Apple sets its sights on event ticketing, patents reveal "Concert Ticket +"

Apple is looking to get into the concert and event ticketing business, according to recent patents discovered by Patently Apple. The patent describes an iTunes-based system and accompanying iPhone application called Concert Ticket +. Its aim is to simplify ticket purchasing and usage at a variety of events, including concerts, sporting events, amusement parks, trade conferences, and even weddings.

There’s no telling how this relates to the current concert ticket industry. Everybody hates Ticketmaster, the largest concert ticket company in America, which just recently merged with Live Nation to become Live Nation Entertainment, a veritable powerhouse (and potential monopoly) of concert promotion and ticket sales. Consumer advocate groups are fighting against the merger via sites like ticketdisaster.org, but it was recently given the go-ahead in the U.S. by the Department of Justice, and it also received regulatory approval from Norway and Turkey.

Apple could potentially compete with the Live Nation Entertainment empire by offering lower fees to consumers. And of course, there’s the potential for discounted merchandise and other benefits. But it would still have to work through Live Nation Entertainment to gain access to the majority of event tickets, so it remains to be seen just how revolutionary Concert Ticket + will be.

On the surface, this appears to be Apple’s attempt at pursuing “360 deals”, which are basically arrangements where companies pay exorbitant advance fees to artists in exchange for a stake in every aspect of their revenue. For companies like Live Nation, it usually includes concert tickets, merchandise, and album sales — although Apple probably isn’t as concerned about album sales since it’s already getting a nice chunk of that via the iTunes Store.

A major benefit of a system like Concert Ticket + is that it avoids the hassle surrounding paper tickets. A completely electronic ticketing solution means that you no longer have to wait for tickets in the mail, get them printed out, or pick them up at the ticketing office of an event — instead, your iPhone holds your ticket. The patent demonstrates ticket kiosks scanning a bar code from the iPhone’s screen, but also hints at the possibility of near field communication interfaces in upcoming iPhones — technology like RFID which would allow your iPhone to communicate with nearby devices wirelessly.

In addition to ticketing, the Concert Ticket + system also gives users access to bonuses like discounts on merchandise and refreshments, and access to additional media related to your event. Potentially, it could be used to get access to a live recording of the concert you just attended.

In terms of other events, the patents show how it could be used for something like Apple’s upcoming Worldwide Developer Conference, which is slated for June 28th to July 2 this year. It could just be for demonstration, but there’s a possibility that we may see Concert Ticket + in a few months.

[Image via Patently Apple]


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