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Ticketmaster might not let you go to concerts without a coronavirus vaccine or a negative test

Published Nov 14th, 2020 1:15PM EST
Image: Julien / Adobe

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  • When live music eventually returns, concert-goers may have to verify that they either received a coronavirus vaccine or tested negative for COVID-19.
  • Ticketmaster is currently exploring a system whereby concertgoers could have their health information relayed directly to the company for verification.
  • In a best-case scenario, concerts likely won’t return until late 2021 or early 2022.

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it may be a long time before attending concerts is safe again. And even when concerts eventually do come back — which likely won’t happen until 2022 or late 2021 — the experience is likely to be a tad different in a post-coronavirus world.

According to a recent report from Billboard, events put on through Ticketmaster will likely require attendees to verify that they’ve tested negative for the coronavirus or received a coronavirus vaccine. The process for how such a verification process would work remains a work in progress, but the report relays it will likely involve smartphones and the participation of three partner companies.

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The report notes:

Many details of the plan, which is still in development phase, will rely on three separate components — the Ticketmaster digital ticket app, third party health information companies like CLEAR Health Pass or IBM’s Digital Health Pass and testing and vaccine distribution providers like Labcorp and the CVS Minute Clinic.

As currently envisioned, a concert-goer, upon purchasing a ticket, would instruct one of Ticketmaster’s aforementioned partners to verify their negative test result or vaccination with Ticketmaster. Following that, the concert-goer would receive some type of digital verification sent to their smartphone that corresponds to the credentials on the purchased ticket.

The underlying goal of Ticketmaster’s strategy is to ensure everyone is safely tested before the concert. While rapid onsite testing is an alternative strategy some have suggested, this approach would likely create something of a logistical nightmare. It’s also something of a dangerous approach given that the last thing anyone wants is for a person with the coronavirus to show up to a venue with thousands of other people.

All that said, Ticketmaster’s plan still has a few kinks to work out.

To date, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any third-party companies to provide the complex technology needed to deliver real-time vaccination results, but Ticketmaster president Mark Yovich expects the demand for digital screening services — which will be needed for airline travel, employment verification and theme park entry — will attract a new wave of investors and entrepreneurs to fuel the growth of a new COVID-19 technology sector.

Yovich’s wish might come to pass, but there’s also a strong possibility that the requisite moving parts required to make Ticketmaster’s plan feasible might not come to bear all that quickly.

The sad reality is that live concerts likely won’t come back for quite some time. Even with a coronavirus vaccine, the virus would have to be completely under control to justify such large gatherings. And seeing how things currently stand, an optimistic time frame would likely be the tail-end of 2021 or very early in 2022.

“Concerts bring together some of the highest-risk behaviors for COVID-19 transmission,” Public Health Professor Brian Labus recently told the Huffington Post. “We have large groups of people standing in close contact for an extended period of time while singing and cheering. Plus they would need to keep removing their masks to smoke or drink a beer. If we try to change these things, we would really change the entire concert experience.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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