Author Topic: scalpers  (Read 7098 times)


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« on: June 17, 2005, 11:39:00 am »
Why it's tough to get a ticket
 By Gary Strauss and Anthony DeBarros, USA TODAY1 hour, 30 minutes ago
 How hard is it to get good seats for a hot concert act?
 In a year that's shaping up as the largest collective of A-list touring acts since the mid-1990s, demand for tickets is so intense that nabbing a great seat - make that any seat - is nearly impossible by conventional methods.
 Months ahead of concert dates, superstar draws such as U2, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen are mostly ultra-fast sellouts, underscoring overwhelming demand from a huge fan base of teens to baby boomers.
 Combined with the selling efficiency of the Internet and swelling competition from scalpers, "your chances of getting a great seat after a concert goes on sale are almost non-existent," says Arizona State University economist Steve Happel, a concert business expert. "Tickets are gone in a heartbeat."
 Because lots of tickets are snapped up by scalpers, marketers, promoters, tour sponsors, bands, fan clubs and sports stadiums, which often give preferential treatment to team season-ticket holders seeking concert seats, ordinary fans are often last in line.
 Concert sellouts mostly are a hallmark of older, established male rock artists and country stars such as Toby Keith. Though Madonna, Cher and Janet Jackson have had top-grossing concert tours, most female artists, as well as contemporary, urban and hip-hop performers, generally do better selling CDs than concert seats, says Ray Waddell, senior touring editor for Billboard magazine. "There've been some hot hip-hop tours - 50 Cent and Eminem could be huge this year - but most never equal what they do at retail," he says.
 Across most genres, many bands and promoters are still smarting from 2004, when high ticket prices and lackluster fan interest led to several money-losing tours. This year, Clear Channel Communications, a major tour promoter and venue operator, is slashing some prices to lure fans.
 Still, dinosaur bands such as the Rolling Stones and Motley Crüe continue to command top dollar: more than $400 for face-value tickets. And die-hard fans are willing to pay several thousand more to an increasingly sophisticated network of scalpers.
 "There's a cadre of wealthy fans pushing up prices of popular acts," says Princeton University economist Alan Krueger, who helped coin the term "rockonomics."
 Long among rock's top-grossing live acts, the Stones have sold out 32 North American concert dates on sale so far. Four others are near sellouts. The band is adding shows to meet demand and might expand its tour to 50 shows, says veteran tour director Michael Cohl.
 All 28 of McCartney's U.S. shows were fast sellouts, as were several shows added to satiate fans.
 U2 sold out all 110 North American and European concert dates, most of them within minutes. By the time U2 ends the tour at Portland's Rose Garden Dec. 19, its global windfall will surpass $300 million - the biggest single chunk of this year's $3 billion concert market, says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of industry tracker Pollstar. The Stones and McCartney tours could each reap $100 million, he says.
 Where do the tickets go?
 Traditionally, most fans got the best concert seats by camping out in front of venues and buying tickets as soon as sales opened. That time-honored technique is proving increasingly frustrating.
 Bruce Voelker tried landing four $50 floor tickets for U2's Philadelphia show by having a relative line up hours before the box office opened. Only one ticket, far from the floor, was available when he reached the front of the line. "Everyone's competing for the same concert," says Voelker, 28, a biologist in Baltimore.
 Most buyers are funneled through Ticketmaster, which sold nearly 100 million tickets last year to live events and other entertainment through the Internet and a far-flung network of sales outlets and call centers. "When you have the Internet and thousands of outlets, seats sell out virtually instantly," says David Goldberg, Ticketmaster's head of strategy.
 Says Waddell: "These days, everyone has cell phones and computers to tap in. There's an intensity that wasn't there five years ago."
