removing the need to integrate multiple APIs. For example, where a venue or event organizer wants to enable numerous third-party sellers – not just Ticketmaster – to distribute its tickets and the event organizer still maintains some level of control. To fully achieve those benefits requires many events and many ticket distributors to use the same network, like a distributed version of Ticketmaster.