Zach Bryan Ticketing

“Zach Bryan/The Burn, Burn, Burn Tour Announcement”:

And we thought it was all about the fees…

But it turns out it’s about process and transparency.

The public can’t figure out ticketing, and neither can the government. And that’s exactly the way the music business wants it.

There are pre-sales, holdbacks, platinum… And on the general on-sale there can be fewer than a thousand tickets available in an arena. And you wonder why the public is frustrated?

There are going to be fees on the Zach Bryan tickets. Ten to twenty dollars. And honestly, that’s not cheap, that’s not bupkes. But you know what they are, you’re not going to be surprised with a crazy number when you go to check out on the ticketing site.

Zach can’t get rid of the fees, because that’s promoter profit, and the buildings get a piece, and of course the ticketing company gets a piece… Because the acts take all the rest. The fees were created to establish a pile of money that the acts couldn’t commission.

And the ticketing company, which does not get all of the fees, as per the above, is paid to take the heat, so the act looks good. Without the fees, the whole business does not work. Or would have to be restructured, and good luck negotiating with agents to do this.

So that’s the fees.

But what are the odds of getting tickets?

Come on, you’ve got to know somebody. Otherwise you’re sitting in the rafters if you’re in the building at all.

Except for platinum, what USED to be called platinum anyway. Platinum was right up front on the floor or in the adjacent loge. And you paid extra to be close. But now platinum also includes good seats elsewhere in the building. That cost more. Muddying the water, so people have no idea what is going on. And these platinum tickets are flex-priced, as in they might be listed at $150 but then either a computer or a person sees demand is hot and makes them $250. It’s like a land rush in the old west. Gentlemen, start your engines, be ready in front of your computer at 10 AM and good luck! Hell, Wall Street traders pay millions to establish the most direct wires so they can trade a millisecond earlier, and it works. Good luck competing with the scalpers who buy tickets every day. Whatever you do with your fingers a programmed machine can do faster.

So everybody crowds in at once and the system jams up which is why with Zach Bryan tickets…

You register in advance, you get more than a week to do this.

And, here’s the new wrinkle, you’ve got to provide a credit card attached to your name and AXS charges it a dollar to see if you’re real.

Oh, of course you get the dollar back. It’s taken off the ultimate ticket price, or if you don’t get tickets at all, it’s refunded.

So, you just can’t use an e-mail address, clogging up the works. You’ve got to prove that you’re real with said credit card. And then the list is combed again for obvious shenanigans. Such that AXS ends up with legitimate customers who are ready to buy tickets. Are some of them scalpers? Yes, nothing is perfect, but they’ve been hindered here.

And then the potential ticket buyers are randomized, and then a number are picked and sent e-mails saying they can buy at a certain time.

You get a window, you know it in advance. And then either you show up and buy the tickets or not. Promoters who have used this process in the past usually establish two hour tranches. The first group can start buying at ten. The next starting at noon, etc., until all tickets are sold.

Not everybody who registers for a ticket ultimately decides to buy one, for whatever reason. So even though you may have a later window, you still might get a ticket.

And then… You can’t resell the ticket for a profit.

You can list it for resale on the AXS site for the same price, but you can’t get a lift.

For those not in the business, I must tell you there’s a rolling bar code. So what the number is today not only isn’t the number tomorrow, but may not be the same in an hour or less.

So the ticket is tied to the purchaser’s name. Let’s say one person bought four tickets. Bottom line, all four people have to show up and go into the building together. Inconvenient? Yes. But what we’re talking about here is a plethora of demand and little supply. You always have to go through hurdles in this situation. Whether it be waiting in front of your computer or lining up physically, it’s never easy.

And, a scalper who bought four tickets… Can show up with three people who he has charged a thousand bucks apiece and walk them in and then walk out himself, burning one ticket but making a big profit.

So what Zach is achieving here is allowing genuine fans a better chance of getting a ticket at a fair price. Does this mean they will get a ticket? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

The public is the weak link in ticketing, even more than the scalpers. The public wants to scalp its own tickets. The public believes it should be able to sit in the front row for a cheap price. A fan believes they’re entitled to get into the building, that’s their right! And Zach’s ticketing procedure means a fan may ultimately be SOL, outside the building on the night of the concert. Which they don’t like. You see the public wants fairness but also doesn’t want fairness. Everybody wants an edge, many believe they’re entitled to an edge, and Zach’s process clamps down on this.

Also, computer failure is obviated. Because not every ticket is available at the same time and people who are not really planning to buy tickets can’t play.

Come on, technology has limits. Facebook, Spotify, Verizon even, they all go down once in a while. Not only are there errors… Hell, try using the Apple site right after they announce a new product. Talk about slooooowwwwwwww….

Even though technology works so well, not everything can be rendered perfectly in an instant. But by slowing the process down, AXS insures that the odds of the tech getting overwhelmed is nearly impossible.

Once again, beating up on the public, you can watch the above video and get almost all of this. But people are complaining online because they didn’t watch the video. You know, like people who don’t bother to read the instructions. Is that Zach Bryan’s fault? You can never make every single person happy, that’s a fallacious goal. In addition, ten percent of the public is literally crazy, you can’t make them happy unless Zach comes to their house and performs for free!

But unless you’re in the concert business or a Zach Bryan fan, all of the above is probably news to you.

Welcome to the modern age. Where not only is it nearly impossible to spread information, you can be less than a household name and be doing boffo at the b.o.

Yes the goal is not to reach everybody, just those who care. That old shotgun model of network TV, advertising cars to kids without driver’s licenses, just hoping their parents are watching with them? That’s done. Just worry about those who have an interest. Furthermore, if you dun those who don’t care you build anger and resentment, and that’s very hard to overcome. In other words, you might alienate a potential fan who doesn’t even know they’re going to be a fan!

As for Ticketmaster…

Well, Ticketmaster could replicate what AXS has done for Zach Bryan, but the ticketing company only does what the act wants. Not all acts are guaranteed sellouts. Not all acts want to keep prices low. Some acts are so concerned with publicity they want to generate a high number instantly to wow…I’m not exactly sure who, everybody on the inside knows the truth. You discounted your music at the iTunes Store and told your fans to buy it and the track went up the chart. Do you think people don’t know this? As for impressing fans, they’re already impressed, and usually no one else cares.

So I walked into the condo office in Vail to get something and they saw my Eric Clapton jacket and were wowed. Merch, tickets, perks of the business. Every business has perks, believe me. And then the fiftysomething majordomo spontaneously started waxing rhapsodic about Zach Bryan, how he wants to see him at Red Rocks, how his whole family loves Zach, not only him and his wife but his three kids and…

I was stunned.

I’ve done my radio show from Vail, this guy knows what I do for a living, and he has never ever expressed any interest in today’s music. None. And isn’t even that interested in the old music either.

I was floored. How did Zach reach these people? It’s not like he was on the Super Bowl, it’s not like he was on the front page of the paper, he’s got a mild hit, but where do people even hear these tracks anymore? Nobody I know listens to terrestrial radio, they can’t handle the commercials and the repetition. How did he and his family get the word?

That’s the power of great music speaking truth about life written and performed by a credible artist. We were told it was about setup, about clothing, about social media, when really it just comes down to the music, if it’s good enough, That’s how hungry people are.

Treat them right.

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