 With hotter acts, phone and online ticket hunts are often futile. Soon after the electronic sales gates opened for McCartney's Atlanta concert in September, "there were no seats, even in the nosebleed section," says Glenn Hughes, an ad executive in Murray, Ky.
 Hughes, 54, managed to buy two $125 tickets to McCartney's Tampa show. With airfare, hotel and incidentals, Hughes and his wife, Patricia, will spend more than $1,000.
 McCartney's 58 shows in 2002 pulled in about $125 million, the year's top-grossing act. But he and other big-name artists are doing fewer 2005 shows. Springsteen, who is on a solo acoustic tour, is opting for smaller, more intimate venues, which further drains a limited ticket pool.
 Just how many tickets are held out by artists, promoters and venues and never made available to the mass market is closely guarded. Ticketmaster says sales are proprietary. Clear Channel declined comment. Waddell estimates that up to 20% of tickets are held back. "They go to bands, promoters, (venues), sponsors, radio promotions and record labels," he says. "These are generally the best seats."
 His estimate may be low. "In some buildings, you might need 2,000 tickets for the fan club, 2,000 for radio stations and the band and 5,000 more" for companies such as American Express that use pre-sales for marketing, Cohl says.
 Sports coliseums and stadiums may be ideal for packing in huge concert crowds. But stages, equipment and other limitations cut seating. Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., holds 61,500 fans for University of Virginia football games, but for the Stones' show Oct. 6, there's space for just 51,000.
 Moreover, arenas and stadiums owned by professional teams or managers often allow season-ticket holders first crack at concert seats.
 Boston's Fenway Park holds 36,298 fans for Red Sox games. Seating is limited to 30,000 for the Stones' August shows. Red Sox season-ticket holders grabbed 12,500 a show after Stones fan club members had their shot; only about half were left for general sale.
 The MCI Center in Washington, D.C., holds up to 20,675 fans for Wizards NBA games. Seating at U2's shows Oct. 19 and 20 will be limited to 18,000. Season-ticket holders and U2 fan club members were first in line, leaving 12,000 a show for general sale. Both sold out in 30 minutes. For the Stones' MCI show Oct. 3, just 15,000 seats were available for general sale. They were gone in 20 minutes.
 Coldplay: Sold out in 10 minutes
 Coldplay sold out two September Madison Square Garden shows in 10 minutes, says band manager Dave Holmes. The Garden can seat 20,000, but seats weren't sold behind the band's stage, reducing the gate to 14,000. Fan club members got 1,400 tickets. "The rule of thumb is the first 15 rows go to the fan club," Holmes says.
 Ticket holds for the band, guests, concert promoter and band label Capitol Records - also considered choice seating - left about 10,000 seats for general sale. "We try to take care of our fans, but we still get complaints," Holmes says. Marketers also grab chunks of tickets for pre-sales. American Express won't release specifics but says it had "thousands" of pre-sale tickets for several Stones shows. "There were enough to make it worthwhile for card members," spokeswoman Judy Tenzer says.
 Tour sponsors such as Ameriquest, the mortgage company underwriting the Stones' U.S. shows, also get tickets, typically 100 to 500 a show, for promotions, employees and clients. "They're supposed to be good seats," says Ameriquest marketing chief Brian Woods.
 There'll be even fewer seats for average fans at the Stones' show Nov. 4 in Anaheim, Calif., near Ameriquest's corporate headquarters. "We've got over 10,000 employees here," Woods says. "How can we sponsor a tour and not allow every employee to see the band?"
 Ticketmaster tries to prevent scalpers from edging out fans by limiting purchases and setting up optical barriers to prevent scalpers from using automated computer programs to gobble up blocks of tickets. "We take a lot of measures to ensure everyone has fair access, but it's a constant cat-and-mouse game," Goldberg says.
 But security experts say it's not hard for hackers to circumvent anti-scalping security measures. "An intermediate-level programmer can script something relatively easy, and it costs almost nothing to set up a scalping system," says Joe Stewart of security monitor LURHQ.
