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Live Nation buys into facial recognition company

LN has invested in Blink Identity, which uses biometric IDs to control event access… as Ticketmaster's ex-CEO launches a facial recognition-powered platform of his own

By Jon Chapple on 08 May 2018

Blink Identity's facial ID scanning can handle over 60 people a minute, the company says

Blink Identity's facial ID scanning can handle over 60 people a minute, the company says

image © Stck w/Wikimedia Commons

Live Nation has invested in Blink Identity, a Texas biometric ID start-up whose technology could allow ticketless entry into events using facial recognition.

The announcement was made in Live Nation’s wide-ranging Q1 2018 earnings call, with CEO Michael Rapino saying the company’s “partnership with, and investment in, Blink Identity” could enable concertgoers to “associate your digital ticket with your image, and walk into the show”.

Responding to a question from William Blair & Co analyst Ryan Ingemar Sundby, Rapino said the integration of Blink’s technology is testament to Ticketmaster’s willingness to work with outside parties to improve the concert experience.

“These are some very talented guys that have come out with what we consider to be a very interesting technology, which lets you tie in your overall identity to the ticket,” he said. “For us, it’s part of what we’ve tried to redefine Ticketmaster as over the past several years.

“Whether this becomes the solution for everything, or an interesting product for a number of clients, is to be determined”

“One of the reasons why we think [Ticketmaster] is more successful now is that we’re willing to look at outside technologies, outside partners, and how we can bring them in and enhance the overall fan experience, [to] make things more effective for venues.”

“Whether this becomes the solution for everything, or whether this becomes interesting product for a number of clients, is to be determined,” added Rapino. “We just think it’s an important part of where we’re moving the Ticketmaster DNA to.”

Whether by accident or design, the partnership comes as Nathan Hubbard – formerly CEO of Live Nation’s Ticketmaster, and later head of commerce at Twitter – announces the launch of a facial recognition-powered ticketing platform of his own, Rival. By “tying access to biometric identity (through our facial recognition platform)”, Rival will, writes Hubbard, “give teams and artists control over each individual seat in real time: its price, where and when it’s sold, who gets access, what else it comes with and more.”

Rival will formally launch next year, and has already signed deals with the English Premier League and more than ten US sports leagues, according to Sports Business Journal.


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