guitarist on stage
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The Islington Assembly Hall is the first gig venue in the UK to introduce digital-only ticketing.  Concert-goers must buy tickets through the DICE app.

The venue have made the change to try and stop the flow of tickets to touts.

Why digital tickets?

Touts reselling tickets is a huge problem for venues, bands, and fans.

Secondary sellers add a huge premium on ticket prices.  Leaving fans having to pay over the odds for a ticket.

This is nothing new of course.  Touts have been a familiar sight at big events for decades.

ticket changing hands

But touting is now at another level.

Sophisticated software enables resale sites to scoop up hundreds of tickets at a time.  Leaving less tickets for genuine fans.

Secondary sites will often have tickets for resale within minutes of their official release. Usually at vastly inflated prices.

By using digital tickets the Islington Assembly Hall are trying to limit this supply.

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How do digital tickets work?

Purchased through an app the ticket is stored on the buyer’s phone.  To enter the venue the concert-goer shows the ticket on their phone.

This means a physical ticket doesn’t exist.   And only the buyer will have the info on their phone.  This system makes selling the ticket, or buying tickets in bulk to resell, difficult.

concet goer with ticket

Hang on, I don’t have a smartphone

Those without a smartphone can still buy tickets.  But, the buyer still needs a standard mobile phone.

The buyer purchases the ticket online as normal.  The venue then sends a code.  The ticket is confirmed when the code is entered to complete the purchase.  The buyer must then present the confirmation email and a form of ID to gain entry to the gig.

The Islington Assembly Hall have partnered with DICE as their ticketing partner.  Speaking to The Telegraph Russ Tannen, head of music for Dice, said “We have tickets that live within the Dice app and the QR code only activates an hour before the event stars.

“And it’s an animated ticket, so when you tilt the screen you see the movement.

“When venues ditch tout-friendly paper tickets and embrace mobile, literally everyone wins except for the touts.”

Fan to fan selling

There will always be a secondary market.  But many leading bands and venues are urging fans to use Twickets.  This site encourages fan to fan selling.

But Twickets only allows reselling at face value.  This marginalises the touts.  Allowing genuine fans to buy tickets without being ripped off.

crowd at gig

The end of the touts?

Whether a gig, sports event or first night at theatre, demand will often exceed supply.  Desperate fans will pay over the odds for a ticket.

Which is why touts and the secondary ticket market is so lucrative.  But digital tickets could change that.

The Islington Assembly Hall is the first venue to go completely digital.  But plenty of bands have tried to prevent tickets falling into the hands of touts.

Ed Sheeran requires fans to produce four forms of ID to access a venue.  And the Fanfair Alliance are actively campaigning against the secondary ticket market.

Touts will always be around.  It is inevitable the odd ticket or two will end up in their hands.

But digital tickets can put a stop to the industrial scale touting which plagues every big event.  And that will ensure more tickets are available at face value for fans.

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  1. I went to the Islington assembly hall last week and had a physical ticket which is nice as I keep all mine in a special folder and look back on all the great memories

  2. great digital tickets..
    but this means the touts (or other bad guys) will just concentrate their efforts on fake ticketing websites offering deals, promotions and other hooks to catch the unwary.. and take a payments or just catch the creditcard numbers.

    4 forms of ID seems a bit ridiculous. whats that, passport, driving license, bank statement, birth certtificate… hmm, bet the pickpockets at events that need all that lot are making a fortune.. excited , possibly tipsy people all distracted by noise and lights in a huge inpenetrable crowd.. easy pickings.

  3. Something has to be done am sick of never getting a look in when I want to take my 2 daughters somewhere special
    The touts are not someone down the pub but greedy global companies


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