People like technology. A lot. So it makes sense that a good portion of the consumer public is happy to embrace tech that makes buying safer and more convenient. With more and more companies offering ways to interact with digital currency services, the cashless revolution is right around the corner. Another step on that road, Appetize and Live Nation recently announced that all outdoor concerns from this Summer and beyond will be 100% cashless; providing convenience and security for concertgoers. 

Live Nation and Appetize Go Cashless

Appetize Live Nation

Millenials and Gen Z are returning to concerts and entertainment venues in veritable droves this Summer. As they do so, they’ll arrive to find that technology has caught up with their love affair of all things tech; most venues are offering a majority or fully cashless experience. The largest live music operator in the US, Live Nation, has announced that in conjunction with Appetize, it will be offering a 100% cashless experience. The conversion starts this Summer and will go beyond 2021. 

This change comes in the form of RFID wristbands and next generation contactless payment options including tap-to-pay credit cards and digital mobile wallets. These digital wallets include Google Pay and Apple Pay. Live nation’s team explains in a press release; “Powered by Appetize, these modern cloud solutions help increase convenience and safety by reducing touchpoint, speeding up service, and eliminating long lines and crowds at food stands for thousands of concertgoers.

Changing the way payment is handled was a priority for Live Nation. ‘We used Covid to do a lot of rebuilding infrastructure programs, product around Ticketmaster, but contactless was a big piece we accelerated,’ Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, who has led Live Nation since 2005, told CNBC last week. ‘You’ll now go to venues and you’ll be able to get in that venue, buy your ticket, buy that beer, buy that T-shirt contactless through your app through the web.’”

Along with concessionaire Spectrum, Live Nation and Appetize have designed these RFID wristbands to allow concertgoers to check into the venue, access premium events, and pay for goods such as food, drink, and merchandise. All while avoiding the exchange of potentially contaminated cash. Events this program will roll out during include Rolling Loud in Miami, Railbird Music Festival in Lexington, Kentucky (August 20 to 21); Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee (September 2 to 5); Governors Ball in NYC (September 24 to 26); and Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (November 12 to 14).

Pandemic Has Changed Our Love Affair With Cold Hard Cash

When the pandemic started and data was scarce about how the COVID-19 virus spread, one of the first things companies did was start limiting the exchange of cash between customers and workers. Millenials and Gen Z gleefully jumped on board, along with many Gen X shoppers; after all, they’ve been steadily turning to a more tech-centered life for years. For these groups, the change was made before the pandemic, but more opportunities arose as the pandemic progressed.

Switching to cashless is not just safer for the virus, it’s safer for customers. Because digital currency leaves behind a trail, it’s harder to spend in an illicit way, and you can password protect digital currency. At a glance, it would appear that all things are positive about a switch to a cashless world.

Critics, however, paint a grim picture of what people are missing in the rush to go digital. Mobile digital currency payment titan Square recently collected data looking at the switch to a cashless society, and a survey determined that most people believe society will be fully cashless in just over a decade. However, this leap forward is going to leave some of the country’s most vulnerable behind. The LA Times writes, “Consider that about 6.5% — or 8.4 million — American households don’t have a checking or a savings account with a bank, according to a survey from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The vast majority of them are Black or Latino — the same people who are getting COVID-19 at disproportionate rates, are losing their jobs at disproportionate rates and, in California, are so poor that they are becoming homeless at disproportionate rates.”

According to Square’s research, this is going to create a perfect storm as at the peak of the pandemic, nearly 31% of the country’s businesses were cashless – a percentage that should be rising steadily in upcoming years.  For families who are very poor, bank fees are often cost prohibitive, and losing even $10 to a bank fee can be devastating if they’re out of food or gas. So as more and more stores go cashless, and they lose access to vital goods and services, what is to be done? New Jersey has already taken steps to combat these inequities, banning cashless stores. Other states and cities are considering similar legislation. It’s a pressing issue that will need to be dealt with sooner than later.

However, luckily – Live Nation and Appetize are mostly spared from the burden of this worry. For special interest purchases like concerts, people either have the money or they don’t – so going cashless at these venues is extremely unlikely to negatively impact vulnerable families. For Live Nation, it’s about safety and security, and a necessary step forward. 

Other Big Companies Going Cashless

Appetize Live Nation

Live Nation isn’t the only company offering cashless experiences to an exclusive audience. Resorts World opened in Las Vegas in June, and the casino offers a wide variety of cashless options. Sightline and NRT also recently partnered together to offer more cashless options to casino guests at a number of venues.

Cantaloupe is a software and payments company that provides devices for vending machines and other self-pay equipment. They recently partnered with Bakkt Holdings to accept cryptocurrency and Bakkt loyalty points in their machines. 

Companies have a lot of incentives to go digital; convenience and security top among them. Plus, according to Live Nation’s press team, people tend to spend more impulsively when they’re using digital money. It’s easier to press a few buttons than count out dollar bills for that bit of merch you might not need but really want. So shoppers beware; the convenience might come with a slightly higher price-tag than you anticipated; but the good news is, that hat you probably didn’t need to buy looks really cute.