The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is one of the largest and most architecturally significant venues of its kind in the United States. Renowned architect Cesar Pelli’s preservation of the seven-story Art Deco tower from the former Sears store on the site is creating a thriving arts scene and entertainment district over the last two decades.

While COVID-19 has robbed the Arsht of the highly visible, large-scale performances it has hosted since 2006, the venue has stayed vital by pivoting and offering smaller, pop-up, and virtual programming.

Now, as it identifies new ways to host small-scale, outdoor, in-person performances, the Arsht Center is leveraging blockchain technology as it welcomes back artists, performers, and patrons. The Arsht Center will utilize the True Tickets service to provide secure contactless digital ticketing, enabled by the IBM Blockchain Platform, for its first public, in-person show on 20 November. Cuban timba pioneer Aymeé Nuviola will kick off the Live on the Plaza series before over one hundred socially distanced attendees at the venue’s outdoor Thomas Plaza for the Arts.

Deploy the IBM Blockchain Platform across multiple environments

“While our work with True Tickets began as an initiative to keep tickets in the hands of our community and out of the hands of brokers, their mobile ticketing solution is, now more than ever, a critical component of our safety protocols,” said Nicole Keating, Assistant Vice President, Business Intelligence at the Arsht Center.

Through blockchain, the digital ticketing solution provides these benefits:

  • Contactless mobile delivery of event tickets for increased patron safety and convenience
  • Security for ticket purchases via blockchain encryption
  • Rights management through smart contracts that enforce business rules and put control in the hands of the ticket issuer
  • Protection against fraud and scalping by ensuring traceability, authenticity and fair pricing for all tickets sold

When the music stops

The runaway musical success Hamilton was just hitting its stride at the Arsht Center when the pandemic broadly shut down county facilities and other large venues on 13 March, and that’s how the center remained for the better part of the next six months. By mid-summer, the Arsht Center had canceled no fewer than 160 performances.

On 17 September, Miami-Dade County lifted the emergency order that had closed the Arsht Center, albeit with many restrictions. Since then, the venue has been active with community-based, virtual, and private shows with an eye toward fully reopening with big-ticket, in-person productions by Spring 2021. The venue is referring to this in-between period as its “Interlude,” experimenting with new approaches to programming, performances, and engagement.

The 20 November show kicks off a series of socially distanced events and performances featuring Miami-based artists. Partnering with True Tickets enables the Arsht Center to ensure the Interlude is safer for both patrons and employees. With secure contactless digital ticketing, the Arsht Center can remotely issue tickets thereby minimizing in-person interactions. The True Tickets service also lets venues better understand who is actually attending their shows, not just who is purchasing tickets, helping organizers communicate updates or safety protocols directly with attendees.

“Our service enables venues like the Arsht Center to meet new health and safety measures while also improving the overall ticketing experience,” says Ken Lesnik, head of sales at True Tickets. “Our service also doubles as an event management service in the event of a performance needing to be rescheduled and provides the options necessary for exceptional customer service.”

A “must-have” for venues

The collaboration between the Arsht Center and True Tickets began two years ago with a focus on keeping tickets in the hands of its community at fair prices and thwarting the efforts of brokers in the secondary market. The resulting service True Tickets pioneered not only tackles some of the biggest challenges for the Arsht Center but also those facing the ticketing industry, like fraudulent tickets and scalping by ensuring traceability, authenticity, and fair pricing.

Those kinds of solutions are in high demand. Tessitura, the enterprise CRM that powers museums, performing arts organizations, and other attraction-based venues like the Arsht Center, recently entered into a partnership with True Tickets to offer its service to more than 700 nonprofit arts and culture organizations across the globe.

“True Tickets addresses some of the most persistent challenges facing performing arts venues, as well as some of the newest,” said Jack Rubin, CEO and Co-founder of Tessitura Network.

For decades, the ticketing industry has been evolving to solve some of ticketing’s thorniest problems — the secondary market, improved price control, and rights management. Technology offers a way forward to solve these problems and more.

The True Tickets service, built on The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric and run on IBM Blockchain, is quickly attracting fans. Late last year True Tickets partnered with Shubert Ticketing to bring secure digital delivery ticketing services to operations on Broadway. Randi Zuckerberg recently joined as a strategic advisor when Zuckerberg Media subsidiary Broadway Beta Ventures invested in True Tickets. Now as True Tickets expands on its work with the Arsht Center and the Tessitura Network, performing arts venues have access to solutions to help them reopen safer.

“Since the pandemic, True Tickets has gone from nice-to-have to must-have,” said Nicole Keating, Assistant Vice President, Business Intelligence at the Arsht Center. “Ticketing can make the difference between a memorable experience and a disappointing one.”

From time to time, we invite industry thought leaders, academic experts and partners, to share their opinions and insights on current trends in blockchain to the Blockchain Pulse blog. While the opinions in these blog posts are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of IBM, this blog strives to welcome all points of view to the conversation.

This use case on the story of True Tickets will be followed up by more examples of how blockchain services are being used in various industries to help solve real world problems. Be sure to read future articles such as Invoice Reconciliation, or schedule a free one-on-one consultation to find out how you can benefit from this solution.

Schedule your free one-on-one consultation with an IBM Blockchain expert today


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