changing the music industry

Who needs tickets? Electronic wristbands take over music festivals, allow friend tracking, raise privacy concerns

Who needs tickets? Electronic wristbands take over music festivals, allow friend tracking, raise privacy concerns

electronic wristband
A concertgoer is instructed to scan her electronic wristband to get in.

Music and technology have always gone hand in hand, from 808s to the latest iPhone app. But the newest music-related innovation is changing the concert experience without altering the way music is made or consumed.

Electronic wristbands came into the mainstream for marathons and other races — participants are given radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that enable one to track runners throughout the race as they pass over tracking mats sprawled along the course. The tags are used to improve and measure run times and also to help friends or family to locate runners and know when they'll be crossing the finish line.

 The wristband instantly shares every detail of your festival experience to the world by linking access points to your Facebook timeline. 

Now Intellitix is expanding the use of electronic tags by integrating social media information and utilizing these wristbands at music festivals. It's pretty genius. The wristband instantly shares every detail of your festival experience to the world by linking access points to your Facebook timeline, which can help concertgoers locate their friends and help bands market their performances to larger audiences.

Even if you'd rather not let all your Facebook friends know you stopped to see Jason Mraz perform, one tangible benefit of the RFID wristband is its potential to speed up the festival entry process. Fans can quickly get scanned and admitted, avoiding lines and cutting down on counterfeiting. The wristbands can also function as a cashless payment system, eliminating the need to pay excessive fees at on-site ATMs, minimizing the chance of theft and encouraging users to spend more money.

The use of these wristbands once again raises questions of privacy versus convenience, but that doesn't seem to have stopped their spread. Intellitix debuted the tags last year and they've already been used by over a million concertgoers at major festivals such as Austin City Limits, Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. The wristbands are also appearing at sporting events, theme parks and exhibitions.

Have you tried the electronic wristbands? What do you think?