Music HistoryMusic Industry

A brief introduction to the history of scalping concert tickets

[This was my weekly column for – AC]

There are few things more frustrating to a music fan than being shut out of a sold-out concert only to see tickets for sale at inflated prices on the secondary market. And how do those guys selling tickets on the street outside the venue get their inventory?

Scalpers (“ticket touters” to the British and “leveraged arbitragers” to ardent capitalists) are as old as live events themselves. When the Greeks opened the first-ever outdoor amphitheatre in 325 BCE — it was built into the hillside of the Acropolis and sat up to 17,000 people in its 55 semi-circular rows — there was no doubt some dude in a robe outside the gates yelling “Who’s got seats?” The same would have happened at the first Roman theatre in Pompeii in 80 BCE. And I’d lay money on the same thing happening outside of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre for the premiere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1604.

Scalping (a term that first appeared in the 19th century referring to brokers of railway tickets) has always been a problem.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 37832 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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