Ticketmaster Collaborates With Artists And Promoters To Shove Scalpers Aside

from the nothing-at-face-value dept

Ticketmaster is the sort of company that lots of people love to hate. It's long been dogged by complaints that it is anti-competitive -- complaints which have gathered pace with its recent move to merge with Live Nation. The company has done plenty of things to try to drive scalpers out of business before, in hopes of sucking up their profit margins, and its latest move will further endear itself to fans. The WSJ reports that Ticketmaster is collaborating with artists and concert promoters to sell premium-priced tickets to shows on its TicketExchange site, and making them look as if they're being sold by fans. Trent Reznor explains the situation in the eminently reasonable way we've come to expect, saying that artists know they could charge much higher prices to some of their fans, but they "don't want to come off as greedy pricks asking that much, even though the market says its value is that high." So instead, they feed them to the reseller market, or as in this case, become the reseller themselves, but obfuscate that fact.

Ticketmaster execs decry the scalper market, and claim it's not fair to artists, who don't get any of the scalper's profits; under the TicketExchange deals, it divides the revenues with artists and concert promoters. This is all pretty bizarre: if Ticketmaster wants to jack up ticket prices, it seems like it would just raise them upfront. It's also not clear why the company thinks that it's abhorrent for scalpers to charge consumers high prices, but it's perfectly okay for Ticketmaster to charge them prices over the tickets' face value. This news will hardly endear the company further to consumers, and probably won't help it with government regulators, either.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Matt Bennett, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 1:49pm

    I bought some tickets from Tickets Exchange recently. I didn't realize it was ticketmaster......Here's the weird thing: The site was pretty professional, but my ticket could not be sent as an electronic format, and had another person's name on it, but I was not warned of that, which led me to think, in the end, that it was actually brokerage/exchange site pretending not to be. Damn. Even odder, though, is that tickets were cheaper than ticketmaster (waayyyy too high) prices at the time.....so how does that fit in with this story?

    Ticketmaster, btw, has always been in my opinion just an officially sanctioned scalper.

     

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  2.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 1:58pm

    interesting isn't it how the artists appear to have found a way to quietly make back lost record sales money.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 2:01pm

    What I've never understood is scalping tickets is illegal. Shouldn't it be illegal online as well. It's complete BS when ticket companies do things like this. Then they justify raising the ticket prices because people who can afford it actually buy the tickets at ridiculous prices. It's probably the single reason why so many of my friends no longer buy season tickets for football.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    some old guy, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re:

    the "artists" never made money from record sales.

    (with the very rare exception of a few huge names)

    Most artists actually go into debt with the label to produce an album, and never actually see profits from it at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Matt Bennett, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 2:20pm

    As a free market guy I agree, at the same time, to think it's basically impossible to buy tickets to certain shows, even if you're on top of it, cuz there's a#%^@holes who make it their job to stand in line ahead of you.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Backwoods Barney, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    "What I've never understood is scalping tickets is illegal"
    Scalping is legal in many states......

    "the "artists" never made money from record sales"
    WTF are you nuts....?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    some old guy, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

    Re:

    No, are you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Re:

    oh this is where I get to have some fun with you WH.

    Name a single artist that is not already well known who is bragging about how much money they made from record sales.

    I'll wait.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 2:42pm

    Re:

    I'll ask you the same question I asked Weird Harold.

    Name one artist who is not well known that is bragging about how much money they made from record sales alone.

    I'll wait....and wait...and wait.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 2:45pm

    I'd like to see a concert venue or artist use direct sales to take ticketmaster out of the equation. Here's how I imagine it working:

    For a given venue you'll have different classes of tickets, from front-row-center to nose-bleeds in the rear corner. Tickets are priced at what the band wants to charge and people request to buy tickets. For 2 - 3 weeks individuals can request tickets. At the end of the request period people are offered up to the number of tickets requested. Unsold tickets get recycled to people who didn't get offered all the tickets they wanted. Then 2 weeks before the concert all the remaining tickets are auctioned off. This way ticketmaster can't get their greedy hands on the tickets until the general public has had a chance to request tickets. Also there is nothing to gain by standing in line anywhere.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Colin, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 3:10pm

    direct sales scenario

    "Here's how I imagine it working:"
    Nice idea but...
    The part of the equation that is missing is the fact that Ticketmaster controls most of the venues and will not let the concert happen unless they are the ones doing the selling.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Re:

    They aren't well known. How would I know them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    jo mama, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 3:45pm

    ticket price's

    i've never bought a ticket to anything. trains, planes and yes for a movie now and then, but that's it. my friends tell me i miss the whole experience, bur EVERYTIME

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    jo mama, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 3:58pm

    ticket price's

    i've never bought a ticket to anything. trains, planes and yes for a movie now and then, but that's it. my friends tell me i miss the whole experience, but EVERYTIME they go they come back stabbed, swollen, black and blue and/or teeth missing. and they payed for it. he he

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, you can stonewall your idiotic arguements better than THAT, can't you?

    I guarantee you listen to some band that I have never heard of(and I can guarantee I listen to hundreds of bands you've never heard of) but right now you have the other problem, showing that one of them is bragging about the revenue from their record sales.

    Come on, I'll wait for you to find someone but I won't hold my breath cause you already know you can't and this little game of yours is just the way of saying that I already won so I accept your gracious apology that you will never give.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    ticket dude, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 6:48pm

    ticketmaster

    Ticketmaster just wants to make sure they keep Shareholder Value.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 8:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There are plenty of artists outside of the mainstream doing well, in fields of music neither of us likely listen to. Bluegrass, as an example.

    My lack of an a complete knowledge of individual artists incomes means that yes, I have to say you are right, I cannot provide any examples. Enjoy your "victory".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Nathan, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:45pm

    Ticket scalping is not illegal (first sale doctrine). What is often illegal is reselling tickets on the property at which the event is taking place (trespassing).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your lack of knowledge isn't anything to worry about in this case because it's a trick question: there are no artists who are not well known that make any real revenue from their record sales. They burned most of that up with the advance on the record so they never miss a thing. This is a fact. I know a band that each member made about $78,000/year touring but it cost them money to put CD's on the shelves, to the tune of $10,000-ish.

    P.S. I listen to almost all types of music, Bluegrass included. And yes there are artists that do well but like my example suggests, it doesn't come from the record sales.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    hesitations, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    ebay style bidding

    Why doesn't Ticketmaster institute bidding by venue then by seat within that venue?

    Doesn't this solve the dilemma?
    The fans themselves run up the price of a venue and a seat or not, depending on demand.

    Free markets.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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