 Moreover, scores of consumers who obtain the pre-sale password code Ticketmaster and band Web sites typically require often put the codes up for sale on their own. Online auctioneer eBay currently lists 270 auctions just for pre-sale concert-ticket access passwords.
 Scalpers see pure gold
 For years, fans often got choice tickets by joining band fan clubs. But scalping networks also buy fan-club memberships - a cost-effective method for obtaining face-value tickets for resale - a concept U2 didn't grasp until its botched pre-sale fan-club sales effort. U2 offered up to eight tickets to those paying $40 to join its fan club. But a small ticket pool and competition from scalpers overwhelmed supply, prompting U2 to pay back fan-club fees. U2 drummer Larry Mullen weighed in with an apology during the band's acceptance speech at February's Grammy Awards.
 "For scalpers, U2 is the Super Bowl," Waddell says.
 The Stones charge $100 for "platinum" fan-club membership and a chance for pre-sale concert tickets. Members can preview seating availability online. "If you don't like the seats, you don't have to buy the membership," Cohl says. "We're hoping to match hopes and reality."
 Coldplay doesn't charge fans to join its club. About 500 scalpers posing as fan-club members have been blocked from buying tickets so far, but Holmes concedes many use access to resell tickets.
 For those whose concert dreams remain unfulfilled, scalpers are an increasing supply source. About 20 states prohibit ticket resales or require broker licenses, but anti-scalping laws, mostly misdemeanor offenses, are lightly enforced.
 Up to 30% of hot concert tickets probably are sold by scalpers, fueled largely by growing Internet sales, Happel says.
 Scalpers and ticket brokers take in an estimated $1.5 billion a year reselling concert tickets. Once confined to local brokers and shady scalpers hawking tickets outside venues, resellers are well represented on the Internet, which has spawned hundreds of online marketers such as TicketsNow and StubHub.
 Two front-row tickets for the Stones' Boston show Aug. 21 are selling for $7,410 on The company also developed "plug-in" software that allows brokers to link to a central selling database. "Business is booming," founder Mike Domek says.
 Competitor, another Internet site that serves as a clearinghouse for buyers and sellers, says soaring ticket prices in the secondary market simply reflect supply and demand. "If it's a great seat, that ticket will trade at a price regardless of restrictions and price caps," says StubHub co-founder Jeff Fluhr. StubHub profits by tacking on a 25% surcharge - 15% to sellers and 10% to buyers.
 Many resellers are small-time entrepreneurs who might take offense at the term "scalper" because they pick up a handful of extra seats to offset the cost of their own. Annual ticket auctions are growing more than 50% a year at eBay, the electronic storefront for thousands of sellers, spokesman Dean Jutilla says. EBay currently has listings for about 100,000 tickets, 90% for sporting events and concerts.
 $4,250 for two U2 tickets
 This month, there have been 3,450 eBay listings for U2 tickets. Highest price paid so far: $4,250 for two seats for the show May 21 at Madison Square Garden. EBay has 2,880 listings for McCartney's tour. Highest winning bid: $4,299 for two seats at his Anaheim show. Among the 7,600 eBay listings for Stones tickets, fans have bought three separate pairs for nearly $4,000 apiece.
 With fans willing to shell out thousands, scalping becomes tempting for musicians, too. As the drummer for Semisonic - opening act for headliners Matchbox Twenty and Sheryl Crow - Jacob Slichter frequently got free tickets.
 "One show we had tickets to were going on eBay for $3,000," says Slichter, author of So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star. "It was tempting to sell, but it seemed sacrilegious."
 Most musicians concede there's little to stop scalpers. "Scalping has been around forever," says Jimmy Buffett. Front-row tickets to Buffett's show Sept. 4 at Chicago's Wrigley Field are being offered by online scalpers for $1,560.
 "I don't have any answer to it," Buffett says. "I'm doing less dates, and there are fewer tickets, and that's the problem. It's the law of supply and demand. If people didn't want to sit there, it wouldn't be happening."


