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How True Tickets is bringing blockchain to Broadway

Andrew Hayward


If you've tried to buy a ticket to any kind of popular live event—music, theater, sports, etc.— in recent years, then you've probably encountered one of the many headaches that typically accompany such endeavors. Whether it's hidden fees, scalpers using bots to snap up vast sums of tickets for the secondary market, or fraudulent ticket sales, there are plenty of bad actors working to diminish the shared joy of live entertainment.

Broadway's largest theater operator has had enough of it, apparently. On Wednesday, The Shubert Organization—which owns 17 Broadway theaters and a half-dozen more off-Broadway—announced a partnership with blockchain-based startup True Tickets to enhance the ticketing experience.

True Tickets was one of two companies included in the first Broadway Tech Accelerator program, and the Boston-based company will launch a pilot program with The Shubert Organization's Shubert Ticketing in 2020. Shubert Ticketing is a multifaceted operation that sells millions of Broadway tickets per year through its Telecharge.com portal, Broadway Inbound group discounts service, and more. According to a release, the pilot program will be integrated "into targeted components of Schubert's ticketing operation."

Perfectly Marvelous

Built upon the IBM Blockchain, True Tickets' platform provides digital tickets via a link on buyers' smartphones. That'll be a familiar experience to many, especially those who buy movie tickets via apps, but the real work goes on behind the scenes. True Tickets uses blockchain’s immutable ledger to track every transaction related to each ticket, minimizing the possibility of fraud and ensuring that the person using the ticket is the person who bought it. It also provides helpful data for venues and productions.

"Ticketing is an integral, necessary, and many times frustrating part of the overall entertainment experience," True Tickets CEO Matt Zarracina tells Decrypt. "While the specific benefits of our service are numerous, broadly what it does very well is create a standard and consistent ticketing experience that can be applied across multiple distribution channels. By allowing our clients to better manage their digital tickets, they can better manage and improve the overall patron experience, which leads to establishing more meaningful relationships with them."

It's A Simple Little System

It's a potentially significant technological boost for a company that has been in the theater business for more than a century. However, it shouldn't be a problematic upgrade, as True Tickets' technology is designed to enhance existing ticketing systems. Zarracina suggests that there's no major hassle for companies to adopt its blockchain technology.

 

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"Our service integrates with existing venue ticketing platforms to provide a secure digital ticket delivery method, complementary to existing delivery methods such as pickup at will call or PDF print-at-home," he says. "It is a 'batteries included' service we architected to provide our clients with everything they might need to begin using it immediately upon installation."

That seamless approach also applies to the consumer experience. In fact, ticket-buyers will likely have no idea that blockchain technology is even being used, as digital tickets have been in play for some time now. The difference now is that event attendees can have peace of mind that a ticket is legitimate. It's "changing outcomes without changing behaviors," Zarracina adds.