Ticketmaster U.S. has rejected claims that it is effectively colluding with scalpers through a software program that makes it easier for bulk buyers to resell thousands of tickets on the secondary market.
Last month, journalists from the Canadian media outlets the Toronto Star and CBC posed as small-time scalpers at the trade convention Ticket Summit 2018 and talked to a Ticketmaster representative about the company’s TradeDesk platform. The program is designed to help legitimate brokers to resell tickets on the secondary market but the report claims that that people were using the system to get around the limits on the number of tickets that can be bought by one person. The exec told reporters that he worked with brokers who had hundreds of Ticketmaster accounts and the parent company turned a blind eye to these activities.
The investigation prompted U.S. senators Jerry Moran and Richard Blumenthal to write to Michael Rapino, CEO of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation, seeking clarification on the use of the TradeDesk program.
“Ticketmaster does not have, and has never had, any product or program that allows ticket scalpers, or anyone else, to buy tickets ahead of fans and circumvent the policies we have on our site regarding on-line ticket purchasing limits,” he says.
According to Smith, TradeDesk is simply an inventory management system that takes tickets that brokers have already acquired – both from Ticketmaster and other companies – and organizes them so they can be priced and sold in multiple online marketplaces.
Because the system could not be used to buy tickets, it could not be used by scalpers to get around ticket purchasing limits. “We do not have any tools or programs – not TradeDesk nor anything else – that would allow users to circumvent ticket purchasing limits, buy tickets in bulk, or otherwise gain an advantage over other fans,” Smith stresses.
The Ticketmaster CEO adds that the company has spent considerable resources in the ongoing fight against ticket bots, which are the main tool used by scalpers to buy multiple tickets.
“Through a combination of data science, software and new technologies, we are now blocking an average of five billion bot attempts per month, and over 60 billion per year.”
Smith also pointed to the success of new products such as Ticketmaster Verified Fan and Ticketmaster presence, which he believe made it much harder for scalpers to circumvent the rules and exploit genuine music fans.