Feisty Underdog TicketMaster To Beat Scalpers At Own Game!

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Concert ticket auction will see what we're really willing to pay

TicketMaster plans to find out how much concert-goers will pay to see their favourite band.

By the end of the year, the ticket giant will start selling concert and event tickets to the highest bidder on an online auction.

The new system will push aside fans who line up for hours to get the best seats and instead award the seats to the person who ponies up the most cash.

"It has the ability to make (prices) what the market will bear," said Patti Babin, with TicketMaster Canada. "We developed this because the artists and promoters asked us to. They are the ones who are losing out on the money in the secondary market."

TicketMaster said it is offering the auction system to stop the circulation of counterfeit tickets and to curb scalping.

The auction service will be made available to music artists and promoters who choose to sell off some, or all, of their tickets at premium prices. Those who don't want to auction tickets will still be able to stick to the fixed-price system.

Groups that rely on TicketMaster to fill seats question the plan.

"If a scalper wants a ticket, somehow they always get a ticket," said Ron Rooke, a spokesman for the Calgary Stampeders. "So I don't know if it's going to completely eliminate that."

The system itself could be used by scalpers, said Rooke, who envisions scalpers outbidding other buyers for tickets and then reselling then at even higher prices.

Analysts warn the auction plan may deter fans.

"There will be a huge backlash if people can't go to concerts they want to see because scalpers, or people who can pay the most, are getting first access to all the tickets," said Adam Cooper, a consultant with retail analyst firm J.C. Williams Group in Toronto. "Really, they are not in the business of trying to maximize profits by selling the tickets for as much as they possibly can."

That sentiment was shared by Melissa Marcil, a frequent concert-goer. "If somebody bids $110, you don't want to spend $120 on a ticket," said Marcil, a Calgarian who paid $64 to see Ozzy Osbourne.

Dennis Ruffo, an Ottawa concert promoter, also doubts most ticket buyers will welcome the change.

"From a fan's point of view, I don't think this would be fair," he said. "Everyone should have equal access to tickets, especially if you're a fan that lines up overnight. It should be fair and equitable."

Gone will be the days of camping outside a ticket booth in -40 C weather with a group of hard-core fans who are all hoping to get first crack at those tickets to the World Series, the Stanley Cup playoffs or Bruce Springsteen.

Sales of tickets over the Internet, or the phone, allow people to buy from the comfort of their own home the second they go on sale.

But easy access has seen scalping and counterfeiting increase. Tickets that were originally bought from TicketMaster are being resold for many times their regular value on Internet sites such as EBay.

"The artists and the management are not making that money. They are the ones that are losing out now," Babin said. "By offering the tickets at a maximum price in an official TicketMaster online offering, it ensures that scalpers cannot mark up the ticket price further and discourages reselling, said TicketMaster.

One Calgary arts official said scalping seems to be a bigger issue in other Canadian centres.

"I'm sure it takes place, but it doesn't seem to be as prevalent as it is when I'm in Toronto or Vancouver," said John Rutherford, of Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts.

Don Simpson, president of the House of Blues Concerts Canada, likes the TicketMaster idea, but doesn't see it being used to sell large quantities of tickets. Simpson said most groups will only auction off a handful of the best seats to satisfy those willing to pay top dollar.

TicketMaster is an arm of Interactive Corp., an Internet company that owns Expedia, an Internet travel agent, and the Home Shopping Network.

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 12:42 (nineteen years ago) link

i think this is only a canadian thing now, though that would show some very un-Canuck gumption on the part of the local capos unless the Yankee overlords are just trying it out here in the colonies first

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 12:44 (nineteen years ago) link

I was just on the local CBC radio show talking about this.

Horace Mann (Horace Mann), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 13:58 (nineteen years ago) link

If it got rid of Toronto's scalpers I'd be all for it. That one with the long greasy hair who smells like urine really pisses me off. He's ALWAYS at the opera house. Yet the Opera House oftern sells at the door which means he is fucked over if it worn't for desperate suburbanites. I swear this one guy has been doing it for 20 years. Blue Jay Games, Dandy Warhol concerts, The Who, Leafs. anything.

Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 14:15 (nineteen years ago) link

Fritz's thread title is WAY better though.

nickalicious (nickalicious), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 14:26 (nineteen years ago) link

looks like it's probably happening in the states too

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 14:28 (nineteen years ago) link

eighteen years pass...

I just got confirmation from the Beacon Theater this morning that Ticketmaster processed a refund request I made several months ago by taking back the ticket and NEVER refunding any money for it. Wow, Ticketmaster you piece of shit, you really find sleazy new ways to make money!

Seriously, if you processed any refund requests with them, double check your credit card statements, and if nothing shows up, contact the venue. (I was also told by the venue not to contact Ticketmaster, contact them when requesting or checking on refunds. Venues should have a guest services or customer service number you can use.)

birdistheword, Wednesday, 17 August 2022 16:08 (seven months ago) link

Wow... 18 years ago

Gone will be the days of camping outside a ticket booth in -40 C weather with a group of hard-core fans who are all hoping to get first crack at those tickets to the World Series, the Stanley Cup playoffs or Bruce Springsteen.


Panda bear, my gentle friend (morrisp), Wednesday, 17 August 2022 17:37 (seven months ago) link

five months pass...

Hey Lil' Wayne at the Apollo! I mean, how can you not want to see Wayne at the Apollo?
Tickets start at $540 and go up to $3800 (with an inclusive $700 fee)

POLIZISTEN VERSINKEN IM SCHLAMM (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 7 February 2023 21:06 (one month ago) link

imagine paying $700 for the right to spend $3100 for one ticket

POLIZISTEN VERSINKEN IM SCHLAMM (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 7 February 2023 21:10 (one month ago) link

i would not pay that to see a resurrected Prince
okay i probably would but that's about it

POLIZISTEN VERSINKEN IM SCHLAMM (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 7 February 2023 21:10 (one month ago) link

That's it, I'm totally taking my business elsewhere.

Auf Der Martini (Ye Mad Puffin), Tuesday, 7 February 2023 21:11 (one month ago) link

well i'm certainly not seeing Wayne at the Apollo!

POLIZISTEN VERSINKEN IM SCHLAMM (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 7 February 2023 21:12 (one month ago) link

god i'm thankful i mostly go to smaller shows.

Madonna this summer i had to take an Affirm loan out on

waiting on a czar to fall (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 7 February 2023 21:13 (one month ago) link

Bob Lefsetz keeps insisting the performers can dictate to Ticketmaster re prices and fees . Now in his email Lefsetz has gotten onetime Jeff Beck manager Harvey Goldsmith to agree with him:

I read Jack Antonoff’s comment about ticketing issues, made at The Grammys over the weekend

"it’s not ‘cause of Artists" he says.

How wrong he is.

The Artists, through their representatives, totally control every aspect of Live Touring. From what is on stage, backstage and indeed the ticket price.

Promoters may recommend ticket prices, but the Artist always makes the final decision.

Ticketing Companies will suggest a whole tariff of ways to fleece the fans.
However the Artist always has the final say.
Those Artists that always blame everyone else are the same ones that sanction the problem.

It is totally in the Artist's remit to say whether ticket prices should be "as printed" on the ticket or not.

The Promoter can negotiate the Ticket Commission, but often the artist will demand its share if there are surplus profits.
The exception being if the Promoter has its own separate deal with the Ticketing Company.

At the end of the day only the Artists can stop the madness that besets us.

Some already do, but not nearly enough.

