Category Archives: Ticketmaster

Suddenly It All Looks So Familiar

Happy whatever-day-this-is! I honestly am not sure. It could be Wednesday, but it also might be Monday. Or Friday. I really don’t know anymore. I am still struggling with giving out my current address correctly, so there you go!

It is currently 26 degrees (That’d be Fahrenheit) outside of my house. That’s up from 24 earlier this morning, and the 22 it was at about 3am (so my phone tells me). I’m obsessed with the temperature, so it may seem. I went from having no winter to speak of, to actually being below freezing from time to time. There are actual jackets hanging in our mud room, and boots waiting at the ready. This is exciting! It takes so very little to amuse me….

Don’t you know it?

This morning, I was alerted that my email had changed for an application I frequently use, and unfortunately it was done without my knowledge or permission. That led to me changing my passwords in a few different places, one of which being Ticketmaster.

I went to the site and logged in without a problem, and headed to change my password. How hard could it be? I typed in my old and new passwords, then hit “save”. From there, I was redirected to a page that said “The page you were trying to access was timed out.”

Ok, maybe I did take too long in thinking up a new password, I thought to myself. Fine. I went back and did it all again, speeding up the process. Nope. Once again I was sent back to the same page, indicating the time-out again.

And again, and even one more time because I just had to be sure. I tried logging completely out, clearing my history, and trying again. Surely it had to work, right? I mean, this place handles thousands of tickets and queries each hour. What’s a password change?

Nope. This is Ticketmaster.

They can drag me to the gates of hell now…

I don’t think I know of a single Duran Duran fan who hasn’t had their own share of trouble with the site. Tickets not being available, the site locking them out, or even credit cards not working that should have – I think most everyone has struggled at one point or another. If you haven’t, count yourself lucky, I suppose. I can now count myself among those who has had trouble with not only a pre-sale, but just with my account in general.

Rhetorically, I have to wonder what in the hell is the problem. Is it really that difficult to keep a site running? Is there that much traffic…on a Wednesday (yes, I checked and it is really Wednesday), that the site can’t manage?? Here I am, trying to be proactive and keep my account details current and still private – and the dumb site can’t even allow that to happen without torture.

I know that DDHQ truly believes that the only reason fans complain about Ticketmaster is because we didn’t get the best seats, or because we’re spoiled rotten. They might feel as though we blame them for issues with Ticketmaster. I can see why they’d feel that way. After all, using myself as a case in point: rarely do I bother to post when Ticketmaster has been especially kind. Fans tend to focus on only giving feedback when something goes wrong, rather than saying “Thank you” when things go right. I get it.

I’m not running away

I think the frustration from fans comes from the fact that even though many of us have shouted from the rooftops about Ticketmaster and their ridiculous process – nothing ever seems to change. Our concerns fall on what seems to be deaf ears. The problem is twofold: on one hand, Ticketmaster doesn’t care. Tickets go on sale, and someone buys them. Whether man, machine or both – the tickets get sold and that’s all they care about. They’re not going to change a damn thing because they don’t need to – they’re getting paid. On the other hand, fans don’t have a good understanding of how it all works. So, when things don’t work, they complain to the one set of people they “know”: DDHQ.

It doesn’t seem as though fans have a good understanding of how the money flows from ticketing agency – to venue – to management, and then to band. It certainly isn’t as though it’s an open process, either. For example, I know people who believe that it is the band that decides where to tour. I think they envision them sitting around a table with a map and a Sharpie. Others believe that DDHQ has a personal vendetta against fans, so they choose to work with Ticketmaster. Very few fans understand what the band (or DDHQ) has control over, so the blame game runs wild.

I’m still hanging in

My experience this morning has nothing to do with DDHQ, or Duran Duran for that matter. It is 100% Ticketmaster. I’m just using this forum – my own fan blog – to put it out there. The fact is, if we can’t even get the system to work when it comes to our personal account information or security, how on earth can we expect it to work for ticket sales?

