Five Reasons It’s Harder Than It Used to Be to Buy Good Concert Tickets
Have you ever tried to buy tickets to your favorite concert, but they sold out five minutes after they went on sale? It’s more common than it used to be. And if you still want to go, you end up having to pay WAY over face value on sites like StubHub.com. For example, Justin Bieber was at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on January 18th, and there were just under 14,000 seats available. But only about 1,000 tickets were left when Ticketmaster started selling them on May 23rd of last year. So what happened to the other 13,000 tickets? Well, here’s the top five reasons it’s so hard to pay face value for good tickets these days.
#1.) Credit Card Presales. For a lot of concerts, companies like American Express reserve a certain number of tickets and hold presales, where cardholders can buy them before they go on sale. Which is cool. But about half of those tickets end up in the hands of brokers, who resell them for twice what they paid.
#2.) Fan Clubs. A lot of bands allocate a certain number of tickets for fan club members. But not all of them are actually “fans.” A lot of scalpers join fan clubs multiple times, and then use several different credit cards to buy up as many tickets as they can.
#3.) Some Bands Scalp Their Own Tickets. Seriously. They just put something in their tour rider that says a certain number of tickets have to be set aside. Then they resell those tickets on sites like StubHub. It’s actually more common than you might think. Katy Perry was criticized for doing it after TheSmokingGun.com got its hand on her tour rider back in 2011.
#4.) You Have to Compete with “Scalper Bots”. Which are computer programs designed to flood a particular site with ticket requests as fast as possible. Meaning scalpers don’t have to go through the same process you do every time they try to buy tickets. They just let a computer program place each order, which is obviously a lot faster.Most ticket sites have safeguards to stop it, like when you have to type in a specific word at the bottom of the page before it accepts your payment. But scalpers get past that by hiring real people in places like India or the Philippines, who manually type in whatever they need to after the program takes care of the more time consuming stuff.
#5.) Inflated Service Fees. It used to be that no matter how good your tickets were, you paid the same service fee as people in the back row. But a while back, Ticketmaster realized that if you’re willing to buy EXPENSIVE tickets, then you’re probably willing to pay a higher service fee too. So they upped it for premium seats . . . meaning good tickets are even MORE expensive now. But Ticketmaster doesn’t necessarily get all that money. Some big bands negotiate into their contracts that THEY get a percentage of the service fees. Then they save face by offering tickets at a reasonable price. And when people complain about the crazy service fees, they blame Ticketmaster.