With headlines such as “Beyonce sells out in 15 seconds” and “Lady Gaga’s weekend show sells out in minutes” flying around, it seems that the ticket market is flourishing and popular artists can benefit from a sold-out venue and a happy crowd of fans to perform for.
However dig a little deeper and you’ll uncover a brutal truth that crushes the hearts of fans and leaves fanatics weeping. The growing number of ticket scalpers is becoming an on-going issue in the music world with rogue buyers purchasing popular music tickets and re-selling for insane prices. So how true is it that artist’s really sell out an arena in mere seconds? Sure, the tickets are sold out, but what percentage of those tickets went to true fans? How many of those tickets will be used effectively versus go to waste due to the high re-sale price?
With the ever-changing economy and the inflation of pricing everywhere, the average gig ticket can retail from anywhere between $20-50 / £15-32, whereas a retail ticket for a big name concert can vary anywhere between $80-300 / £50-200. This is just retail price level. The reality that we face today is this: fans are lucky to get tickets at those original prices.
Scalpers buy most of the original-price tickets and resale for much higher. How does $400 / £250 sound to see a small-name artist in a tiny venue? What about $900 / £600 for a mid-tier ticket to see one of the world’s biggest pop stars? For these prices, fans receive the same value of the original prices. These aren’t for VIP access or meet-and-greet benefits, just a plain standing or seated ticket.
This is more than unfair. Low and middle-income, music-loving and artist-supporting fans are becoming incapable of seeing their favorite artists perform live due to the sheer greed of individuals capitalizing on the demand of upcoming concerts. So, aren’t ticket scalpers taking music away from the fans?
For the majority of fans, the ability to spend an evening with their favorite artist enjoying the music that they connect with is the best part of being a fan. It’s the one time that everyone can come together as one coherent family and enjoy the music that has brought them together. To be robbed of this is a devastating to blow to both the fan and the artist. For the most part, the average fan can just about swallow the retail value of a ticket price, but triple that and you are left with a price that is out of budget and leaves fans with an ultimatum: miss out completely or swallow an even heftier price tag, both of which leave a foul taste in the mouth.
Ticket scalpers impact the artists, as well. Ultimately, over-priced tickets lead to an influx of empty seats. On paper, they have sold out, so the artist received the relevant revenue, but beyond monetary gain the artist can potentially lose reputation through wasted ticketing. As the inflated re-sale price increases, the interest in purchase decreases purely based on the monetary greed. The majority of artists suffer from empty venues and media backlash which further reiterates that ticket scalpers are causing more damage to the music industry than intended.
But wait: with early purchasing schemes such as pre-sales and fan-club codes, this issue is already addressed, right? Fans get first dibs at tickets, right? Wrong. Without a specific screening method, ticket scalpers can penetrate any presale and swipe the tickets from under us.
There is a lot to be done in terms of tackling this ongoing issue, perhaps tightening the re-sale clause in ticket terms and conditions or even banning re-sale platforms such as StubHub and Get Me In. Failing that, ticket re-sale platforms could offer a limit on the inflation price of a ticket as a way of keeping everyone happy should they decide to re-sell. However, without action, the volume of disappointed fans and empty venues will continue to grow.
Have you lost regular price tickets to scalpers who bought them all before you could? Let us know in the comments what your experience has been and what you suggest the music industry do to end this epidemic.Note: Populove is currently undergoing site maintenance following a hiatus. Some post images and comments from previous months may not appear as we work on the issue.