Harvey Goldsmith

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 7 February 2023 21:47 (one month ago) link

I don't know about the added fees, but didn't Springsteen say something like - "I used to find out what our peers were charging, and said 'let's charge a little less'... but for this tour, I said, 'We're in our '70s, let's charge the same as our peers'," etc.

listened to "Mississippi" one take too long (morrisp), Tuesday, 7 February 2023 21:53 (one month ago) link

let's relegate lefsetz matters to the lefsetz thred plz

oh no it's the greedy artists that are ruining the music biz!

sault bae (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 7 February 2023 22:19 (one month ago) link

tho in this case, they def appreciate having ticketmaster around as a shield

sault bae (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 7 February 2023 22:20 (one month ago) link

I think if some artists told Ticketmaster no variable pricing, limit the fees to x, limit the price to y, that Ticketmaster would say that can’t be done unless you the artist work for free

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 8 February 2023 00:58 (one month ago) link

oh hey, here's West Coast pop punk band The Garden playing two nights at Irving Plaza, popular enough that they can book more than one show but obscure enough that I'm sure tickets via livenation can't be too much aaaaaand GA for a punk show is $83 with seated tickets running up to $330

who the fuck is buying at these prices?

POLIZISTEN VERSINKEN IM SCHLAMM (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 15 February 2023 05:42 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...


Pitchfork contributor on how to fix Ticketmaster mess

curmudgeon, Thursday, 9 March 2023 20:20 (three weeks ago) link

Well to comment on two of those suggestions...

Artists already can opt out of dynamic pricing. Every decision on how each tour is sold is a collaboration between agent/manager and their contact at TM. If artists care enough about the fans, they will be involved in that process and opt out - and some do. I think most artists selling through TM just remain wilfully ignorant of that process and leave it to their people to sort it out.

Similarly, artists also have the option of blocking resale - its been done by some massive artists already. Many don't because they take a cut of the higher resale prices, or actively get their people involved in doing the higher-priced reselling themselves (Metallica management got caught out on this).

Of course Ticketmaster have always been fine taking the blame for this stuff, they act as a convenient shield between the artist and the ripped off fans... who will never want to think the artist could have some responsibility in flushing out their bank accounts.

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Thursday, 9 March 2023 21:55 (three weeks ago) link

Springsteen claimed that if he blocked dynamic pricing that non- Ticketmaster approved ticket scalpers would up the prices and make money that Springsteen said should go to he and his band. I dunno.

curmudgeon, Friday, 10 March 2023 06:33 (three weeks ago) link

Unwinding the Ticketmaster and Live Nation merger is definitely essential. That relationship alone makes it extremely difficult to fight price inflation - there would still be a lot of things that need to be done after a split, but they would be virtually impossible to pull off (at least effectively) with that merger intact.

birdistheword, Friday, 10 March 2023 07:00 (three weeks ago) link

“Make ticket scalping illegal, level the playing field, and get back to where it’s just normal fans competing for the same Taylor Swift tickets,”

Ticket scalping should be legal-ish but you should have to pay cash to a weird guy in a dirty San Jose Sharks Starter jacket for two tickets a block away from the venue like the good old days.

papal hotwife (milo z), Friday, 10 March 2023 07:47 (three weeks ago) link

More ideas not broached in Hogan's piece (I don't think):

(Further) limit the number of tickets people can buy.

Sell tickets directly.

Cap the bullshit fees, or make them flat. Why the fuck should the *fees* be dynamic as well?

Anyway, the problem with that Fork piece and ones like that is that they all begin from the position that Ticketmaster actually provides a real service. But of course TM doesn't do shit, especially in this digital era. They've embedded themselves in the process like parasites.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 10 March 2023 12:44 (three weeks ago) link

Even if there were no Ticketmaster, i imagine most venues would still choose to contract with ticketing services, rather than try to set up and manage their own software…?

unknown blues singer (morrisp), Friday, 10 March 2023 14:58 (three weeks ago) link

I mean, part of the problem is that many of these big venues aren't just partnered but are *owned* by Live Nation/Ticketmaster! But yeah, the venues - as individuals or as collectives - would need to have their own ticketing systems, though that would also mean (I assume) keeping more of the money, which might be an incentive.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 10 March 2023 15:05 (three weeks ago) link

Springsteen claimed that if he blocked dynamic pricing that non- Ticketmaster approved ticket scalpers would up the prices and make money that Springsteen said should go to he and his band. I dunno.

