Sorry Sallie Mae, I spent my tuition payment on concert tickets

Lucille DiNaro – Business Manager

The devil is alive and well and you can find him at the box office. If you spent any time this summer enjoying live music, you are well aware of the age-old antihero that is the ticket scalper. Your favorite band announces a tour, and somehow every show is sold out seconds after tickets go live. What has happened here? Die hard fans and seasoned concert goers manage to work around ticket scalpers, but let’s be frank. Knowing the in’s and out’s of presales, fan clubs, memberships and credit card affiliates has transformed concert going from pedestrian to pipe dream, and artists need to be held responsible.

Ticket scalpers have been around for more than a century and have worn many masks. Some are easily identifiable, like the man lingering around the venue on show day hoping to pass off a set of tickets to an unlucky passerby. Others, like automated offshore bots, are much more elusive and far more damaging to consumers. Some bots are capable of purchasing upwards of three hundred tickets at once, without ticket brokers, venues or artists batting an eye.

When resale profits are soaring above 200%, who takes the blame? Ticket brokers often rely on consumers to flag unusual activity, and don’t necessarily have much incentive to investigate as they collect a fee for every ticket sold. Although some states have passed legislation to regulate ticket resale, actual prosecutions are few and far between due to the complex nature of online ticket sales.

The answer lies in the artists themselves. Artists sell tickets at a fixed rate, never fluctuating to meet market value or take part in the profits to be had by ticket scalpers. When fans are disgruntled after being given the choice between spending hundreds of dollars on nosebleed seats and listening at home, ultimately the artists take the heat. Consumers will be back on StubHub tomorrow.

There are several preventative measures to be taken against ticket scalping, such as paperless tickets, verified fan purchasing and delayed ticket delivery. So why isn’t it happening? Live concerts provide artists the opportunity to express their gratitude to fans and to engage in their shared love for music and creative expression. Plain and simple. Why have they lost touch of this?

As the sole entity with full logistic control over where concerts are held and how tickets are sold, artists must act as a catalyst for change. Ticket scalpers will certainly not disappear any time soon, but artists will not be able to maintain their complicity much longer. By allowing this to continue, artists promote a culture of exclusivity in the music industry. When positioned between a diverse fan base and a society driven by profits and technological convenience, it’s up to artists to find a middleground. In the meantime, you can find me on Spotify.