As the ruckus from Taylor Swift’s ‘Ticketmaster debacle’ simmers down, the ticketing space is quietly working on solutions. That includes VBO Tickets, which is road-testing a sophisticated queueing technology and finding early success.
Ticketmaster-bashing is now America’s favorite pastime — especially if you’re a Swiftie or a politician seeking re-election. But what are the solutions to managing hundreds of thousands of fans who are demanding tickets at the same time? That is now the million-dollar question challenging the industries of live concerts and ticketing.
Perhaps Ticketmaster’s headache spells opportunity for tech-focused ticketing players. Among these well-timed innovators is Silicon Valley-based VBO Tickets, which has been developing a queueing solution that neatly handles all-at-once crushes. The company has managed mass events involving over 100,000 simultaneous buyers and aims to scale those numbers soon.
VBO Tickets is a behind-the-scenes ticketing provider focused on small and mid-sized venues, artists, and events. Founded in 2012, the company has been powering built-in ticketing solutions for theaters, museums, comedy clubs, and music venues for years. Just recently, the company joined forces with DMN to further expand its footprint.
VBO has also been managing one-off events and festivals with an essentially ‘white-label’ solution that is typically invisible to the ticket buyer. Now, those events are getting bigger, showcasing the company’s technologies.
That includes its queueing solution, which has been handling increasingly-substantial crowds. VBO Tickets pointed Digital Music News to one recent success story in Europe, where the company’s queueing solution efficiently dealt with a crush of more than 140,000 prospective buyers within a two-hour timeframe. The company has also pressure-tested double that number in half the time.
“Our system performed flawlessly,” VBO Tickets founder and technology innovator David Boehme told DMN. “The thousands upon thousands of ticket buyers had a seamless experience. If a fan flies through their ticket purchase and nobody knows our name, we’ve made a happy customer for our client.”
Boehme said that while VBO Tickets could have tapped commonly used ticketing industry solutions to help it handle crowd crushes, the company chose to start from scratch. Boehme believes VBO Tickets has built a faster, more robust, and more secure queueing technology. This approach required more significant capital investment and resources, but resulted in a built-in feature immediately ready for client use while operating quietly in the background.
As soon as VBO Tickets identifies a high-load demand, Boehme says the platform’s queueing technology kicks in to manage simultaneous buyers.
This feature can handle surges without advanced preparations or additional per-buyer costs. “We have a 24-7 queueing system that’s always ready,” Boehme revealed. “We don’t need to be notified in advance, and there’s nothing to ‘turn on’ to start the queueing process.”
According to Boehme, another perk of the system is that queueing can be targeted to isolate specific buying subgroups. For example, if one promoter drives an unexpected surge of buyers without offering advanced notice, VBO Tickets’ queueing technology can isolate that surge without penalizing everyone else.
But is VBO Tickets ready for a Ticketmaster-level surge of purchasers? According to Boehme, the platform requires further testing in real ticket-buying situations.
“We can guarantee our capabilities to 95% of artists and venues. We can take care of most of the market,” Boehme continued. “We know we can handle the volumes that we’re aiming for. But right now, we’re looking at emerging to surging artists — not a Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift.”
Those are modest reflections, though VBO Tickets’ capabilities are growing. While its recent handling of more than 140,000 sessions sounds impressive, the company estimated that it could comfortably handle half-a-million simultaneous buyers.
Regarding throughput, VBO Tickets estimates it can process 2,000 ticket transactions every minute, translating into a smoothly sold-out amphitheater in roughly ten minutes. That same sellout would take a manageable forty minutes for a large-scale stadium. But Boehme points out that faster throughput can quickly scale if needed.
The company appears ready to flex its muscles on larger-scale events, which could further validate the robustness and security of VBO Tickets’ technology.
Meanwhile, Ticketmaster itself is undoubtedly working out better platform solutions. System crashes aren’t always bad news, especially when they involve record-breaking audiences. But getting grilled by legislators and regulators — many of whom are pushing for a reversal of the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger — is motivation enough to develop crash-proof systems and approaches in the future.