Once again, I find myself incredibly frustrated with the machine, with incredibly little I can do to change any of it. When there is a monopoly such as this, there is no incentive to make sure the system works at all, never mind fairly or across-the-board for everyone. Ticketmaster’s concern over my personal details is infinitesimal. Even if I can’t get online or into my account to buy tickets, somebody else will. It isn’t about providing good service, it is about money.

Ain’t no final showdown…

Yet, when tickets go on sale for shows again, rest assured I’ll be online trying to buy them. Which is the #1 reason Ticketmaster will never change.

-R

The cold harsh reality of ticket scalping

 

Recently, I ran across an article by Consequence of Sound that didn’t surprise me one bit, yet reading the words infuriated me anyway. Surely you must know what I mean: when something tells you what you already know, even so, it makes you angry to read the words in print. That was my reaction when I read the headline alone.

“Ticketmaster has been reportedly been enlisting scalpers to purchase tickets in bulk, and then resell them at higher prices on the Ticketmaster-owned platform, TradeDesk.”

https://consequenceofsound.net/2018/09/ticketmaster-scalper-program/

I have to ask, just how many people are surprised to read any of that? I doubt many, particularly if you’ve gone to many concerts over the years. If anything, you read the headline and while you weren’t shocked, you are definitely at least a little angry.  Even though as of Friday morning, Ticketmaster denies any such claim, it is hard to imagine that the reports weren’t just wild accusations.

Here’s the thing, we all know Ticketmaster condones at least some form of secondary marketplace because they run one. It is on their website, and the reseller tickets are offered right alongside the regular ones. These tickets are sold by private individuals, but Ticketmaster facilitates the sale. Yes, as Ticketmaster admits through a disclaimer right on the site as a customer is browsing, resale ticket prices may be inflated over and above the face value. But is that scalping?

By definition, yes. However, the scalping practice that Ticketmaster and others have spoken out against in the past usually involves a bot purchasing more than the posted ticket limit, typically in large volume, and then reselling those tickets for ridiculously bloated prices.

How many times have any of us participated in a Ticketmaster pre or general sale, only to come away empty-handed just moments later because the show had sold out in what felt like record time? We can thank the bots for that, right? How would you feel though if those bots actually worked with Ticketmaster, as the article claims?  What if they were actually being recruited to participate?

TradeDesk is Ticketmaster’s professional reseller product, which allows resellers to validate and distribute tickets to multiple marketplaces. The article claims that Ticketmaster turns a blind eye to those who use automated systems to amass tickets for resell using TradeDesk. It doesn’t mention whether these tickets are sold at inflated pricing, but you and I know that of course they are. Again, I have to ask, isn’t that scalping, at least by definition?

Even through TradeDesk, there is a CoC (Code of Conduct) that applies. There are limits to how many tickets can be purchased, and according to Ticketmaster, there is no program in place to enable resellers to amass tickets in volume, nor is it acceptable for resellers to create fictitious user accounts to circumvent the system.

The question of what constitutes scalping still hangs thick in the air. The answer depends on whom you’re asking. For Ticketmaster, that line is very clear. As long as they are profiting, both on the front and back-end, it’s not scalping.

To many of my friends, this subject comes down to fairness. We want to be able to get good seats, we want fair pricing. With volume resellers in the business right beside Ticketmaster, a scenario involving fairness happens less and less. I’ve gone online in search of tickets for a few gigs lately. More and more often, within moments of a show going on sale, there are fewer and fewer primary sale ticket available. Everything shows up as a resale, and that means paying augmented prices right off the bat.

When I was young, and quite frankly – stupid, I wanted to believe that The Powers That Be wanted this system to be fair. I looked at bots and scalpers as the root cause to the problem. I felt that Ticketmaster just couldn’t evolve quickly enough to circumvent the work-arounds that bots (and the like) could create. As I’ve grown older and far more cynical, I recognize the real problem. My friends, you and I don’t matter.  This has never been about fairness to the consumer. Fair ticketing doesn’t matter. It is about money, and by that I mean Ticketmaster’s money, not yours.

-R

 

When it comes to making money say yes, please, thank you

I don’t know many people who love Ticketmaster. Personally I put it in the box marked “necessary evils”…alongside things such as bathroom scales, dentist appointments, trips to the post office during the month of December…and of course the IRS here in America. I love going to concerts, but I do hate the process of actually getting tickets.

