The show of the year (at least for
10-year old girls) is upon us. Were you
able to get those most coveted Hannah Montana concert tickets? If not, figuring out who to blame may be as
elusive as getting the tickets in the first place.
For parents out of the concert scene,
this new Internet-induced world of ticket sales has been a real
eye-opener. Ticketmaster, the company
responsible for selling the tickets in the first place, is placing the blame
solely on a technology company named RMG and the ticket brokers that use their
technology. RMG’s technology enables
these brokers to jump to the head of the line and snag the majority of tickets
to hot shows.
Clearly, this technology and the ticket
brokers that use it are making the process less fair for families looking for
tickets; however, focusing solely on new technology will not solve
anything. Unfortunately, the state
attorneys general who are now investigating this issue are following
Ticketmaster’s lead and not looking into the much deeper issues involved.
With music sales slumping, concert
promoters are using every trick possible to create “hype” for upcoming concert
tours. According to Billboard Magazine,
“given production considerations and ‘holds’ for fan clubs
and other constituencies, the actual number of tickets that may be available to
the general public for a given show may be only a few thousand, even if
the listed capacity of the venue is 18,000 or more.” Much like an empty nightclub keeping a line of
potential customers waiting outside, these promoters are focused on building
hype through manufactured scarcity.
To make matters worse,
Ticketmaster has done relatively little to police its site and implement new
technologies that ensure fair ticket sales. If they had taken the necessary to steps to stay ahead of RMG’s
technology, parents may have had a better chance of getting one of the few
tickets actually sold through Ticketmaster.
So, what’s a parent to do? Many have turned to the secondary ticket
market, a place that gives fans another option for purchasing the tickets they
couldn’t get through Ticketmaster. But
many ask, at what price?
Like any other open market system,
supply and demand drive price. Some tickets may command prices that are well
in excess of face value, however, what is often overlooked is that 40% of all
tickets resold on the secondary market are sold for less than face value. In the
end, the online marketplace is a fair and convenient way for consumers to
access tickets if they were unable to get them directly from Ticketmaster or
are looking for lower prices on less popular shows.
Much can be done to improve the
fairness of the current ticket system. Promoters can ensure that more than a few thousand tickets are available
to the general public, and Ticketmaster can do more to prevent ticket brokers
from getting an unfair advantage. It
may not put Hannah Montana tickets in your hand this time around, but there’s
always the next tour.
Executive Director of the NetChoice Coalition