We've all been there. Tickets for a hot show — say, a triple bill featuring the Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, and Hoobastank — go on sale, and, because you either forgot to buy them or didn't time your login to Ticketmaster just right, you find yourself on the outside of the show looking in. So what do you do? If you're anything like us, first you cry for a few minutes, then you get on with the business of tracking down tickets in secondary markets like TicketsNow, eBay, or StubHub (which is owned by eBay). However, now that some artists (*cough* Michael Jackson *cough*) have begun to realize that there is some major money to be made by selling their comp tickets through these vendors (sometimes in excess of $2 million per show), both angry consumers and "legit" artists like Trent Reznor are starting to call bullshit on the whole practice of what the industry is labeling as "dynamic pricing."
As you might recall, Bruce Springsteen and the New Jersey attorney general got all medieval on Ticketmaster's ass when the company pulled this stunt on Springsteen's fans back in February. However, other less scrupulous acts, like Neil Diamond and the aforementioned King of Pop, are taking the seats they get allotted for shows — sometimes upwards of 10 percent — and are either reselling them through their fan clubs or through sites like StubHub. Once savvy and loyal fans began to realize this, they rightfully responded on message boards in a tone that could accurately be described as pissed off. Seeing some of this chatter on the NIN message board, none other than Trent Reznor himself logged in to post a retort:
My guess as to what will eventually happen if / when Live Nation and Ticketmaster merges is that they'll move to an auction or market-based pricing scheme — which will simply mean it will cost a lot more to get a good seat for a hot show. They will simply BECOME the scalper, eliminating them from the mix.
Nothing's going to change until the ticketing entity gets serious about stopping the problem — which of course they don't see as a problem. The ultimate way to hurt scalpers is to not support them. Leave them holding the merchandise. If this subject interests you, check out the following links. Don't buy from scalpers, and be suspect of artists singing the praises of the Live Nation / TicketMaster merger. What's in it for them?
While we're on the topic of scalpers, in a marginally related story, Jay Leno is none too happy to have discovered that tickets to the two free shows he's performing for laid-off autoworkers in Detroit are selling for upwards of $200 a ticket on eBay: He discussed how "annoyed" he was with the whole shebang during his show last night (see below). As uplifting as an evening of comedy with Jay Leno would portend to be, somehow we have a feeling it's not as uplifting as avoiding foreclosure and eviction.
Leno: Take tickets for free show off eBay [Freep]
Trent Reznor decries scalping, looks to the future of concert ticket biz [Pop & Hiss/LAT]
Michael Jackson's Outrageous Ticket Sales Blow the Cover Off Scalping Schemes [Idolator]