Ticket Scalpers and Resellers

Illustration by Jasper Rietman for The New York Times
Illustration by Jasper Rietman for The New York Times

As soon as pre-sales and on-sales drop for highly-anticipated musical acts, hundreds of thousands of tickets flood to secondary ticketing websites at double-to-decuple the original price. I’ve spent the past two years of my life on the management-side of the music industry, and have witnessed the soulless side of ticket scalping from a statistical standpoint, until two nights ago when it became personal.

I’ve been lucky – all of my favorite bands can hardly sell tickets in the U.S., so I have been able to see all of them, every U.S. run, with casually purchasing tickets for their general on-sales; however, this is not the case if you grew up a die-hard fan of metal and alternative rock in the ’80s, ’90s and early ’00s.

I think of my sincere love of music and all of the the bands that I have invested in since their start, and pretend to be in the shoes of fans who never get to witness their favorite band live, because someone who doesn’t care purchased anywhere from 6-to-100 tickets and resold them for more than what they were listed. That, especially in this economy, is un-just and criminal.

I had a conversation with someone this weekend who nonchalantly mentioned that she purchased eight tickets to a show that I helped roll out this past week, just to resell [any that didn’t go to friends] on StubHub at double the price to make some extra bucks. Because I have no filter, I was fine with stating that what she was doing was pretty dickhead to long-term fans.

John Doe who was around for his favorite band’s debut album in 1984, who works 40-hours a week in retail and another 20-hours repairing cars at in order to keep a roof over his family’s heads, cannot afford a $200-700 ticket (then double that to bring his wife). The people who do this – keeping average humans from being able to experience live music via the bands who have largely influenced them and aided them through tough times – must not have much of a conscience.

This past week, I’ve spent hours reading upset fans’ comments who were unable to secure tickets in pre-sale and then on-sale, and wrangling interns to track ticket counts and re-selling prices on all ticket reselling platforms. What has been purely statistical for me the past two years has been presented to me on a personal level, and it feels like an outright tragedy.

I guess the bigger question is: Is what you’re doing to make a couple extra bucks giving back or taking away from the world?

I’ll answer that question. Reselling tickets for profit? The latter.

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