Tickets provide one-time access to events, while memberships offer long-term benefits with annual payments. But NFT ticketing is blurring the lines between the two.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may be a common moniker that has recently gained mainstream acceptance beyond the Web3 space, but it was only two years ago that NFTs experienced its own Cambrian explosion, kicked off by the successful auction of the work of digital artist, Beeple, which sold for US$69 million at Christie’s auction house. By the end of that same year, brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci had also launched their own line of fashion related NFTs.
The non-fungibility, or uniqueness, of each digital asset meant that no two are exactly the same. This in turn unlocked a whole new level of customer engagement that had never been seen before. NFTs have since expanded beyond being an art novelty, and its versatility has seen a growing demand for NFTs in the event ticketing market.
With its ability to be verified on a public blockchain whilst not being easily hacked or replaced, NFT ticketing is fast becoming a viable way to overcome the current hurdles of ticketing inefficiency. Moreover, it is blurring the lines between tickets that offer a one-time access to events and memberships with long-term benefits, to unlock a new form of customer engagement that combines the two through NFT ownership.
State of Current Ticketing And Membership Registration Methods
Long gone are the days of collecting wads of physical ticket stubs and membership cards. Instead, ticketing platforms have migrated from the physical to the digital realm where event-goers can purchase their ticket at a click of the button. Membership registration has moved the burden of proof from the registrant to the club, where personal information stored on servers can be easily verified.
But while the process has been digitalised, the accompanying assumption that they are automatically more convenient or reliable is not evident. Let’s take gym memberships for example. According to this compiled list of gym fees by Moneysmart, gym membership fees can cost anywhere between SGD$60 to SGD$300 a month to enjoy the amenities and equipment provided by the gym.
If a few hundred dollars a month sounds a little expensive, there are other cheaper memberships that lets registrants enjoy activities and amenities as well. For example, the local HomeTeamNS membership in Singapore lets users enjoy clubhouse facilities and discounts with local merchants for a hundred dollars or so. Global overseas memberships, such as the art fund membership in the UK for example, could be had for the equivalent of SGD$100 with free entry access and a regular magazine subscription.
The cost varies between different forms of membership, but it is their common inflexibility that hinders registrants from enjoying the membership that they had paid for. The package value applies unequivocally to every registrant, and it is not customised to the frequency of usage by the user. Imagine going to museum once in the last year under the art fund membership, and still having to pay the same amount as the person who goes every day. Not only is the burden placed on the consumer, but it also binds the membership to them with no opportunity to transfer the membership to others if they do not need the services or amenities any further.
Certain ticketing platforms also create a detrimental user experience thanks to their unreliability, along with the burden of additional costs for the end user and a lack of transparency. For example, event ticketing platforms such as Eventbrite and TicketTailor charges additional fees per ticket sold, and the popular Ticketmaster platform also adds on order processing fees, facility charges, and service fees to the original ticket cost. All these added intermediary costs cause ticket prices to skyrocket into the hundreds, making the experience of purchasing a ticket a detrimental one for buyers like us.
A prime example of how inefficient current ticketing experiences could be is the recent sales of Taylor Swift tickets earlier this year for the musician’s The Eras Tour. While the tickets sold out within minutes, the lack of reliability on the platform and ticket tracking meant that chaos ensued during periods of high-volume purchases, with fans receiving errors that their codes had been redeemed which led to hacking allegations. A lack of transparency also meant that scalpers could get ahold of tickets without resorting to fair means, and re-selling those tickets at exorbitant prices to actual fans who could not get the tickets.
How Do NFTs Blur The Lines Between The Two?
Non-fungible tokens are built with Web3 technology, and benefit from the immutability of transactions and smart contracts on the blockchain. Simply put, smart contracts are programmes that execute when predetermined conditions are met, and NFT ticketing platforms can pre-load parameters into smart contracts that govern, say, NFT concert tickets for example. Holders of these NFT tickets can then use them as an access pass, and unlock long-term benefits with them too.
For example, Web3 NFT Ticketing platform Unlock Protocol allows event organisers to customise parameters such as the ability to transfer tickets to others after minting. Organisers can also set up multiple NFT ticketing types to provide different benefits and access to their holders.
What’s more, NFT tickets unlock more than just a single event access; they are a fan’s gateway to a community built around their favourite group or idol, as well as exclusive perks and access. When it comes to music and NFTs, the heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold’s Deathbat club digital collectibles not only act as NFT concert tickets for their performances, it also allow holders to speak with the band online, benefit from streaming royalties, and attend meet & greets with the band too.
Closer to home in Singapore, larger brands such as McDonald’s are also hopping on the NFT bandwagon with the recent minting of its Grimace NFTs. Built in collaboration with Bandwagon Labs and local NFT artist The Hidden Walls, holders of Grimace NFTs can currently access more discounts than the average app user while joining a curated community chat and future exclusive events.
Speaking To The Web3 Panel At Peatix’s Backstage Pass Event
How has NFT blurred the lines between ticketing and memberships for businesses here in Singapore? We spoke to creative leaders who have been shaking up their niche with NFTs at Peatix’s latest Backstage Pass event series, Innovating Community Building in the NFT scene.
“Music artists around the world, and in Singapore, have all the tools to start making music at home. A lot of music songwriters are producing their own stuff which is amazing work. What other tools can they use on the blockchain? NFTs are one great tool they can utilise.” said Jaye Foo, an established musician in the Singapore music scene and serial entrepreneur who kicked off The Parlour Global brand. He is also the Chief Marketing Officer for Wush, which is building ‘the front door’ of Web3 to make Web3 exploration safer and easier. “They can use NFTs to fractionalise, to empower their fans, to give them access to a private membership experience or community where you reward the fans that have invested in you, be it their time or money. They should look at NFTs as a tool they can use to cut the intermediaries.”
And how would NFT ticketing benefit musicians as the technology continues to mature? “NFT will be a Swiss army knife…that we can use for ticketing.” Foo commented on the topic. “You can track each of these tickets as well. If it was sold for twice the price, the organisers will know. And whether that is something they allow or don’t allow; they can always flag and deactivate it.”
Jason Kang, the art director of digital agency GERMS Digital and founder of the NFT project, WeAreSG, comments that NFT holders of the project enjoys perks from businesses where “a large number of them are from F&B… and it includes, wine, beer, and even mocktails as well…we also try to cover other categories. So we have entertainment… fitness… and insurance also like NTUC income… which they gave a special rate for the insurance package.”
How has the NFT project blurred the lines for Germs Digital between its role as an agency, and now as a community project? “I don’t think it’s blurring the lines as much as it’s about resource management… the thing about an NFT project is also determining what you are trying to do with it… For us, right now, what we are trying to do is invest more time in it to build up a community… and a platform where people can come and keep themselves updated on the on-goings in Singapore.”
Despite being a well-known event ticketing platform with a global presence, Peatix is not resting on its laurels yet. It has launched its NFT Token Gating feature which allows Web3 organisers to verify attendees through their NFT passes on the Ethereum and Polygon network, while they focus on planning key activities for their community.
Efforts to introduce NFT ticketing are redefining the way brands and individuals interact with their audience, and the transparency of blockchain records plus easy verification means that fans could very well bid farewell to current ticketing inefficiencies such as technical difficulties and scalping. The expansive potential of NFTs is already blurring the lines between tickets and memberships, creating new ways of benefiting their holders.