Ticketmaster To Convert Event Tickets Into Digital Assets With Its Latest Acquisition

Ticketmaster, a ticketing software giant, has acquired UPGRADED, a live events blockchain technology firm.


Ticketmaster, a ticketing software giant, has acquired UPGRADED, a live events blockchain technology firm. The announcement was made in a press release published on October 18.

The ticketing behemoth looks to leverage blockchain technology to protect its clients from cases of fraud that continue to face traditional ticketing systems.

Ticketmaster, which has operations in 29 countries and oversees over 500 million tickets annually, hopes to use the acquisition with UPGRADED to give event organizers more control and to make the distribution process more transparent.

Leveraging UPGRADED’s unique technology, Ticketmaster will be able to digitize traditional tickets and protect them against tampering through encrypted barcodes.

As per the announcement, UPGRADED makes digitizing paper or pdf tickets possible without the need to make any replacement of the “existing access control hardware.”

Ticketmaster sees the newly acquired company as the best platform in this vertical, whose use of the emerging technology could provide it with an opportunity to serve millions of fans, artists and global client base.

Justin Burleigh, Ticketmaster’s Product Officer for North America said that exploiting blockchain would see it improve its ticketing, making the whole process safer and seamless.

UPGRADED’s founder and chief executive Sandy Khaund lauded the partnership, saying that Ticketmaster’s vast reach provided it with a “perfect platform” that will help it scale as well as bring blockchain technology to “millions of fans.”

Additionally, Khaund said that UPGRADED has extensive experience in the live events industry, a fact that will help ticket holders develop trust in the ticketing process while giving control to content owners.

Integrating the company’s team and technology into its operations seamlessly fits into the Beverly Hills, California, based company’s suite of products.

Its Presence platform allows users to control venue access and engage fans. Verified Fan and Blink Identity help event creators to sell tickets directly to fans and identify them via facial recognition respectively.

A division of entertainment juggernaut Live Nation Entertainment, Ticketmaster has dominated the ticketing industry individually and via multiple platforms on the network that include Ticketweb, Seatwave, TicketNow, and TicketHour among others.

Already providing services to several high profile customers in the sports and entertainment industry, the company recently tapped Tawn Albright for its specialized ticketing.

Ticketmaster facing class-action lawsuit

While dominant in the events space, the company has nevertheless found itself trending negatively of late.

In September, Ticketmaster attracted a barrage of criticism and had to face a class action lawsuit for allegedly allowing mass ticket scalping.

It is alleged that the ticketing market leader has allowed several fake accounts to violate company policies by running its ticket touting program. Apparently, the company has been enlisting “resellers” who seize vast chunks of tickets before flipping them for resell at higher prices.

The company has distanced itself from the allegations and has in the past sued individuals who use bots to grab tickets. Even then, many observers believe the revelations that Ticketmaster might be using a site called TradeDesk for scalping is a massive public relations nightmare.

Ticketmaster’s acquisition of UPGRADED comes hot on heels of a report that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) of blockchain-based and crypto-related businesses has increased significantly over 2018, shooting up by over 200%.

Tech giants including Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft have over the last few months been reported to be scouting the crypto market for individuals who can fill up blockchain related positions at the companies.

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