My wife and I have always wanted to go to Broadway to see Hamilton. We were especially envious when a friend of ours went recently. She paid over $900 for the privilege. At that price, we didn't want to go that badly. Since then, I always thought that the steep prices were due to the popularity of Hamilton. I was right, but what I didn't know was that ticket buying bots (as opposed to theater going bots) were buying up the supply and reselling the tickets for a profit.
This explains why some high-profile events sell out within seemly minutes of being open to the public. I learned that less than 50% of tickets are sold to the public. That is what we and the bots are competing for resulting in higher ticket prices due to lower supply/higher demand. The bots can buy more, faster.
The other 50% of tickets are held/reserved for industry insiders, artists, promoters, etc. Most those of those tickets, however, go to presales, like fan clubs, credit card special offers, and loyalty/affinity groups. The general public never sees these except perhaps for resale.
Life is about to get better for legitimate ticket holders competing against ticket hoarders who automate purchases with bots. On Wednesday, December 6, Congress passed a law making it illegal to buy large quantities of event tickets with the use of bots. Interestingly, the law is called the BOTS Act, or, Better Online Ticket Sales. If President Obama signs the law put before him, it will give the Federal Trade Commission the authorization to prosecute anyone violating the BOTS Act.
Let's see if this law makes it easier to buy theater tickets and at reasonable prices. To what extent these ticket bots use artificial intelligence to do its bidding to outdo humans, I'd be very curious. I am sure they range from simple to very sophisticated.
Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto.
"I want the thousands of tickets for shows, concerts, and sporting events that are now purchased by bots and resold at higher prices to go into the general market so that you have a chance to get them," wrote Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the hit musical "Hamilton," in a New York Times op-ed in June. "You shouldn’t have to fight robots just to see something you love."