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

8 thoughts on “The Best Way to Buy Tickets?”

  1. My friends and I were just talking about this “old school” way of buying concert tickets the other day when a photo popped up on a Facebook page dedicated to our local area of a now closed but beloved store that also was a Ticketmaster location. We had so much fun hanging out there waiting for hours for them to open to buy tickets to our favorite shows (Duran included, of course!). The general consensus was we miss this method of buying tickets. We truly hate purchasing concert tickets online.
    I’m curious about one thing you said in your post. How do you think it would hurt the band if any of us couldn’t go to multiple shows? There are plenty of fans all over the place to sell out their shows without the same people going to multiple shows.

    1. I cannot say that Rhonda and I *love* buying tickets online but it does allow us to buy tickets. If we had to buy them in person, we simply wouldn’t go to many, if any, shows. Duran’s system of allowing members of DuranDuranMusic to buy tickets online ahead of the regular sale has worked for us.

      Speaking of those presales, we have also had great seats 95% of the time through these online presales. That said, we have been willing to pay for the VIP prices much like a good 10-15% of the fans at every single show. These are the fans who go to multiple shows and are willing to pay double the cost (or more) to get great seats to attend shows all over the country/world. Can you imagine if the band lost those fans? That is a big chunk of change. On top of that, I believe shows are more than just the two hours at the concert venue. I love going to Duran shows–not just for the show itself but to see all of my friends from all over who have traveled for the show, too. I think about shows like the New Year’s Eve shows in DC in 2016. I met friends from the East Coast but also my friends from Argentina and Finland as well as the Midwest (me) and plenty from the West Coast. If that stopped, then, I wouldn’t enjoy the shows as much. This means that I would go to less shows myself but I would possibly stop writing the blog, paying attention to the band, buying as many products, etc. Therefore, not having the core concert goers at shows, would indeed hurt the band and their fans.

      Hope that helps!
      -A

      1. All great points! Thank you for elaborating more on your thoughts behind that statement. I still have to wonder, though, do you feel the band themselves would really care if the tickets are being purchased by the same people at multiple venues or different people at different venues? For example, as long as the VIP packages are purchased for each venue their bottom line doesn’t suffer, regardless of who purchases said packages.

        1. I think you can look at your question from a couple of different angles. Does the band care who buys the VIP packages? Probably not, at least when it comes to their bottom dollar. On the other hand, I like to believe that fans have some power in terms of performance/good show. I have been to shows in which a lot of the people up front are not necessarily Duranies. For example, for the show in Vegas around New Year’s this past year, there were a lot of people up front that didn’t necessarily care about the band at all. We had one family sit behind us who stayed only for a few songs and had good seats. While Duran’s bottom line, financially, wasn’t affected by this, it did affect us and other fans near us. People like that can affect fans’ enthusiasm. If the crowd loses energy and excitement, this could affect the band’s performance. It isn’t that they cannot still have a great show without hardcore fans in the front, but I think they have to work harder to achieve that. They have to convince the audience to get into it whereas when there are a lot of fans there, they are in it from the first note. -A

          1. More good points. I’ve only had one instance at a Duran show where there was a total dud sitting next to us. We were in the 4th row at that show so I assume the guy was a fan but he didn’t act like it. But, it didn’t affect our energy or enthusiasm nor did it seem to affect others around us. I guess my assumption has always been that those of us willing to shell out the money to sit up front must be hardcore fans. There are so many bands I love and that I will go see live over and over but there is a VERY select few that I’m willing to spend hundreds of dollars on to get the very best seats. I never felt it made me less of a fan of other bands. It’s strictly a financial decision. I decided years ago, especially when ticket prices started creeping up (oh how I miss the 80’s and paying $40 for floor seats within the first ten rows!) that I had to limit myself to a few bands I would pay a ridiculous amount to see and any other shows I would just take what I can get. Adulting sucks sometimes!😄 Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful exchange!

  2. I just purchased tickets to a P!NK show, that she added dates for, BECAUSE of the huge amount of money that ticket resellers were charging. I actually had to ask to be on the Pre-Sale list (and made it :)) and then received a unique code tied to my e-mail address, the night before the pre-sale. I know plenty of friends who also were able to purchase tickets for the show, that had not been able to before. This may be a strategy for Duran Duran to use because, like y’all, I live at least three hours away from any venue where I’ve seen Duran Duran play, so it would be difficult for me to drive to the venue itself and purchase tickets.

    1. That sounds very similar to how Duran has done presales with the fans who are members of their paid fan community, DuranDuranMusic, where a password is posted right before the presale. Were you able to get decent seats for Pink that way? -A

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