Miley Cyrus Goes Paperless

Hoping to avoid some of the problems and controversy around her last “Hannah Montana” tour, Miley Cyrus will be the first major artist to employ paperless ticketing for a full arena-level tour.

Figuring the best way to avoid ticket scalping is to get rid of the physical ticket, Ticketmaster is using the Cyrus outing as a sort of shakedown cruise for a system it tested last year with Tom Waits’ tour of smaller venues.

Tickets for the Cyrus tour can be redeemed only at the door on the 45-city trek, using the credit card with which they were bought and photo identification.

The credit card is swiped at the door and a scanner will print a “seat locator” stub that the customer can then use to find their seat.

Ticketmaster says it will provide dedicated staff for all shows to work out any issues that arise.

Secondary marketers and scalpers are, to no one’s surprise, not pleased. Some cited the potential for turnstile gridlock as patrons wait to have their credit cards scanned and IDs checked, problems with lost or stolen cards, or confusion over “tickets” given as gifts.

StubHub spokesman Sean Pate went so far as to insinuate that paperless ticketing could put youngsters at risk.

“On Craigslist you’re going to see these listings saying, ‘Hey, 13-year-old girls, I’ll meet you at the venue and get you into the show,’” Pate told the Wall Street Journal.
Other secondary marketers avoided the scare tactics but were no less emphatic.

“They’re using their monopoly on the primary market to lock up the secondary market,” TicketNetwork CEO Don Vaccaro told the paper.

And, if the system proves successful, it may not be a matter of locking up the secondary market but effectively eliminating it.

Many states that once had strict anti-scalping laws on the books have eased up on or eliminated them in recent years as unenforceable, given the latest technology and proliferation of auction sites such as eBay and bulletin boards like Craigslist.

If there was ever a tour to roll out a paperless system, few could argue against the Miley Cyrus trek. Her 2007-08 outing became a flashpoint for critics of scalpers, the secondary market and Ticketmaster when desperate-to-please parents were frustrated in attempts to score those golden “Hannah Montana” tickets at almost any cost.

This time out, in addition to the paperless ticketing system, Cyrus will reportedly also offer pricey VIP packages.

She’s come under fire in some media outlets that erroneously claim she’s “scalping her own tickets” rather than offering a value-added opportunity. Ticketmaster’s I Love All Access division reportedly will offer the packages that include prime seats, and invitations to meet-and-greets and other perks.