The internet changed how we do business across the board. Think about what Amazon did for online shopping if you doubt this for a moment. Things are completely different now than they were 25 years ago. And when it comes to ease of access, that’s a really good thing.

The ticket industry is no exception here. Back before the internet, and even in its early days, the quickest way to get tickets to an upcoming event was to call the box office of whatever venue was hosting, and hope that you got through to a sales rep. If tickets sold out, companies like TicketMaster could take calls—but there was a big fee associated with this convenience. And even then, you were limited because it was just a handful of companies that were handling ticket sales.

Getting-tickets-then-vs-nowIf you didn’t want to spend $20 or more on shipping, your tickets would arrive in the mail a few weeks later. If you were ordering tickets a week or so before the show, you could pick them up at the will-call tent, which was usually located within walking distance of the venue. However, this could often be a hassle, especially if you weren’t a hundred percent familiar with the area and didn’t specify the right location. Oftentimes, this process could be a huge headache.

Today, this is a foreign concept to a lot of us. We are accustomed to being able to get what we want instantly. Even for physical items like clothes, home goods, and food, a purchase usually ends up at our doorway in less than 48 hours—and with free shipping, no less.

Why should we expect less from our tickets? Apps have really changed the game, and that’s a big win for me and you. Today, you can order a ticket from your phone, download it to your device, and then present that ticket to a gate attendant all within a couple of minutes. It’s usually not smart to wait to order tickets until the last moment, but if it’s something that you absolutely must do, you now have the option to do so. It’s a lot more convenient than the methods of the past.

At this point, paper tickets are almost entirely a thing of the past. They still serve a purpose, but they are becoming increasingly inconvenient and even more expensive to produce. Sure, paper is not all that expensive, but it tends to a be a lot more expensive than a .pdf file. Additionally, when you’re talking about tens of thousands of tickets being produced and printed at a time, to completely skip the steps that involve paper and ink eliminates a lot of time and expenses for the production company. There are costs associated with data, storage, and security, but these are much less, especially as technology progresses and these things become easier to produce.

Multiple companies working in the ticket industry have helped, too. Competition has made it so that prices need to be kept low for companies to attract business. The corporate world can be tough, but it makes it so that consumers like me and you have better choices when it comes to tickets and ticket apps.

The good news is that the future is even more exciting. There have been a ton of innovations in the ticket industry over the last 20 years, and there are likely to be even more moving ahead. We have no idea what kinds of leaps will be made in the future, but if the past is any indicator, they are only going to help the consumer—that’s you and me!—to be better able to enjoy themselves while out at a show.

So, stay tuned. The ticket industry has changed a lot, and the majority of those changes help us. It’s pretty safe to say that the future of tickets will keep doing the same.