Music Industry

Why It Is So Hard to Buy Concert Ticket, Part 1: The Bots

[This is the first of a series of articles I’m writing for Global News. The goal is to explain all the complexities and unknown aspects of buying concert tickets. -AC]

It’s almost go time.

You’re at your computer with six open browser tabs, all on the Ticketmaster website. As the clock ticks towards 10 a.m., you nervously cycle between the tables clicking “refresh.”

In other parts of town, three friends are doing exactly the same thing, part of a carefully coordinated attempt to get tickets to that big concert.

All of you are staring at the flashing numbers in the corner of the screen:  09:59:57…09:59:58…09:59:59…go!

Your fingers are a blur as you mash through all the open tabs, hoping to connect. Click-click-click.



Still nothing. Panic sets in as you steal a glance at the clock ticking away, knowing that with each flash of the cursor, your chances of getting a ticket decrease exponentially.

Then at 10:01:47, one of the tabs scores a hit. You’re in!

Except you’re not. The only reason you were able to connect was because the website now displays a message saying the concert is sold out.

You reel in disbelief. Thousands of tickets were sold in a matter of seconds? How was that even possible?

Keep reading. Part 2 is coming next Sunday,

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 38449 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Why It Is So Hard to Buy Concert Ticket, Part 1: The Bots

  • I think an important aspect of this discussion is the inflationary impact that corporate sales and box seats has on the overall ticket price and demand for tickets. As long as we subsidize the corporate purchase of tickets for any entertainment (ie. entertainment for clients allows for a 50% deduction on income taxes), we’ll always have to struggle with excess demand for limited seats. Get rid of the entertainment deduction when it comes to sports, music and other events and you’ll probably see ticket prices return to normal as supply increases.


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