Technology / 03.29.22
Ticketing and Web 3.0: Bridging the Metaverse and the ‘Actual-verse’
In January, my team and I were on-site with one of our clients, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida, and we were fortunate enough to attend their Gala Event — Jennifer Hudson performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the brand-new Steinmetz Hall. It is an amazing venue (you really should see it if you are in Orlando), and it was an amazing performance. The experience and engagement — for all intents and purposes — pretty much ended with the performance itself. The standard marketing efforts will be made (surveys, promotional emails and advertisements), but the performance itself is a memory. Enter the promise and potential of Web 3.0 and the Metaverse … the experience and engagement can live on! But before we get into the how, let’s level set on a few things.
A Bit of Background
First and foremost, this post is about ticketing and in-person events as they relate to the Metaverse and Web 3.0. If you are looking for a deep dive into Web 3.0 or a utopian or dystopian take, you’re in the wrong place. There are many good thought pieces that delve more deeply into these topics, like this one from Mike Troiano, as well as a contrarian perspective from Tim O’Reilly. My aim here is to provide a perspective of how to eventually make use of this tech in the in-person event space to drive both engagement and value.
Every successful tech startup has basically succeeded by abstracting the complexity of their technology out of their solution to make it more usable, impactful and scalable. Web 2.0 (the world we lived in for the past three decades) was no different. That is the primary challenge as we look to the future with a plethora of emerging technologies with massive potential and equally massive usability problems. At the end of the day, there needs to be real products that drive value.
Currently, Web 3.0 utility is talked about neatly in the abstract (essential for comprehension alone), but quantifiable value creation will ultimately be found in the specificity of the application. Let’s unpack that a bit. In a purely digital context and environment, it is fairly easy to see how that in a Web 3.0 world, the vision is one in which the users are the owners. Think of it like this: Today, when you use Facebook or Google, you’re essentially hopping on a flight from point A to point B. Facebook and Google offer you a free flight, but in return for that free flight, they keep your luggage — which is your data and is also very valuable. It is easy to see how in a 100% digital and tokenized environment, one can take the flight and keep their luggage while having fairly straightforward compensation schemes to choose from.
A Bit of Caution
To be clear, we are at the peak of the hype cycle with respect to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with Web 3.0 and the Metaverse not having peaked yet. I would advise anyone interested in exploring these concepts and technologies for real-life production purposes today to proceed with caution — neither are ready for prime time at present (but could be in time). We don’t have to go that far back to have lived a similar story with blockchain in 2017 (it took us around five years to bring DLT/blockchain tech to our space in a broadly useable and impactful way). There will be winners, but it will be very hard to know who they are today.
The Three Things Needed to Connect the Metaverse and the Actual-verse
1. Understand where you drive value both today and tomorrow.
Marshmallow performed a virtual concert for around 10 million people in Fortnite (essentially a precursor to the metaverse) in 2019. That is not sustainable nor realistic for any performer (whether it be music, performing arts or sports). The same thing that drives value in the metaverse drives value in the actual-verse: scarcity and uniqueness. For in-person event venues and organizations, it is a combination of your content and your space.
2. Create an engagement ecosystem.
It was nice to see the NFL replicate our NFT pilot in Miami by adding NFT collectables post ticket scanning, but creating significant long-term value will require a circular engagement ecosystem that bridges the physical and digital worlds for in-person events. Implementing a strategy that takes your fans and patrons from your real, physical event or venue to the digital world while also compelling them or new patrons in the digital world to come back is critical. Digital add-ons may help increase incremental revenue, creating an engagement ecosystem has the potential to 10 times your revenue.
3. Start from a position of accountability and trust.
This is the most important part and most provocative perspective I’ll put forth. Let’s assume Web 3.0 and the Metaverse are real and here to stay. For any industry that has a physical component to it (like in-person events), there will be a need for gateway infrastructure to enable all of this — on-ramps and off-ramps to and from the Metaverse and Actual-verse. If you do not think so, simply look at content counterfeiting on Cent. Without accountability and trust connecting your real-world operations and your digital experience, you are building on a foundation of sand. What will not change in the future is the connection between the ticket and the venue, gateway infrastructure will enable differentiated, next-level experiences while also driving business back to the event venue or organization.
What Will the Future Look Like?
The next time I happily depart from the Dr. Phillips Center after a Jennifer Hudson and the Royal Philharmonic performance in Steinmetz Hall, it could look like this* …
When I leave Steinmetz Hall, I’m gifted an NFT from the Dr. Philips Center (because they know who I am, know I attended the performance and know how to connect with me) via the Web 3.0 provider of their choice
That NFT is for a single replay of the performance in the digital twin of Steinmetz Hall in the Metaverse, and there are only 1,500 tokens available (to only those who attend obviously).
I can either chose to burn that token on the replay, gift it (maybe to my wife who was unable to attend) or resell it in the Metaverse (because an NFT is an asset and not a license) with specific remuneration rules around it (i.e., “smart contracts”).
Regardless of how the token is transacted, all transactions will require that valid contact information for the token recipient is inputted into the Dr. Philips Center constituent database.
Now the Dr. Phillips Center is not only able to monetize and engage their patrons in a new, value add, digital way by providing scarce, protected and unique content, they also have a new avenue for growing their in-person audience by reaching people in the Metaverse with a path to market the real experience to them next time they are in Orlando.
That is pretty damn cool and pretty damn powerful … and that is exactly what True Tickets is working to enable.
*Assume for the moment that the complexities associated with technology, digital rights management and financial agreements are sorted, and we are simply talking about the “what if” user experience.
This article was sponsored by True Tickets.
Tags: Sponsored Content , Metaverse