Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ticketmaster invests in facial recognition tech so you can see Hoobastank faster

Illustration for article titled Ticketmaster invests in facial recognition tech so you can see Hoobastank faster
Photo: Spencer Whalen (EyeEm via Getty Images)

Ticketmaster is committed to getting you the best concert ticket for the best price. Ha, okay, that’s not even remotely true, but it sounds nice, doesn’t it? And once you hear about the company’s new plan to attempt mass surveillance via VeggieTales performances and Kid Rock shows, you’ll miss the days of ticket-centric propaganda.


According to The Verge, Ticketmaster and Live Nation (collectively known as Live Nation Entertainment) have invested in Blink Identity, a company that claims to have developed technology that can scan and identify people passing by in half a second, at “full walking speed, without having to slow down or look at the camera.” The dream, presumably, is for people to simply be able to walk right into a venue, with no need to stand in line and present tickets. In a message to investors, Live Nation touted Blink’s technology as potentially doing just that: a way to “associate your digital ticket with your image, then just walk into the show.” At last, a way to embrace the sunny digital utopia envisioned by films like Minority Report, only with a presumably service charge for the privilege.

Making all of this especially enticing is the idea that it would require Ticketmaster and Live Nation to maintain a vast database of customers’ faces and information, a further erosion of any privacy or anonymity in today’s modern world that people will doubtless be fine entrusting to Ticketmaster, as long as they forget the company’s entire history of monopolistic and exploitative business practices. (It’s important to note these allegations have not been proven in court, they’re simply alleged, by lots and lots of customers, clients, and former partners, including probably everyone who’s ever had to buy a ticket through them, but especially anyone with functioning eyes and brains.)

Making all of this unlikely to happen any time soon is the standard practice of searching people’s bags at concerts, a process that more or less renders moot any potential savings on fewer staffers or ease of entrance. Still, it’s yet another fun and engaging way to bring military-grade tech into everyday life—as Consequence Of Sound notes, Blink Identity’s founding team “spent the last decade building and deploying large scale biometric identification systems in the Middle East for the Department of Defense.” Finally, the ease of identifying terrorists, put to work for Hootie And The Blowfish fans. Soon, we’ll just be able to enter a venue and have a helpful Alexa-like drone descend next to us and announce to anyone within earshot, “Hi John! Still planning to attend that Three Doors Down show next week?” Which will naturally lead to Ticketmaster’s next innovation: Assigning a fake name to bands you don’t want anyone to know you’re going to see.