Carpe Diem

How about some music fan outrage at the real sources of high ticket prices and limited tickets for sale to the general public?

scalpersTicker scalpers brokers are frequently blamed and vilified by musicians, their managers and promoters, and their fans for buying up large quantities of concert tickets and then scalping selling them at exorbitant market prices. For example, see the sign above, and see this rambling, deranged, all-lower-case, anti-scalper screed from the founding member of the band LCD Soundsystem, titled “fu** you scalpers.”

But wait now. An article in Buzzfeed identifies six reasons that it’s so hard (and so expensive) to buy concert tickets and guess what… only one of the six reasons has anything to do with ticket scalpers brokers. And in fact, Reason #3 for high concert ticket prices is that many artists actually scalp their own tickets!

To highlight the six reasons that concert tickets are so expensive and hard to buy, Buzzfeed presents a breakdown of how the tickets to a recent Justin Bieber concert at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on January 18 were distributed (see graphic below):

ticketsOf the 14,000 seats available for the show, only about 1,000 (or 7%) of those seats were available to the general public when tickets went on sale in May 2012.  Here’s where the other 93% went:

1. Almost half of the tickets (6,000 or 43%) went to credit card companies like American Express and Citi, which routinely offer concert tickets to cardholders in special presale promotions, and also help promote the concerts.

2. Another 21% of the tickets (3,000) went to Justin Bieber’s fan club.

Together with the tickets for American Express and Citi, almost two-thirds (64%) of the total tickets available went to just those two sources.

3. Most of the artists get a guaranteed number of tickets that they themselves can scalp, and they also get lots of “VIP and guest list tickets.” For Justin Bieber’s Nashville concert, an investigation by a local Nashville TV station found documents that showed “that Bieber’s tour held back 500 tickets to be sold at marked-up prices as part of Ticketmaster’s Platinum Exchange program, along with some 900 seats reserved for various programs labeled as ‘VIP’ tickets.”

4. Then if you were one of the lucky fans to actually purchase one of the 1,000 tickets available for sale to the general public (out of 14,000), you get slammed with hefty Ticketmaster charges that can add up to 50% in fees to the ticket’s face value. And a percentage of those exorbitant Ticketmaster fees often gets paid….. back to the ARTIST!

Bottom Line: Instead of blaming ticket scalpers brokers for high ticket prices, how about some fan outrage towards some of the real sources of high ticket prices and the limited availability of tickets for sale to the general public – the artists themselves and their managers and promoters, and their anti-consumer, co-conspirator - Ticketmaster.

HT: Bill Riley

17 thoughts on “How about some music fan outrage at the real sources of high ticket prices and limited tickets for sale to the general public?

  1. Recently I was outraged when I went to buy the stock of a company only to find that stock scalpers were charging 50% more than the IPO price! I’m not going to buy from from people who are cheating the company and the underwriters.

  2. I can’t afford concert tickets, especailly after buying my Justin Beiber t-Shirt, Justin Beiber ball cap, Justin Beiber pillow, Justin Beiber bed sheets, Justin Beiber lunch pail, Justin Beiber stickers, Justin Beiber underwear, Justin Beiber shoes, Justin Beiber socks,Justin Beiber hair gel, and Justin Beiber breakfast cereal.

  3. 6 reasons why ticket prices are high? What an exercise in avoiding the real issue. There’s only one reason. Too little supply. Any artist who wants to have cheaper tickets for their fans has it in their power. Schedule more performances. Simple as that. Most of them are crying crocodile tears, trying to preserve a progressive “man of the people” image while getting as rich as possible.

    • I think some of the musicians are fakes, but I think most of them are just too stupid to learn anything about how things work for themselves and simply believe what their managers tell them. The manager has a big incentive to blame those brokers and little incentive to get the musician upset at the sponsors who pay the bills.

      “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” – Robert Hanlon

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