Paperless ticketing is emerging as a potential weapon in the efforts of some touring acts to eliminate resellers from the ticket-buying equation.

Tom Waits recently became the first recording artist to use Ticketmaster's paperless ticketing technology during his 13-date U.S. theater tour earlier this summer. Ticketmaster first offered paperless tickets during the NBA's 2007-08 season, when they were used by the Phoenix Suns, the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat.

Ticketmaster's expansion of its own secondary ticketing business this year through its $265 million acquisition of TicketsNow raises questions about how motivated the ticketing giant would be to encourage other touring artists to drop paper tickets. But even if paperless ticketing doesn't necessarily pose a threat to the overall secondary ticketing industry, it does provide a new option for artists keen on cracking down on resellers.

Paperless ticketing "can eliminate a lot of scalping and help keep ticket prices reasonable and in the hands of fans who want to buy them, as opposed to people who want to buy them just to resell them," says Michael Marion, GM of the Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Ark. "It sure beats [paying] quadruple the face value of a ticket."

Click here to read Ticketmaster senior VP of music David Marcus' thoughts on paperless ticketing, how the technology was used during Waits' tour, the drawbacks of paperless ticketing, StubHub's reaction to the technology, and the future of paperless ticketing.

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