The Death of the Old-School Hard Concert Ticket Is Imminent. How Sad.

When was the last time you made a journey through time and space to an honest-to-god Ticketmaster outlet. I don’t mean a box office at a venue; I mean a dedicated place with a counter and a window and a real-life person who handed over a ticket in exchange for money.

Yeah, me, neither. It’s been years.

Like public phone booths–they exist, but try to find one when you’re in a hurry–old-school Ticketmaster outlets have been disappearing. And if the information in this email from Jody is correct, they’ll all be gone soon.

Today I was in Lindsay, Ontario, with the express purpose of stopping by the Academy Theater.  This is one of  the few physical spots I know of where there is a Ticketmaster outlet, where you can go in and have tickets printed off right there for ou.  As I approached  the building I saw a sign on the door;  “This Ticketmater outlet will be closing on Sept. 30th, all purchases should now be made online.”

I was sad but not really surprised, even when I spoke with the lady working there and she informed me that EVERY physical Ticketmaster outlet was closing.  I wondered allowed If the company would continue to send “hard” tickets through the mail, as myself and many of my friends prefer hard tickets over printing them off at home.   The girl informed me that the practice of sending hard tickets was going to stop too, that your only options would be to print tickets off at home, or to pick them up at will call (where I assume they will just print them out like you could at home).

Could this be it?  Will I only get hard tickets now for big festivals?  I have a number of photo albums with stubs from my concert going history, is that just going to be a stack of paper stubs from now on?

I knew this day was coming,  I just wish hard tickets were going to last a bit longer.


This makes me sad, too. I have stubs of proper tickets of almost every single show I’ve ever been to since 1977. Somehow, collecting printouts from my computer or a bunch QR code images doesn’t quite sound the same.

PS: For those who believe we can stomp out ticket-buying bot programs by going back to the days of actually lining up for tickets: Line up where, exactly?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “The Death of the Old-School Hard Concert Ticket Is Imminent. How Sad.

  • September 18, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Sad. I’m a ticket keeper, too, and the events that only have ‘print at home’ drive me nuts. A sheet of white paper isn’t the same, nor are the thermal-printed ‘scan at entry’ stubs that fade in a couple of years. It was inevitable, I suppose.


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