NEW YORK (AP) — A recent concert featuring the dance duo LMFAO and rapper/producer Swizz Beatz seemed like a typical summer concert. But the fans who attended were actually taking part in an experiment in mobile ticketing.
The Billboard Summer Blowout party was billed as the first event for which every ticket distributed was done via mobile phones. Joshua Dziabiak, founder of ShowClix, the company behind the service, said the new MMS ticketing system was the first of its kind to be used in the United States and hopes the system will revolutionize the way ticketing works.
"It's the ability to have your event tickets delivered to your mobile device without having to print anything out," he said before Thursday's free concert. "It's a lot easier for patrons to remember their tickets."
ShowClix has been making mobile ticketing available for concerts for the past three years. When someone buys tickets for an event, instead of getting paper tickets, the purchaser has it sent to their mobile phone via a text message. Once they turn up to the venue and show their phone, another device is used to scan it.
The ecological benefits of the system are a big draw for brands looking to be more eco-friendly. In addition, without having to print paper tickets, the cost to the promoter is less, said Dziabiak, adding that the marketing potential is also endless.
Redfoo of the chart topping LMFAO supports the new system.
"My cell phone is my favorite device that I have, so the fact that people are using this MMS technology to let people know where the concert is the day before is fun. I'm all for anything like that," he said.
"Whether it's Twitter, YouTube, or an AP (Associated Press) on your phone, that's what the exciting thing about this whole movement is, we are so close to the fans. It's just really rewarding that way. ... This definitely is the future," added the "Party Rock Anthem" singer.
Gary Bongiovanni, editor in chief of the touring trade publication Pollstar, said increasingly venues are providing other options than the traditional printed tickets.
"Whether it's paperless tickets or print-at-home technology, instead of the guy ripping tickets at the door, he's sitting there with a hand scanner, and that technology seems to get deployed at a fairly rapid rate," he said. "It's not out there everywhere yet, but I can see much more of that."
He cautioned that an event that sold tickets only via mobile phone had the potential to be exclusionary. However, he noted that most people have a cell phone, and they are "just an extension of their hand."
He also added that it allows the seller to have a great deal of information about the fan, which these days is often invaluable.
"There's a lot potential uses for the technology once you've identified who the people are who are in the audience," he said. "A few years ago artists would play to a full arena and not have a clue who any of those people were, and today (they have) much more information."