Tag Archives: concert tickets

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

 

The Best Way to Buy Tickets?

This week, Nine Inch Nails announced a fall tour along with a different way to buy tickets.  Variety.com covered the ticket purchasing method in this way:

“The group is taking an unusual new/old approach to keep tickets out of the hands of resellers: They will be selling all seats to the tour in person at presale events called “The Physical World,” which will take place May 19 at each venue’s box office, with the exception of Red Rocks for which the presale will take place on May 20 at the Denver Coliseum Box Office.

“All seats (including the best seats) will be available for purchase in person only, first come, first served,” the announcement reads. “Fans can purchase up to four tickets per show. Visit nin.com/tickets2018 for a complete list of box office locations and further information. Limited quantities of tickets may be released via additional ticketing channels, subject to availability, at a later date to be announced. Ticket inventory available via phone and online channels will include ADA tickets.”

I can definitely appreciate the desire to keep tickets out of the hands of resellers.  After all, many of those resellers are not necessarily fans but people who bought the tickets when they went on sale just to make a profit.  This means that resale tickets are often more expensive than they were to begin with.  No one wants concert tickets to be more than they already are.  Ticket prices have skyrocketed, in my opinion.  In fact, sometimes, they are so expensive that people simply cannot go and that makes me sad.  Live music is one of the greatest things in life and I am sad if people cannot experience it at all.  So, the intention of this ticket buying process is a good one.

Besides the intention, I also had to smile at the idea of fans being in line to buy tickets.  It reminds me of how Record Store Day was in which fans lined up outside of record stores to buy their favorite new vinyl.  Fans could chat while they waited, get to know each other, increase excitement over their upcoming purchases and more.  Of course, I had the same feeling when I was a kid and we waited outside Ticketmaster outlets to buy tickets.  Probably my favorite memory of that was senior year of high school.  The plan was that my two best friends and I would stay at my place overnight and leave early in the morning to drive to the nearest mall (about a half hour away) to wait in line for tickets.  My friends and I cheated a little bit in that we left at like 3:30 in the morning instead of waiting until 6.  My mom didn’t realize how early it was when I told her that we were leaving.  On the way, we stopped for donuts and coffee.  When we arrived, there was already quite a crowd, which included a bunch of people we knew.  It became like a party (until we realized that we desperately needed to find a bathroom and nothing was open).

Part of me would like to return to situations like that until…I think about how this would work now.  This definitely would be a problem when it comes to Duran shows.  First, the band does not play in Madison, WI, or at least they haven’t since 1984.  Therefore, I would have to travel a distance to wait in line for tickets.  The closest city is Chicago, which is 2.5 hours away.  Then, what the heck would Rhonda and I do for shows in cities neither one of us is near?  Would we have to hire someone to get tickets for us???  After all, we have seen Duran play in many different cities.  With a policy like this, we simply couldn’t do that.  We would be out of luck and couldn’t go to as many shows.  This, of course, would hurt the band.  Second, this policy is such that all of the tickets are going on sale at the same time.  Again, what the heck would we do?  Rhonda could go to one ticket outlet and I could go to another.  We would need other friends to go to other cities.  This just simply wouldn’t be possible.

So, in thinking about this idea, while the intention is good, it would suck in practical terms.  It would definitely limit who can attend shows to just people who are able to get to ticket outlets on that day, which probably means local people with flexible jobs.  Then, it certainly wouldn’t encourage fans to go to multiple shows or to travel.  Now, I don’t know much about the Nine Inch Nails fanbase.  Maybe that would work for their fans.  I just know that if Duran Duran would use something like this, many Duranies (like us) would lose our minds.  I think with every other ticket buying policy, one must think through all of the possible ramifications before going for one over the other.  This one is simply one that I wouldn’t want any favorite of mine to use.

-A

Concert Ticket Gift

Yesterday Duran Duran tweeted out about a special, unusual gift for the Duran Duran fan:  Limited edition artworks on canvas,created from sound waves captured in the studio recording of “Hungry Like The Wolf.” The band signed 100 canvases in support of . If you’re still thinking of a unique holiday gift…

This is a pretty amazing gift but…it costs $700.  Ouch.  I don’t know about the rest of you but that is out of my price range.  If I had an extra $700, I would be saving it for future concert tickets.  Alas..  What if I had an opportunity to get another very unique gift to celebrate my or a friend’s Duran Duran fandom?  A few weeks back I saw this gift idea of turning a concert ticket into a doormat!  The website here shows what I’m talking about and here is an example:

How cool!?!  I would totally do something like that but…the next question is one I asked on Twitter.  Which show do I use?  I have many choices!