― curmudgeon, Friday, March 10, 2023 12:33 AM (eight hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

there's no reason to regard springsteen in this matter as anything else but a full of shit rich guy

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 10 March 2023 15:09 (three weeks ago) link

That's more or less the exact argument the Eagles made back in 1994 or whenever when they smashed through the ticket price ceiling.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 10 March 2023 15:11 (three weeks ago) link

The Eagles were the first rock band to shatter the $100 ceiling for tickets. Azoff pointed out at the time that the only people who complained were journo types who got their tickets for free, and it’s true that fans didn’t balk, with Hell Freezes Over selling out every show.

Twenty-two years later, Azoff stands behind that pricing strategy. “Tickets should be priced at what the fans are willing to pay to see the performer,” Azoff explains. “The key element in breaking the $100 ceiling was that it changed the dynamic of resale (by) having the revenue generated by tickets going back to the business — promoters, artists, venues, etc.” Clearly, demand to see the Eagles live after 14 years was sky high, but, “it wasn’t just about making more money,” Azoff says. “It was also about sending the message that Eagles were America’s biggest band, and perhaps one of the biggest in the world — charging like it influenced both fans and media that we were the biggest ever.”

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 10 March 2023 15:14 (three weeks ago) link

many of these big venues aren't just partnered but are *owned* by Live Nation/Ticketmaster!

So they’re “direct ticketing” already… haha

unknown blues singer (morrisp), Friday, 10 March 2023 15:31 (three weeks ago) link

Statement from the Cure (#onethread):

"We want the tour to be affordable for all fans, and we have a very wide (and we think very fair) range of pricing at every show. Our ticketing partners have agreed to help us stop scalpers from getting in the way; to help minimise resale and keep prices at face value, tickets for this tour will not be transferable. If something comes up that prevents a fan from being able to use a ticket they have purchased, they will be able resell it on a face value ticket exchange."

"Unfortunately, despite our desire to protect our low ticket prices for fans, the states of NY, IL and CO make this very difficult. They actually have laws in place that protect scalpers! For shows in these states we urge fans to buy or sell tickets to one another on face value exchanges like twickets.live and cashortrade.org. Fans should avoid buying tickets that are being resold at inflated prices by scalpers, and the sites that host these scalpers should refrain from reselling tickets for our shows."

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 10 March 2023 17:26 (three weeks ago) link

Restricting re-sale, but allowing face-value transfers, totally makes sense. More artists should do that!

unknown blues singer (morrisp), Friday, 10 March 2023 17:35 (three weeks ago) link

When I saw the Death tribute in 2021, Tix were $50, but if you needed to sell one, you'd input your buyer's name and email on the ticketers site, which would give them a link to pay, and would void/refund your original transaction, so you broke even. I had to use it and it was a crude system but it was great.

Reselling Tix you can't use now and getting face value is very difficult otherwise, esp if you use a service that takes a cut. And Craigslist is so filled with scams, people just don't want to use it

hootenanny-soundtracking clusterfucks about milking cows (Neanderthal), Friday, 10 March 2023 17:41 (three weeks ago) link

Yeah, if you're not doing it with someone you semi-trust, like a co-worker ("Ok, the Venmo went through... I'll transfer the tickets now"), you need some kind of digital escrow system.

unknown blues singer (morrisp), Friday, 10 March 2023 17:45 (three weeks ago) link

My best friend and I once got scammed for Lightning tickets during the Eastern Conference Finals. He seemed legit and she had actually chatted with him for a bit, I sent the money via CashApp, nothing. Since you can't mark Goods/Service, they refused to refund. She was in tears.

I decided to use a credit card and pay a majorly marked up price to acquire resale Tix on Ticketmaster. Something like $150 each. It was an expensive day but the look on her face during the game made up for it.

