The Lumineers worked with AEG to implement paperless ticketing for their show at the Ogden
The Lumineers are virtually inescapable these days -- in the world of music, obviously, but also in the realm of pop culture: From being in constant radio rotation across the nation to being name-dropped as a part of incidental plot lines on TV shows like Nashville, the Denver-based, Grammy-nominated act has received an enormous amount of exposure since its album was released last spring. As a result, the band is now in extremely high demand, and so are tickets to its shows, particularly when they're sold out. So it was odd not to see a single scalper hawking tickets on Colfax outside the group's recent shows at the Ogden Theatre -- odd, but not a coincidence, we've discovered.
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For their New Year's Eve run at the Ogden, the Lumineers specifically requested paperless, non-transferable ticketing. While this isn't exactly a new approach -- flash tickets are commonplace at places like the Pepsi Center, and several other well-established acts have explored paperless ticket entry in an effort to circumvent scalping -- it is one that you don't typically see at smaller concerts like this. Generally it's something you see employed at arena shows, and at that level, the venue is usually equipped with handheld scanners to help facilitate the process. At the Ogden, AEG's Axs ticketing platform facilitated the entire process.
"It's a two-edged sword," says Don Strasburg, vice president and senior talent buyer for AEG Live Rocky Mountains. "It obviously has a tremendous impact on the ability to resell tickets, if it's implemented in a forum that requires no transfer. However, it can be very difficult, because there are two major issues that come up with these things."
One of the potential drawbacks Strasburg is speaking of is an added requisite that requires the person who purchases the ticket to actually be on hand for admission. If you're that person and you're going to the show, no problem, obviously. But say you purchased a block of paperless, non-transferable tickets for you and your buddies, but then, for whatever reason, you couldn't make it. You'd still need to be present for the tickets to be accepted -- or you'd need to send the credit card that purchased the tickets with your friends.
"Think of it like getting on an airplane," Strasburg explains. "An airplane is a paperless -- or basically a non-transferable -- ticket. You can't go on in Mom's name. The difference is is that your mom can buy you a ticket. You couldn't buy a ticket for another person," unless, of course, you plan on going to the show or sending along your credit card. But even that last option is a concession on the part of the promoter to help make the whole experience easier on the fans while still accommodating the band's request. A stricter approach would have gone a step further and required fans to present an ID that matched the credit card.
Logistically speaking, things went really well for the Lumineers' shows. "The new Axs ticketing we have at the Ogden worked flawlessly for this," notes Strasburg. "A lot of effort was put into it, and it worked flawlessly. We were thrilled with how smoothly this non-transferable paperless ticketing went with the Axs ticketing system. We took a great deal of pain to make it easy on everybody -- talking to them, really working it through; we had extra staff and everything like that...
But even though this approach was successful for this show, there are no immediate plans to convert to the system for upcoming concerts, unless the show itself calls for it, and then it will be considered. "For shows coming down the pike that are kind of special underplays at the Ogden and venues like that," says Strasburg, "we will probably look at using it again."