Tick­ets for a Boss hog

National Post (Latest Edition) - - WEEKEND POST - Vi ctor Fe rreira Week­end Post

Buy­ing tick­ets to a Bruce Spring­steen show has never been a sim­ple process. And so, nat­u­rally, Tick­et­mas­ter looked to fix the prob­lem by over­com­pli­cat­ing it. For years, fans have bat­tled il­le­gal bots snatch­ing up dozens of tick­ets for ne­far­i­ous scalpers to hold for ran­som, only sell­ing to those will­ing to pay five times their price. To com­bat this, Tick­et­mas­ter has de­cided to hold tick­ets hostage for a se­lect group of fans in a new buy­ing for­mat called Ver­i­fied Fan.

Af­ter you sign up, the ticket out­let de­ter­mines whether you’re likely to flip the tick­ets or not by us­ing a sus­pect al­go­rithm based on how many times you’ve seen Spring­steen in the past. Only those who are “ver­i­fied” are sent a code via text mes­sage, grant­ing them ac­cess to the sales page. The rest are placed on “standby,” forced to stare at their phones for hours in hopes that seats will free up.

Un­der such a set-up, there’s an ob­vi­ous el­e­ment of ageism: pity the poor Mil­len­nial who will be com­pet­ing with a Gen­er­a­tion X’er who has fol­lowed the Boss since 1975. But as it turns out, even be­ing alive to vividly re­mem­ber the days of a Spring­steen who had an un­healthy ob­ses­sion for denim wasn’t enough. Within min­utes of the Ver­i­fied Fan codes be­ing sent out last week, waves of dis­grun­tled fans took to so­cial me­dia to voice their in­credulity over the fact that hav­ing seen the Boss 80 times in the past wasn’t enough for Tick­et­mas­ter to con­sider them true fans.

Sure enough, all 84 shows sold out while most fans never got past “standby.” As for me, I’ll be head­ing to Broad­way. My best hope was to en­list six friends who would be work­ing on my be­half to get tick­ets. All six of us anx­iously clutched our phones on two sep­a­rate Wed­nes­day morn­ings. I had one phone in each hand try­ing to will a text mes­sage to pop up on each one. Un­sur­pris­ingly, both screens stayed black.

It was only be­cause of Ver­i­fied Fan’s many flaws that one mem­ber of my ticket army was able to score Spring­steen tick­ets. He prob­a­bly can’t tell you the dif­fer­ence between “Born to Run” and “Born in the U.S.A.”, but ac­cord­ing to Tick­et­mas­ter, he’s more of a fan than I am. The com­pany will tell you Ver­i­fied Fan is a suc­cess, but there re­mains no fool­proof plan to give fans an equal shot at tick­ets with­out also alien­at­ing a ma­jor­ity of them.

How­ever, Tick­et­mas­ter could do me one favour in the mean­time: bring back the bots. I’d rather take my chances with them.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.