Tag Archives: music fans

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

 

A terrible day for music fans: Las Vegas

I didn’t sleep last night. I’m sure I am not the only one. I had just settled into bed and turned on our TV at 11 o’clock to catch the news, when the reports of a mass-shooting in Las Vegas took over the normal newscast. I immediately checked Twitter (frankly, social media reacts much faster than even television news in Los Angeles), and saw that chaos had overtaken the Strip, if not the city.

I sat up for hours, unable to sleep. I watched the initial iPhone videos that came over Twitter. I could hear the seemingly incessant gunfire exploding over the crowd of music lovers enjoying Jason Aldean’s set at the Route 91Harvest Music Festival. I was honestly shocked by how long it took people to realize what was happening – probably because when one attends a concert, the last damn worry should be whether or not you’re going to die in the process.  That was pretty much the only thing I considered as the news unfolded. I could barely remember which of my friends lived there, or who could possibly be affected. All that continued running through my head as if on a treadmill, was the thought that no one should ever have to lose their life at a concert.

It isn’t my intention to turn Daily Duranie into a gun-debate. I’m going to leave that to social media to hammer out. In the meantime, I’m going to mourn the people who matter.  Mandalay Bay is my favorite hotel in Las Vegas, and concerts are my refuge. Again, I am sure I am not alone. I’ve spent a lot of time in Las Vegas seeing my favorite band over the years, and seeing images from last night gives me chills to the core. I am a music lover. The people who attended this festival are music lovers. Getting home safely at the end of the night or weekend just doesn’t seem like something that should ever be in question.

It is getting to the point where it is harder and harder to leave the house without a contingency plan in place for the worst case scenario. I actually think twice before going anywhere. This Friday, I’m going with my husband to see Coldplay at the Rose Bowl. At one point, I might have grumbled about the seemingly crazy rules about purses and bags. Now? I’m not bringing anything but my ID, and I hope they search the hell out of the crowd. I don’t even LIKE Coldplay that much! I’m just doing my wifely duty. I very much dislike that I’m second-guessing whether or not I should even go.

I remember writing after the massacre at Le Bataclan and throughout Paris. I have never, ever been more freaked out than I was that afternoon, purely because the band had performed in Paris earlier that day. I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I was “that person” who begged Dom to tweet just to say he was safe. He was the only one I knew that might check Twitter, and I had to at least try.  It was ridiculous on one hand because I don’t even know these people that well, and on the other, they’re my favorite band. I’ve known them  since childhood, dammit! (Again, I KNOW I’m not alone.) The lump in my throat was significant that day. I could feel the panic rising as each moment went by without an update from a band member, or Katy, or even DDHQ. I never want to have that feeling, ever again. Yet, here we are.

My heart goes out to those who have lost family members. I feel for the people who live in Las Vegas and have to pass by the venue. I’m sorry for those who lost their lives, or who were hurt—emotionally and physically. I hate writing these types of blogs. There aren’t words, and I have no reasons. I’m not particularly good with platitudes. I’m sad today, and I’ve hugged my youngest a lot more than normal. My other two are away at school, so the little one is getting all of the hugs.

I also wanted to apologize for the semi-superfluous post that originally went out this morning, given the circumstances. I had written today’s blog ahead of time, and it wasn’t until it was far too late that I recognized it would post before I was able to stop it.  I’m sorry if it appeared that Amanda and I didn’t care as a result. We very much do.

As I tried to find the right words to close this post, I got word that Tom Petty has passed. He was only 66. What a terrible day for music fans.

-R