Wristbands: Big Help Or Big Brother?

Live Nation is testing “smart-chip” technology in the U.K., using wristbands as an alternative to tickets to cut down on scalping. The question is, how powerful are the chips?

The wristbands have been tested at small festivals already. The bracelets can also be used to purchase food and drinks.

“Your ticket won’t be a paper ticket,” Live Nation U.K.’s John Probyn told the BBC. “It’ll be a wristband unique to you.”

Only the person whose name is embedded on the chip can gain admittance.

This idea has been floated for some time, but there has been concerns.

Live Nation has confirmed to Pollstar it will be RFID chips, which can trace a patron throughout the building. The marketing possibilities are enticing: Live Nation could, in theory, determine patrons’ favorite concession stands, where they congregate and even how much time they spend watching the actual performances versus perusing the grounds.

In fact, there could come a day when Live Nation, or any promoter using these same wristbands, could determine where patrons go after a show, such as a pub or restaurant.

If the wristbands are shipped in advance, the promoter could determine if a specific section of a city has more fans in it than another. It would be a godsend to the marketing department.

Of course, if that’s the case, there’s a downside: the public relations uphill battle of RFID’s “Big Brother” stigma.

Needless to say, ticket resellers are against anything that might limit the third-party ticket industry.

“If someone has spent their hard-earned money on a ticket that they can no longer use, then they should have the right to sell it on, whether it is a paper ticket, e-ticket or any other type of ticket,” Viagogo UK’s Edward Parkinson told the BBC.