Music Industry

Published on September 19th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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New report on concert ticket resellers is a PR nightmare for Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster facilitates sales of massive amounts of tickets to secondary sellers? Apparently.

A new investigation by the CBC and the Toronto Star is going to be a PR nightmare.

There’s a division of the company called Trade Desk not only helps resellers/scalpers circumvent the usual 6-8 ticket purchase limit placed on the general public, but also offers a system that automatically helps those purchasers post those tickets–maybe hundreds and hundreds of them–to sites like StubHub.

In other words, the consumer-facing side of Ticketmaster clamps down on mass purchasing. This other side helps facilitate mass purchasing, which results in the secondary market being flooded with tickets being sold above face value. And Ticketmaster gets to double-dip on service charges.

And it gets better. From The Star:

LAS VEGAS—Inside a Caesars Palace conference room filled with some of the world’s most successful ticket scalpers, a row of promotional booths pitch software programs that help harvest thousands of sport and concert seats to be resold online at hefty markups.

Clustered around demonstration tables at the three-day Ticket Summit 2018 convention in July, discussion among scalpers inevitably centred on Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticket supplier that has a near monopoly on major event seating in North America and the United Kingdom.

As gatekeeper to the entertainment industry’s most coveted events, Ticketmaster implements strict purchasing limits designed to prevent scalpers from using bots to buy tickets on a mass scale. In the past, company officials have publicly disparaged the resale ticket market, calling scalpers “pirates” and a threat to fans — even urging governments to criminalize the activity.

But in one corner of the Las Vegas convention floor sat a conspicuous Ticketmaster booth welcoming scalpers with a solemn reassurance: Ticketmaster wants to share in the profits of the resale market by facilitating the mass scalping of its tickets — in direct violation of its own terms of use.

Reporters from the Star and CBC, posing as small-time scalpers from Canada, listened as sales staff pitched a proprietary Ticketmaster software program designed to help bulk buyers resell thousands of tickets.

You’re going to want to read the rest of the article. Seriously.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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3 Responses to New report on concert ticket resellers is a PR nightmare for Ticketmaster

  1. fred says:

    Went to London this summer and saw Harry Potter and Hamilton. Ended up In London because “StubHub” wanted $2,400 US PER TICKET to see Harry Potter. For the better part of $14K CAD (needed 4 tix), I could get tickets to see HP in London, fly to London, and pay for another 10 days of vacation for what tickets would have cost in NYC. London makes it REALLY hard to resell tickets so shows don’t sell out in seconds. I paid less than $1,000CAD to see HP in London (and another $600CAD to see Hamilton that I paid $3KUS for only 3 of us to see last year in NYC). Needed the CC I bought the tickets for HP with me when I picked the tix up 2 days before the show. Needed the same CC to get into the Hamilton show so almost NO chance I could scalp either. Now this also meant I could not buy a surprise gift for a friend who was making her first trip to London a few days before us because I would have had to give her my credit card to go see Hamilton but I saved 13K on tickets so I will get over it.

  2. Greg says:

    Is negative publicity really going to affect anything for TM though? Probably not in the next few years. They’re almost bulletproof unfortunately.

  3. Pingback: A Journal of Musical ThingsThere's even MORE trouble for Ticketmaster and their alleged cozy relationship with ticket resellers, brokers, and scalpers. Now band managers want answers. - A Journal of Musical Things

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