Let’s Talk: The PROBLEM with Buying Music Concert Tickets **explained**


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Ticket touts, bots, frozen accounts, reserved numbers, pricing. There has been recurring problems for purchasing music concert tickets for a long time. But it all came to a head recently…

When Taylor Swift put on her sprawling Era world tour, she certainly wasn’t expecting it to crash the Ticketmaster servers completely. Consumers were washed and fans were furious. In fact, it went so badly, that Ticketmaster were hauled out in the prying eyes of the US Senate to answer questions about its business practices. The global ticket distributor were forced to pay up when they sold to many Bad Bunny tickets and evidently, the venues had to turn avid fans away. Apparent queue times was agony during the recent UK tour for comedian Peter Kay when it was announced. The painful process of purchasing / reselling concert tickets is outdated, out-burned and simply not up-keeping with the spectrum we see on the Internet right now. So what can be done?

Demand lower prices

This ones a no-brainer, really. Ticket prices have soared by 19% since the pandemic, and 51% of people in the UK say rising prices have stopped them attending a gig in the last five years. Of course, sometimes prices can’t be helped. Artists are simply to trying to upkeep with the spiralling costs of putting on a tour or a single gig in the first place. Let alone combating the petty incomes artists receive from streaming now.

Eliminate queues

I think we can all agree that waiting rooms are infuriating and simply, unnecessary. Millions of site can handle millions of users at any one time, yet old technology still in use can’t hold the volume. Why can’t it be done? UK ticketing firm Dice proves it can be done. Launched in 2014, it processes almost 500,000 sales for Spain’s Primavera festival without a queuing system. “When we originally built our [ticketing] architecture, we were obsessed with the idea of handling concurrent transactions at a massive scale and using cloud computing to handle that,” says its president, Russ Tannen. “And when we do Primavera, all the transactions are happening at the same time.” Get it fixed!

Be upfront about availability

The issues about the rarity of such a live music show or a tour – once in a lifetime experience perhaps? – is the impact this can have on us purchasing tickets. What’s deemed as panic selling, we are encouraged to overspend and “panic buy” those rare concert tours due to only a handful of tickets being reserved. But sometimes, there are even fewer than you’d expect. A report by New York’s Attorney General found that, for one Katy Perry show at the 13,000-capacity Barclays Center, only 1,200 tickets were reserved for the general public.

*SCRAP* hidden fees

Service fees, handling charges and delivery fees can add as much as 27% to the price of a ticket. Again, it’s undoubtedly leading consumers to pass up on ticket concerts because the lack of transparency in terms of costs is an issue. For its part, Ticketmaster says it wants to show customers the full price from the outset. In the UK, that’s already the case, except for small handling fees at some gigs. Elsewhere, it’s waiting until everyone falls in line.

Ban “dynamic pricing”

With availability issues causing more and more fans to flock and “panic buy” tickets, a new pricing strategy has risen. Simply put, dynamic pricing is a demand-based system where costs fluctuate according to how many people are trying to buy a ticket. It made headlines in the US last year, when some seats for Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming tour surged to $4,000 (£3,230). As an anti-tout system or not, it just simply doesn’t work for fans. For many, it’s just seen as price gouging, a demand-and-supply tactic seen in many industries. But to prevent consumer discouragement from buying tickets, why have it at all?

Make mobile tickets the DEFAULT..

I say this every time I read awful news about gigs being overcrowded to capacity or worse, tragic crushes that resulted in two lives lost at the Brixton Academy last December. Should mobile tickets – a personal QR code set to you and you alone – be the default, it will hinder fake and duplicate tickets and strengthen the security at the gates. It’s the right method but they’re simply not ready to roll it out yet, more so because of the elder generation who don’t have phones. I’m sorry but it should simply be this: either get with the program, or get lost.

Get rid of those touts!

Or at least make life harder for them.

In the UK, it has been illegal for unauthorised people to sell football tickets since 1994. But unlike France and Norway, the re-sale of live music tickets is permitted. Why?

Ticketmaster says it has “invested millions in anti-bot technology every year”, but it also blamed an “unprecedented” wave of bots for derailing the Taylor Swift’s sales. For a corporate giant like Ticketmaster to not have a competent algorithm to detect the difference between consumer and bots is simply ludicrous. Especially in the modernised culture we live in today. Our very technology moves our day. Ticket harvesting is a major problem that spirals more so during in-demand tours and concerts, for obvious reasons. During his senate hearing a week back, Ticketmaster president Joe Berchtold states, “as the leading player, we have an obligation to do better.” Too right.

Make ticket resales more honest

Many artists, including Ed Sheeran and Adele, specify that tickets can only be resold through a platform like Twickets, where prices are capped. Adele cracked hard on ticket restrictions during her 2016 tour and became a stalwart for it in the industry.

“Speculating on secondary platforms is a huge problem,” says Mr Walker. “Up to 80% of the tickets listed on on some of the better-known resale platforms simply don’t exist.” Stubhub and Viagogo say they will not tolerate speculative selling, and sellers who break the rules face fines and suspensions. Dice, meanwhile, only allows tickets to be exchanged on its app – all part of their “waiting list” sorting hat. It seems that Dice is the hip cousin ahead of the rest of the pack. Being an avid user of Dice, I’m not surprised to see high praise for their technology and ticket understanding in general. Keep it on rollin’!


2 responses to “Let’s Talk: The PROBLEM with Buying Music Concert Tickets **explained**”

  1. EclecticMusicLover avatar

    The two biggest factors as I see it are: 1) the fact that Ticketmaster/Live Nation control both venues and ticket sales. That’s a monopoly that should and must be broken up; 2) too many bot scalpers who snatch up thousands of tickets in order to resell them at sharply inflated prices to fans desperate to see the biggest shows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. manvmusic avatar

      Oh yeah absolutely, you’re spot on Jeff. Live Nation have a cuckhold of anything and everything filtering out from the industry – all the major hands-on tours that are like gold dust mind. Hence why there is so many bots for these. If Ticketmaster can fix its algorithm and how it works for those bigger tours, surely that would resort in less bots operating on site scooping up so many tickets for inflated prices? Needs work asap either way..

      Liked by 1 person

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