So yeah fuck tickets

hootenanny-soundtracking clusterfucks about milking cows (Neanderthal), Friday, 10 March 2023 17:55 (three weeks ago) link

We need to go back to the early 2000s, where I would physically meet up with some dude in an In-N-Out, and hand him a wad of cash for Strokes tickets.

unknown blues singer (morrisp), Friday, 10 March 2023 17:58 (three weeks ago) link

Saw this going around re: The Cure (fees for each ticket exceeding the ticket price):


chemtrails over the turkey club (morrisp), Thursday, 16 March 2023 00:52 (two weeks ago) link

^^ rejected alternate cover for Carnage Visors

(not really)

obsidian crocogolem (sleeve), Thursday, 16 March 2023 01:16 (two weeks ago) link

When I got the Ticketmaster email that said I had been *waitlisted* to be a "Verified Fan," my immediate reaction was, fuck that, I'm not going to be their dancing monkey, and didn't even bother trying for tickets.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 16 March 2023 02:29 (two weeks ago) link

But hey, I can go on Stubhub right now, and pay $150 a pop (before fees) for nosebleed tickets for a show in June that literally only went on (pre)sale this morning.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 16 March 2023 02:32 (two weeks ago) link

Sounds like the Drake presale was another clusterfuck.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 16 March 2023 02:36 (two weeks ago) link

And Drake tickets were apparently super expensive even without fees

curmudgeon, Thursday, 16 March 2023 05:01 (two weeks ago) link

Not playing this three-card-monte game again. Spending my money on new bands that could use it...

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 16 March 2023 05:25 (two weeks ago) link

it wasn’t just about making more money,” Azoff says. “It was also about sending the message that Eagles were America’s biggest band

god, what a piece of shit

budo jeru, Friday, 17 March 2023 05:13 (two weeks ago) link

Robert Smith of the Cure got Ticketmaster to offer a $10 refund on service fees to verified fan Cure ticket buyers who bought those cheapest Cure tickets ; and $5 to other verified fan ticket buyers


curmudgeon, Friday, 17 March 2023 15:36 (two weeks ago) link

I seem to recall that sort of outcome being the straw that broke Pearl Jam's back, that after months of fighting they were only able to shave off something like $5.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 17 March 2023 16:00 (two weeks ago) link

i'm not even invested in this specific instance with the cure personally, but it's very emblematic of why i stopped making big live shows a priority in life. when i think of the main "general amorphous villains" of my life, along with concepts like `people who steal` and `people who are rude to service workers`, i always think of the entity "TICKETMASTER" itself as a manifested evildoer. yes i can attend shows with no affiliations, but man. it's been over the line for years.

pure speculative pontification from this point forward, feel free to skip

wondering about 2 things:

1- rs wasn't given details about how much "fees" would be, saw results and threatened to cancel or something. that's why he referred to the refund as being done in "good faith." i'm hoping the refund will be a simple debit back to the customer's card/account. knowing those assholes, it may end up coming back to everyone in the form of like an arby's gift card that you need to take a day off from in order to simply acquire the fucking thing.
2- the whole thing's a ruse to get the crowd on the band's side, i.e. buy more tickets. tickmaster know they're heels anyway. wouldn't put it past them.

''can be prusuaded to show gayness'' (Austin), Friday, 17 March 2023 16:13 (two weeks ago) link

I think Robert Smith got out ahead of this early enough that no one blamed him or the band. The bigger question is, if Robert Smith of the Cure can sway Ticketmaster, even $10/$5, why can't Taylor Fucking Swift or Bruce Springsteen?

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 17 March 2023 16:27 (two weeks ago) link

I assume they could if they wanted to

chemtrails over the turkey club (morrisp), Friday, 17 March 2023 16:29 (two weeks ago) link

That's my assumption.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 17 March 2023 16:35 (two weeks ago) link

Robert still roasting them today over some other ticket screwup. You love to see it.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 17 March 2023 18:03 (two weeks ago) link

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