The Complex Relationship Between the Concert Industry and Scalpers

There’s weirder relationship than the one you had with that crazy girl high school. It’s the one between the concert industry and scalpers. Michael found this at

The same week that U2 sold 1.1 million tickets to The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 also saw an inevitable debate about scalpers and their insatiable appetite for concert tickets reach the ranks of Irish politicians. Despite improved measures to prevent sales to scalpers, fans looking to see U2 at Croke Park and other sold-out tour dates worldwide found themselves watching helplessly as thousands of tickets immediately poured onto resale sites like Live Nation’s own

In what seems like a sneak preview of groundhog day, U2 fans have once again begun a ritualized process of subscribing to the fan club and pouring their life and soul into the task of getting access to “rock’s hottest ticket.” The emotions are always the same regardless of the technology: excitement about the tour; desire to know more about the ticketing process; anticipation of the on-sale; jubilation for some; despair for others; frustration for many. And then you find out that tickets got into the hands of a scalper … anger sets in.

Are scalpers as inevitable as death and taxes?

I’d like to suggest that scalpers are part of the fragile live concert ecosystem and that whether you view them as a necessary part of the ticket food chain or an invasive species choking out the joy of concertgoing depends on who you are and what you have at stake. Could scalping actually help concert promoters like Live Nation realize bigger profits by generating buzz and justifying the steep prices you see on VIP packages?

Keep going. Your mind might get boggled.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.

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