Something smells rancid in the ticket industry…..

I am not someone that goes to a lot of concerts, and to be honest, I feel a little to old for it these days, but when my favourite band (when I was in high school anyway!) toured Brisbane I decided to book tickets. Remembering the debacles others suffered booking tickets of late, (e.g. AC/DC, Big Day Out) I decided to get in early and not miss out.

(yes there will be a tech slant, hang in there)

Presale 1 came along. Hit the site at 9:02am. Its been on sale for 2 mins, shouldn’t be a drama.

Nope, couldn’t get anything… but what was wierd was that the site didn’t seem to register than people had bought all the tickets and it was saying there were still some available but wouldn’t allow you to purchase as it was waiting for others to pay. I figured there was either some really shitty software behind the site or some thing was fishy…..

eventually I got tickets under the general release however the vultures had already picked the bones it seemed….. masses of tickets online, some sellers with 20 or 30 per lot. How could they get so many when it was near impossible for me to get 2? The site only allowed you to buy 4 at a time so they had to go through the process more than a few times and once you get to the payment page you have a couple of minutes at best to purchase, so how do they do it? It seems they wrote software to do it. Well, not the ticket scalpers, leeches can’t write software, they leech it from someone else. It looks like it’s becoming something of a big problem, to the point that scalpers (or ‘ticket brokers’ as they would like us to call them. I’ll stick to ‘scumbag leeches’) are snatching up to 80% of the available tickets, and in the USA it’s becoming a legitimate industry with even the primary ticket sellers like ticketmaster owning reseller shopfronts.

Most of the relevant information I have found applies to the US market however I would be very surprised if there aren’t groups and companies doing the same here. The big problem is that

  • ticket sellers don’t care… money is money is money, just as long as scalpers keep it on the QT and out of the media.
  • Ebay and other reseller marketplaces don’t care – again, it’s cash in their pockets.
  • Most major artists don’t seem to care, at least not publicly.
  • Many users see it as a handy service if they decide to go last minute, so money leaves their hands and the cycle continues.

The problem is there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix. Markets are driven by demand and scalpers can play the auction game to get as much as possible. There are groups placing false bids as a way of protest, but that is not really the answer, it just pisses the fans off, who are already shirty because they have to pay twice face value. The only scheme I can see working is a system like any other reservation. You book it under your name, you show your licence at the door. If you can’t attend, you have 2 weeks or so prior to cancel and get a refund. Back into the pool and next in the waiting list is offered the ticket. Job done, no-one overly put out. Would take the gig crowd a while to deal with the change I guess but after the requisite whinging and moaning about not being able to transfer a ticket to their mate, they will get over it. I guess the ticket companies will not want to offer any sort of refund system as their profit on less popular events will decrease however there needs to be some way for the average joe to be able to recoup his money as tickets are purchased 6 to 9 months prior.

Anyone else have a better idea? apart from ‘Hunt the f@#kers down and drag them from your towball through the main street’ of course!