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It’s not ‘Bitcoin the Musical,’ but blockchain technology is coming to Broadway

Shubert Ticketing is launching a pilot program with a Boston-based startup that uses blockchain technology to reduce ticket fraud.

It’s not ‘Bitcoin the Musical,’ but blockchain technology is coming to Broadway
[Photo: Denys Nevozhai/Unsplash]
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Bots! Scalpers! Fraudsters!

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Buying tickets for a Broadway show can involve an awful lot of unwelcome drama, so it’s not surprising that some of the theater industry’s biggest players are looking for ways to make ticket buying more secure. One possible solution to ticket fraud is blockchain technology, which has a ledger system that allows new transactions to be recorded but not erased. And now the Shubert Organization, the biggest theater operator on Broadway, is giving it a try.

The organization, through its Telecharge and Shubert Ticketing division, has teamed up with a Boston-based startup called True Tickets, which offers a mobile ticketing solution that runs on IBM’s blockchain platform. The startup was one of two companies selected to take part in this summer’s inaugural Broadway Tech Accelerator—the results of which included pilot programs aimed at refining the ideas.

Today, True Tickets announced its pilot with Shubert will begin next year and will integrate the startup’s digital ticketing service into “targeted components” of Shubert’s ticket-selling businesses, including Telecharge.com and Broadway Inbound (its group discounts service), among others. The details are a little vague, but the companies say they hope the pilot will help reduce the risk of fraud and that buyers who have tickets sent to their phones through the service can be “guaranteed” that they’re real.

Ticket scams are common not just on Broadway but at almost any industry that relies on live events, including music and sports, so anything that adds transparency to the buying process could potentially be an improvement.

“At the end of the day, we aim to help our clients develop more meaningful relationships with their patrons,” Matt Zarracina,  CEO of True Tickets, said in a statement. “This pilot affords us the opportunity to do exactly that in a massive multichannel marketplace.”

They’re not the only ones experimenting with blockchain to bring more accountability to the ticket-buying world. Blockparty, a New York-based startup, has been using the technology in concert and event ticketing since at least last year.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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