Music Industry

Published on August 23rd, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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Could this Ticketmaster experiment kill ticket-buying bots for good?

Concert ticket-buying bots are evil things. With their ability to hammer Ticketmaster’s systems thousands of times a second, there’s no way us poor meatbags can compete. They need to be exterminated.

Ticketmaster hates bots as much as we do. And while the company continues to spend millions on AI and machine learning to outwit the bots–and billions of attempts have been blocked–somewhere between 10-20% of them still get through.

But now there’s an interested concert ticket experiment happening the UK surrounding for London shows by electronic musician Four Tet.

Tickets are on sale for £5–but that’s not the story. The only way you can get a ticket is through an app your mobile phone. There are not traditional online sales. In other words, no tickets are being sold through a browser.

At this point, ticket-buying bots can’t crack these kinds of sales, so theoretically, these gigs should be bot-free.

Another company called Dice has been experimenting with the same process. It’s been working well enough that Ticketmaster has jumped into the space and might end up buying Dice outright.

I like this. This won’t stop all scalpers, of course, and doesn’t deal with gouging on the secondary market, but when it comes to automated ticket-buying, it should work, right?

No doubt someone will come up with some kind of hack and this is a barrier to people who don’t have smartphones, but at this point is seems like an elegant solution to bots.

Thoughts? Holes to poke in the idea?




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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One Response to Could this Ticketmaster experiment kill ticket-buying bots for good?

  1. jholmes8 says:

    Its an app which seems to be the same as buying from the ticketmaster app, no clue what the new method you’re talking about is. Maybe i’m just dumb or you explained this terribly. Are you saying that bots usually target the website and they can’t target apps and they are considering only selling to those that have their app installed?

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