The First Duran Concert in 1993

I do still have the ticket stub from my very first Duran show in August of 1993.  Obviously, it would make sense to want to commemorate the first one.  That said, it wasn’t my favorite show by far.  I have told the story many times on here that I felt like something wasn’t right and after the show, I declared that they might be wise in breaking up.  It didn’t feel like Duran to me.  So maybe not that one…

The First Concert with Rhonda

The first Duran show I saw with Rhonda was in March of 2005 in Chicago.  It was only my second show but my first real tour.  This show and tour started so much for me.  I certainly wouldn’t be blogging without it and I probably wouldn’t have such a strong fandom now.  It was also the first time that we had seats up close and personal as it was our first VIP show.  That said, while I loved the show and that tour, I don’t know that I would say it was my favorite.  Still…those are some pretty good reasons.

The Birmingham Show

For many Duranies, the idea of seeing Duran play in their hometown is the ultimate.  I cannot disagree.  Heck, I blogged about the very thing yesterday.  It was monumental for me and definitely showed (to me) that I was/am pretty dedicated to my fandom.  Like I said yesterday, it still wasn’t my favorite.  Yet, the fact that it was Birmingham is a big deal…

First Front Row

Rhonda and I finally made it to the front in August 2012 in Biloxi, Mississippi.  For this show, we sat, lined up, since early in the morning.  Despite being in the front, we doubted the whole time that we would actually make it to the front.  When we did, we were shocked.  This turned into being stunned pretty much the entire time.  I’m sure that we looked ridiculous and not like ourselves at all. Okay…good in theory but not sure I really want to give the special treatment to this show.

Fabulous Front Row Shows

We have been lucky enough to get front row a couple of times since then.  There have been some great shows at Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, California.  Those shows were amazing and would be nice to acknowledge through a cool door mat.  I might even say that those shows have been my favorite of all time.  That said…would those be more important to commemorate than the Birmingham show or the first show with Rhonda???  Clearly, the hardest part of this is just deciding which ticket to use!!!

What do the rest of you think?  Which ticket should I go with (when/if I decide to do this)?  What do you use if you were getting this made for yourself and why?

-A

The Concert Ticket Buying Experience

Yesterday afternoon, while I was in the midst of grading the last set of semester finals (woohoo!), my partner-in-crime posted a video on our Facebook page.  Immediately, people watched and expressed not only how entertained they were from it but also shared stories indicating that they related to it.  What video did Rhonda share?  What was it about?  How come so many could relate to it?  I’ll tell you this much–if you have bought concert tickets online, you will appreciate it.  Click on the link below and watch it.  Trust me.

When You Are Trying to Buy Concert Tickets Online:

https://www.facebook.com/thebragsydney/videos/1539565626056578/

Okay, people, who has purchased concert tickets online?  Raise your hands.  Don’t be shy.  Yeah, I’m willing to bet that most/many/a lot of you have.  I think you all know that I have.  Heck, I wonder how many blogs focus on the ticket buying experience, especially for those little ticket sales we call pre-sales.  So, what parts of this video can I relate to?  What parts are accurate?  Where do I start?!

Honestly, I could relate to SO much of this.  The person in the video definitely does a lot of talking aloud.  I’m not gonna lie.  I do the same when by myself going through the ticket buying process.  Self-talk isn’t a bad thing, correct?  Right from the beginning of this video, I found myself nodding with much agreement.  I refresh the ticket websites over and over again with 20 minutes before the tickets go on sale then 3 minutes before then 60 seconds.  Of course, I also usually spend time talking to friends about the plan especially if we are all trying to buy tickets.  This reminds me of the shows that we went to in March.  Rhonda bought for a show and I bought for a show.  Up until the time of purchase, I was so nervous that I would buy for the wrong day and we would end up with 4 tickets for Friday and 0 tickets for Saturday.  Luckily for us, it didn’t happen.

The ticket buyer’s feelings were right on, in my opinion.  I have uttered the phrase, “I have been dreaming of this concert for so long!”  Likewise, I have paid a lot more money than I probably should have all in the name of a concert “of a lifetime”.  Usually, for us, the phrase is a little different.  We are more likely to say that it is going to be the “tour of a lifetime” or “you never know when a tour will be the last tour” or “they might not tour for years after this”.  The sentiment is the really the same as are the tears of relief and joy once the tickets have been purchased.