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Re: scalpers
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2005, 11:51:00 am »
Originally posted by lily1:
 Most musicians concede there's little to stop scalpers. "Scalping has been around forever," says Jimmy Buffett. Front-row tickets to Buffett's show Sept. 4 at Chicago's Wrigley Field are being offered by online scalpers for $1,560.
 "I don't have any answer to it," Buffett says. "I'm doing less dates, and there are fewer tickets, and that's the problem. It's the law of supply and demand. If people didn't want to sit there, it wouldn't be happening."
$100 For Parking?
 Fans attending Jimmy Buffett's concert at Pittsburgh's PNC Park June 26 can expect to pay as much as $100 for spaces operated by the city's Alco Parking Corporation, but the company's president said fans were willing to fork out the cash.
  The $100 fee is for a 500-capacity VIP lot, which is privately owned by Alco and located across the street from PNC Park. When Alco President Merrill Stabile learned that Buffett was coming to town, he decided to capitalize on the Mayor of Margaritaville's Parrotheads.
  "We were basically charging what we felt was the demand," Stabile told Pollstar. "Granted, there's a little bit of sticker shock but, at the same time, we're selling them like crazy. We're almost sold out."

Bombay Chutney

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Re: scalpers
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2005, 11:52:00 am »
Originally posted by lily1:
   For the Stones' MCI show Oct. 3, just 15,000 seats were available for general sale. They were gone in 20 minutes.
Not true.  There were still tickets available the next day.

Re: scalpers
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2016, 05:57:34 pm »
Ticketmaster Wants You To Oppose a Bill Designed to Protect Fans.

Ticketmaster, behind the veil of an organization called ?Fans First Coalition,? is asking fans to write to their Maryland representatives and ask that this bill be defeated. They argue that HB 1266 will do nothing more than make it easier for scalpers to get tickets ahead of fans. But that?s a stretch. It won?t change the status quo much at all, but it WILL prevent Ticketmaster from controlling how tickets are resold. And that seems the much more likely reason they want this bill defeated.


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Re: scalpers
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2016, 06:39:37 pm »
I don't see the point in even using the word "scalper" anymore.. everyone is an actual or potential scalper these days.. particularly the younger crowd has zero scruples about reselling tickets for a profit...The internet has made it so easy to acquire and resell tickets and is partly driving the higher ticket prices.. why should musicians price their tickets low when resellers will just  make money off of them?

I was surprise to see how much Paul Simon Wolftrap lawn tickets cost...but why not? if they priced them any lower people would buy them and resell them for a profit (or to pay for their own..)

Justin Tonation

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Re: scalpers
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2016, 08:58:30 pm »
If it's all about technology then why bother having tickets at all? Electronic for those with smart phones, will call for those without.
😐 🎶

Re: scalpers
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2023, 07:33:57 am »
noticed some new verbiage when buying IMP tickets

 Tickets are non-transferable until 24 hours prior to the show time. Any tickets suspected of being purchased for the sole purpose of reselling can be cancelled at the discretion of 9:30 Club / Ticketmaster, and buyers may be denied future ticket purchases for I.M.P. shows


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Re: scalpers
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2023, 06:40:23 pm »
Tickets are non-transferable until 24 hours prior to the show time

Is this included for every IMP show? Assumed that it was a case by case basis. I will say, the "sell tickets" option on ticketmaster is rarely ever available, at least for the shows I've bought tickets to in the last year or two.

Re: scalpers
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2023, 12:54:34 pm »
was curious what a lawn seat would go for All Things Go Festival (Sunday Pass) (LDR/BoyG/arlo)

$1000 for a lawn seat...yowza


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Re: scalpers
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2023, 01:39:52 pm »
Doesn’t mean anyone will pay it

Re: scalpers
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2023, 03:06:31 pm »
Doesn’t mean anyone will pay it
true...but there are a lot of wealthy dads in the DMV who only know how to show love by buying their kids things they want

Julian, Authenticated CAUDILLO

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Re: scalpers
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2023, 03:14:35 pm »
Doesn’t mean anyone will pay it
true...but there are a lot of wealthy dads in the DMV who only know how to show love by buying their kids things they want
Do we need a Julian’s DMV thread?