Back in my day (and probably yours), we had to camp outside of a Ticketmaster office in order to be in line for tickets. That was all fine and good until the powers that be decided to make it “fair” and hand out wristbands instead. Then all hell broke loose, and the “rules” depended upon what show you were trying to buy. In some instances, wristbands were handed out in some actual order. In others, wristband numbers were handed out randomly, so even though you might have arrived at 10am (or even the night before) and were first in line – you might have ended up with wristband number #238 or #10 or even #562. It was annoying and for a while, I actually stopped trying to go to concerts – it was more trouble than it seemed to be worth.

Nowadays, you get online, and you begin clicking ‘refresh’ at 9:58am (because you never know when tickets will go live a little early or when your clock is a little off – it happens!) and then pray to the concert gods that your request for two pit seats actually comes through.  Truth be told, mine NEVER did. Perhaps your experiences have been different over the years. Then something miraculous happened, and Duran Duran started DDM. Now while I am not a fan of DDM in most ways, I was at least partially appreciative of their presale tickets. I didn’t have to deal with Ticketmaster any longer and had a semi-decent shot of not only getting tickets, but being close enough to actually see the band. Then there were the VIP ticket offerings, and while I hated the price (and still do), I appreciate the fact that they are available through Artist Arena. I also appreciate that I can see what tickets I’m actually buying before I get to the venue or before I get my tickets in the mail. (Old DDM presales were not that way.)

So this morning, when I read this article about Ticketmaster, I have to admit that my first emotion was annoyance. The article, from motherboard.com, explains that Ticketmaster is well-aware that humans are in fact losing the human vs. bot race to get tickets. They are also well-aware that scalper-bots obtain 60% of the concert tickets out there, and that the goal for Ticketmaster is merely to slow the bots down, not stop them.

Rest assured, Ticketmaster is not trying to stop anyone from buying tickets. That means if you and your buddies have figured out a way to beat the system – Ticketmaster isn’t necessarily going to stop you. Let’s face it – their goal is to have the seats sold. They don’t care how or to whom, because it’s not their business. That’s just plain old dollars and cents.  They truly cannot worry themselves over whether Darla Diehard Duranie was able to click fast enough to get the front section of a show or if she’s sitting in the back, or maybe didn’t get a ticket at all – they just want the seats sold as quickly as possible, because the burn rate AFTER the first 35 minutes a show goes on sale (meaning the rate at which tickets are sold) drops like a cliff and I’m being pretty generous with that time table – I would bet that after about minute 19 they’re already seeing a significant drop in sales per minute. Why? For a lot of bands, if you’re not online within the first minute or so that a show goes on sale you’re going to get crappy seats at best. Duran might not necessarily be in that league today, but artists and bands like Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen, and plenty of others I’m not taking the time to mention still play ball in that game. So, after the first half hour, it becomes a case of “Well, should I even bother looking?” The sales per minute rate falls drastically, if there are still tickets left.  In the case of those big leaguers, there might not be – but for hundreds of other acts, the diehard fans buy their tickets first, and then whatever is leftover after that 30 minute mark gets sold at the rate of a trickle. So sure, Ticketmaster is going to sell to whomever comes to them with a credit card that works.  Their goal is merely to try and slow the bots down so that fans at least have a teensy chance in grabbing tickets. It’s reality.

The “fairness” of buying concert tickets on Ticketmaster has been a debate for as long as I can remember. If it wasn’t about camping out before tickets went on sale, it was about waiting on hold for an operator to get to you for your request, and now scalp-bots. Concert tickets are big business – even artists themselves consistently say that these days it’s about the touring – records don’t sell, but tours still seem to sell-out. Scalpers are going to take advantage of that, and to be fair – I don’t think there is really much that Ticketmaster or any other agency can really do. The technology moves too fast, and for Ticketmaster – those scalper-bots are fantastic customers. They buy in bulk.

So the next time DDM announces a presale, I’ll be sure to take a moment to extoll their virtues before cursing them for giving me 12 hours notice.

-R