Apple Envisions Phones Acting As Concert Tickets That Can Also Capture The Music

Apple is proving itself patently clever (sorry) by pushing Mobile retail interactions to a new level. What the digital content maestro filed to the U.S. Patent Office this month--on April 1, but it's no joke--is a way of using a smartphone to first purchase seats at a concert and to then literally use the device as the ticket to gain entrance and as the download location for a recording of the show when the concert is over.

This application is the latest in a series of concert-related Patents from Apple, but they all reflect ways of seamlessly integrating the phones into the experience. Each approach is not only merely more convenient than a paper ticket or a plastic credit card but also exponentially more natural and efficient. Apple certainly has its faults (No Flash? *sigh*), but it is fast-becoming the best company at envisioning ways to extend mobile capabilities in truly natural ways.

According to Patent Pending 20100082491, this mobile approach should be quite versatile. Apple envisions "a device for managing an electronic event ticket [that] may include a processor configured to run an electronic ticket management application, a memory device configured to store data associated with the electronic ticket management application, an electronic display configured to display at least a portion of the data associated with the electronic ticket management application, and an input/output interface configured to receive an electronic ticket and the data associated with the electronic ticket for management by the electronic ticket management application."

The Patent filing continues: "The electronic ticket management application may be configured to enable the electronic device to gain entry to an event and to obtain at least one other event-related benefit after the electronic ticket is received by the input/output interface."

Beyond convenience, the Apple filing envisions offering various electronic content goodies to make the value much greater, akin to the extras studios throw onto a DVD. Some of the goodies Apple envisions: "a live recording of an event, exclusive interviews with artists associated with the event, or studio recordings by artists associated with the event. The electronic tickets may offer other benefits, such as discounts on merchandise related to the event, discounts or prepaid refreshments for the event and other related content, such as a digital map to the event."

But by using the device to purchase food, beverages, t-shirts and other merchandise at the show, Apple goes beyond convenience because of the CRM potential. For the first time, producers can learn precisely which guests are purchasing which extras and for how much. With this approach it may be possible to identify high-value customers and give them free or deeply discounted future offers on the rationale that their ancillary purchases are so profitable. Perhaps one free ticket and 50 percent off another ticket if the customer agrees to use the mobile device for all purchases and event entry.

What if attendees see music they want to purchase at the concert? What if the content itself could be instantly beamed to attendees' phones and paid for on their devices (or their associated iTunes accounts) directly?