Music Industry

Confused about concert tickets? Everyone is. Maybe these guys can explain it.

At the recent Pollstar Live! event, a group of heavyweights were brought together to talk about ticketing, specifically for concerts. Country superstar Garth Brooks, James Dolan (executive chairman of MSG), Mark Delharim (former attorney general for the US Dept. of Justice’s antitrust division), and Irving Azoff (a giant music industry mucky-muck with many, many deep and powerful connections) talked about the crises, challenges, and possible solutions to the ultra-confusing business of selling tickets.

The session riffed off the recent government hearings into the Taylor Swift-Ticketmaster fiasco of last fall. Because millions of people couldn’t get thousands of seats (the math doesn’t work, innit?), both Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation are under the microscope again.

Here’s an executive summary:

  • If demand exceeds supply, there will always be fans who will be disappointed. (Well, duh.)
  • Scalpers and secondary sellers are the primary drivers of higher ticket prices. (The secondary market is worth US$5 billion today and could reach as high as US$10 billion by 2027.)
  • Scalpers and secondary sellers add nothing to the musical ecosystem. All they’ve invested in is tickets. Selling those tickets are their only risk. The artist, the promoter, and the venue get nothing from the extra money charged.
  • Brooks maintains that if scalping is made illegal, issues with ticketing will be solved.
  • Tickets for U2’s MSG Sphere shows are already offered for sale on the secondary market. How is that possible when the dates haven’t even been announced yet? (Hint: These tickets don’t exist. They’re purely speculative offerings by the seller. The seller believes it will, in fact, be able to acquire tickets for sale. However, the ticket you buy may be not exactly the ticket you get.)
  • Something has to be done about ticket-buying bots.

If you want to watch the video of the session, go here.

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 38040 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Confused about concert tickets? Everyone is. Maybe these guys can explain it.

  • Plus, if you want to resell one of your tickets through TM the minimum dollar amount is what you paid for. You can’t give your ticket for free! So TM always gets paid at least the same % of retain. The retain is more of the price is higher.


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