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How the concert experience keeps changing

The concert experience has gone through a drastic transformation, and there are indicators that more changes are on their way.

Image source: 
Harry Rae

The concert experience has gone through a drastic transformation, and there are indicators that more changes are on their way. The first is where you get your tickets, and how you discover the acts you go and see. Instagram says 200 million daily active users visit a brand profile each day, and 34% buy things they first discover on Instagram. Now a partnership between the app and ticketing agency Eventbrite allows bands and brands to expand their audience considerably with a ‘Buy Ticket’ button. As you approach the venue, upcoming facial recognition technology will allow patrons in without the need for a ticket.

Ticketmaster has invested in an Austin, Texas-based company called Blink Identity to work on the process. According to Blink, this is what happens when you arrive; you walk at a normal pace past their system, without even having to look at the camera. It captures your image and in the blink of an eye checks it against a database of facial images. If the match is successful (and assuming you haven’t forgotten to bring along your face) a ticket is linked to the ticket holder’s profile. Entry into the venue through a door or turnstile is granted. If the opposite happens, a burly security person will be tapping you on the shoulder.

Alarm bells are clanging wildly over concerns about privacy. Live Nation – who own Ticketmaster – say the technology can be used by venue staff and promoters to communicate with patrons inside the venue, and indeed provide them with greater safety. The health system using the technology to keep an eye on patients suffering memory loss is a great example of a good outcome from the technology. But who will have access to the data? How about governments and corporations tracking where someone has been?  According to Bleeping Computer, researchers have developed techniques that can trick similar systems using printed photos of Facebook photos. How about hackers? What if a face changes from the original image via a new hairstyle, a beard or a weight change? The trend has started in America where stadiums are spending millions of dollars to change their designs to make them friendlier for big-spending millennials.

They tend to come to events in groups and bring their social networks with them.  Which means instead of 20,000 similar seats, venues will have seven or eight different configurations. Millennials like open spaces, to walk around in and interact – so suites will be reduced to a minimum. Millennials also like their experiences to be VIP and shareable. Think velvet rope services, personal bartenders, table service, and even pool parties with cabanas. As virtual reality technology becomes more affordable, expect the concert itself to enable more interaction between fans and the band onstage, as well as the possibility of a new ticket tier where fans buy tickets to watch from home. A stage show could be an interactive VR version of the album’s scenarios and artwork, creating a fantastically unbelievable live show.