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How Ticketmaster manipulates the price of concert tickets: CBC/Toronto Star report

The CBC and the Toronto Star have been working together on an investigation regarding the sale and pricing of concert tickets on both the primary and secondary markets. The goal has been to dig deeper into what is a very opaque situation for consumers. Here’s the latest instalment.

Buying a ticket for Saturday’s Bruno Mars concert in Toronto was probably never going to be cheap, but what many of the star’s 17,000 fans who scored a seat might not realize is it wasn’t just scalpers driving up prices.

A CBC News and Toronto Star investigation reveals how box-office behemoth Ticketmaster uses its own bag of tricks — which includes partnering with scalpers — to boost its profits at the expense of music fans.

Data journalists monitored Ticketmaster’s website for seven months leading up to this weekend’s show at Scotiabank Arena, closely tracking seats and prices to find out exactly how the box-office system works.

Here are the key findings:

  • Ticketmaster doesn’t list every seat when a sale begins.
  • Hikes prices mid-sale.
  • Collects fees twice on tickets scalped on its site.

“I definitely feel like I’m getting ripped off,” said Ajay Saulnier, 31, a Bruno Mars superfan and impersonator from Hamilton who was dismayed by CBC’s findings — particularly since he says he can’t afford a ticket to his idol’s show.

“It’s definitely unfair for the public. They’re only caring about padding their own pocket.”

You will definitely want to read more of this.

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

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