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TheStreet Open House

Ticketmaster Finds Another Way To Cut Out Scalpers

RYAN NAKASHIMA

LOS ANGELES (AP) ¿ Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. has developed a new way to resell tickets that shuts out the brokers and scalpers it has long scorned.

The system relies on Ticketmaster's "paperless" ticketing platform, which makes customers prove their purchase by showing a credit card and ID when they arrive at an event. Without paper tickets, there's nothing for scalpers to resell.

Now with its new exchange system, Ticketmaster has come up with a way to let buyers resell a paperless ticket, while still cutting out ticket-resale leader StubHub and other brokers. That gives Ticketmaster a chance to capture more of the so-called secondary market, which generates greater fees and profits per ticket, although fans sometimes feel ripped off.

Paperless tickets still account for fewer than 1 percent of all ticket sales, said analyst Brett Harriss of Gabelli & Co.

But that could be changing. Prominent musicians, such as Miley Cyrus and even former Ticketmaster critics Bruce Springsteen and Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, have taken up Ticketmaster's paperless tickets. Nine Inch Nails' Web site called the move "an effort to keep tickets in the hands of the fans and out of the hands of brokers/scalpers."

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