I had a long conversation with a promoter who told me that with regard to a show he was promoting, Ticketmaster was guaranteeing the secondary market for the act.
Let me explain this to you. A certain number of tickets are pulled from the manifest and ultimately sold on TicketsNow. Ticketmaster guarantees a certain gross payment to the act for these tickets, far in excess of the usual payment per ticket. If the tickets don’t sell at the predicted high prices? Too bad for Ticketmaster.
Blame the acts for this. Ticketmaster Is taking the heat.
It bothers me that the traditional press and concertgoers are too stupid to see the truth here. Irving said at the House hearing that only 80-85% of the tickets to a show are ever sold by Ticketmaster. The question is, where do the remaining 15-20% go?
A certain percentage go to senate seat holders. In English, people buy season passes to every gig at a venue. Sometimes, legitimately/with good intentions. These people go to each and every show or give or sell unwanted tickets to friends OR sell them on the secondary market, i.e. StubHub and TicketsNow. But oftentimes the owners of senate seats are brokers/scalpers. Sure, they may eat the tickets for dog shows (figuratively, not literally), but they live for the superstar tickets, which they scalp and make a profit on. So, when you see tickets available on secondary sites before the show has even gone on sale at Ticketmaster, this is most often senate seat holders. They’ve got the tickets, they’ve got the right.
Do other people/brokers/scalpers have connections at Ticketmaster and are able to buy the best seats? One cannot totally eliminate fraud, let’s just take Ticketmaster’s word that it does the best to stamp out this process.
Does Ticketmaster pull tickets from the original on sale and sell them on TicketsNow, bypassing the traditional 10 A.M. free-for-all feeding frenzy? I don’t know the answer to this. But I suspect not. Because Ticketmaster is a public company and the additional revenue would have to show up somewhere in the accounting. In any event, I’ve got no confirmation/independent corroboration stating this occurs.
But what shocked me was a recent conversation with a manager. Who told me that Live Nation’s offer for his act included pulling multiple hundreds of tickets to sell on the secondary market. I did not know that Live Nation did this. Do I believe this manager? Absolutely. Is this a common practice? I don’t sell shows/talent, so I don’t know. But, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
We need a little truth here. Where do all the tickets to a show go? How many to senate seat holders, how many to the band, how many to insiders, how many to..?
Ticketmaster is taking all the heat, but is Ticketmaster really the culprit here? And, if it is, is it the only one?
How about a little sunshine. The acts are hiding behind Ticketmaster. But if Live Nation wants this merger approved, how about a delineation of availability. In other words, who gets the right to buy tickets?
The public is ignorant. The public thinks if a show goes on sale, they’re entitled to pay face rate and sit in the front row. The public doesn’t know the ticket fees are kicked back from Ticketmaster to the promoter, the act, the building…
Then again, some people aren’t ignorant. They don’t even deal with the original on sale. They go straight to the secondary market. They know what’s available, the price is clear and they make a reasonable decision, not influenced by the heat of the moment.
Look at it this way. If there’s a rush to buy the latest toy every Christmas, why should someone with money think he’s entitled to just log on to Ticketmaster’s site and buy great seats? They can’t buy a wii.
But, the game should be defined. How many of the overall tickets being sold are available through Ticketmaster? Are any good seats ever put on sale?
Forget the Springsteen hysteria. That’s not the real issue here. The point is, in a country where you can look up what someone gave to a politician on the Internet, where you can research seemingly each and every fact about individuals and companies online, why can’t there be a map showing what tickets are actually available? Furthermore, why can’t there be an accounting of where the "missing" tickets have gone?
Don’t think shenanigans don’t take place with independent promoters. These games are endemic to the system. But now the government gets a say, having the right to approve or disapprove this merger. Where do the tickets go and who has the right to buy them? As for all the pre-sales, you need to get an American Express card and join the fan club and still you can’t get the best seats. Let’s level the playing field. Or at least let the customer know he’s fucked from the get-go.