Ticketmaster is already pretty active in NFTs. For example, it has a deal with the NFL to mint complimentary non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for many NFL games through the Ticketmaster NFT marketplace. Now Ticketmaster posted a job ad for a role involving the ‘productization of NFTs’. The person hired will report to the ‘General Manager of NFT Ticketing’ in a nod to the importance of the topic to the entertainment company.
Ticketmaster is part of the larger Live Nation, the world’s leading music promoter. In sports, one of the most popular web3 applications is NFTs of short video clips or video moments such as NBA Top Shot. Not only does Live Nation have access to these sorts of clips for music events, but last year the CEO confirmed it’s actively exploring the topic.
However, from the job ad, we’d conclude that Ticketmaster is interested primarily in the collectible aspect of NFTs, not other ticketing functionality.
NFTs have also been used as part of ticketing systems as an anti-counterfeit solution to prevent the sort of UEFA fiasco with Liverpool tickets. In that case, the football match was delayed because the turnstiles were blocked by people holding counterfeit paper tickets.
Ticketmaster even acquired an NFT ticketing startup long before NFTs became popular.
Live Nation’s CEO was asked about the broader application of blockchain and NFTs to ticketing and was less receptive to the topic. After all, the company already has a well functioning centralized system. CEO Michael Rapino said last year, “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.”
Those details will become critical at concerts as 5G enables in-venue digital experiences on smartphones.
While a decentralized ticketing solution might not appeal to Live Nation, it might be attractive to others. The company is facing a lawsuit that alleges that Live Nation won’t use venues for concerts unless they have the Ticketmaster service in place as their primary ticketing outlet. However, the case is a class action brought on behalf of consumers, not venues.
In 2019, the Department of Justice brought an enforcement action against Live Nation, preventing it from threatening to withhold concerts from a venue if it chooses a ticketing solution other than Ticketmaster.