One part of the video that I found especially entertaining is when the ticket buying does not go as planned.  In this case, the site wouldn’t load and the wi-fi wasn’t working well.  We have all experienced something similar when buying our tickets, especially when Ticketmaster is involved.  Just recently, when buying tickets for the San Francisco show, I couldn’t get the site to load on my computer and I ended up buying the tickets on my phone.  Like the video, I knew that I wasn’t the only one as I exchanged messages with a friend leading me to buy tickets for her, too.  Of course, like the video, the fear of having the show sold out or only having crappy seats left is real, my friends.

While I loved the heck out of this video, I do wonder about something.  Hmm..anyone else?  Why is a dude dressed in a wig and attempting to sound “like a girl”?!  Is the implication that only “fangirls” would respond this way to concert ticket sales?  Was the idea behind the video to mock female music fans?  I assume that the main character was also supposed to be young, probably a teenager since “she” lived with her dad and didn’t know her post code.

Perhaps, I’m assuming ill will where there is none.  Maybe the creators of this video just wanted to relate the concert ticket buying experience in a funny, relatable way.  That’s very possible.  That said, why not have a teenage girl or a teenage boy or…an adult woman in it?!  I think that still would have been funny.  Why not show multiple types of fans since we come in all ages and genders?  How hard is that?

-A

Buy the Concert Tickets

March 25, 2016. For most readers of this blog, that day kicked off Duran Duran’s 2016 North American tour supporting Paper Gods. For me, it was an unforgettable day for a different reason.

I am fortunate enough to have great tickets to three of the July shows for the Paper Gods (see you in Toronto, Boston, and Camden). So when Duran announced the Niagara Falls shows — just 1 week after I spent all that money on the July shows, mind you — I had a tough choice to make. Niagara Falls is only 1.5 hours from home, the shortest travel time to any Duran shows for me to date. Not to mention, the shows were on a weekend and kicking off the 2016 tour. That never happens for me!

But as much as I wished I could go to the Niagara Falls shows on March 25-26, I knew the right thing to do (financially) was to pass on them. I already spent too much money on the July shows. My best Duranie friend was going to one of the shows, and I’ll admit it was tough to stay excited for her. But of course I wished her good ticket karma on the presale and hoped to hear some great stories.

Then, on Wednesday evening, March 23, I came across a post on Instagram from Prince announcing two shows in Toronto on Friday, March 25.  Concert tickets went on sale the next morning. Holy sh!t. I knew that he usually announced shows only a day or two before the performances, and that was part of the reason why I followed him on Instagram and Twitter. But I never expected one this close to home. And by “this close” I mean 3 hours away. When I saw the ticket prices, I nearly fainted. These tickets were more expensive than almost any ticket I’ve bought for a Duran show. But hey, odds were low that I’d even get a ticket, so if I got one I’ll figure out the rest. And if it didn’t work out, I could still try to get a last-minute to Duran’s show that same night or the next night in Niagara Falls.

I’ve had good ticket karma for the last 6 months so I hoped it would hold out for just one more show. When I got to work Thursday morning, I promptly blocked off my calendar for 10:00 so that nothing would interrupt this chance (c’mon, you’ve done it too). In my 9:30-10:00 meeting, I exhausted my telepathic power to make the meeting end early. When it finally broke up around 10:04, I busted out of the room and went right to my desk to log in and try for a ticket. And then I got it: 4th row, just off to the left. (By now Ticketmaster must know I prefer John’s side.) I think I blacked out a little after I clicked “Purchase”.

My logical brain was saying “You chose NOT to see the opening night of Duran Duran’s tour but you spent nearly three times that amount on concert tickets for Prince? What happened to saving money and spending wisely?” But my heart was saying, “Life is Too Short, Buy the Ticket!” As much as I love the boys, I knew I needed to take this opportunity and see Prince.

Buy the ticket

I’ve seen this photo making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, and it was my mantra when deciding to go to three Duran shows this summer. Trust me, I’m not well off financially. And I wish we all had enough money and the luxury of seeing every concert we want to see. But sometimes you need to realize what you want out of life and do what you need to in order to make it happen.

So as I drove along interstate 190 on my way to Toronto on March 25, I could see Fallsview Casino and Niagara Falls off to my left and I wished the boys a good show. It was a little heartbreaking to know they were this close and I wasn’t going to see them, but knew in my heart I had made the right choice. I reminded myself that on this day, I needed to keep heading north and see one the last artists on my concert bucket list. Little did I know that it would be the 2nd to last show he’d perform.

Today I mourn with the world at the loss of this gifted virtuoso. And I call myself fortunate to have been able to see him just a month before he passed away. You may think that my recollection is glowing only in hindsight; trust me, as soon as Prince walked out on stage, I knew I had no regrets in my decision to buy the concert tickets. It was an amazing, impressive, and entertaining performance that I’ll never forget.

-PamG