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I’m all for concert tickets being sold on the secondary market, but this… [UPDATE: Good news!]

If this were an ordinary gig, I wouldn’t be writing this.

Billy Talent, City and Colour, PUP and a few more unannounced artists are doing a great and selfless thing. On Saturday (August 11), they’re going to play the TOronto TOgether show at the Danforth Music Hall to raise money for the victims of the Danforth Avenue mass shooting a few weeks ago.

As you might guess, demand for the $50 1,500 available tickets was insane and the gig sold out immediately. Totally understandable.

What’s sickening, though, is that tickets started showing up on the secondary market in seconds–at highly inflated prices, of course.

Normally, I’m all for capitalism when it comes to concert tickets. If demand is high for a hot show, why shouldn’t prices float in the marketplace until they reach their true value? There’s nothing special about a concert ticket–something that is bought with disposable income–that requires market-distorting price controls. Like I’ve said before, I’d like to see controls on the price of a litre of gas–something far more essential than a concert ticket–but that’s never going to happen, is it?

However, there is something creepy, crass, and completely wrong about profiteering from a benefit show designed to help the families of people died, those who were horribly injured, and the many who’ve had their lives forever altered.

Those seeking to profit from this combination of Good Samaritanism, community spirit, and tragedy are scumbag profiteerists, or, to put it another way, capitalists of the worst

Most secondary sellers have a policy against reselling tickets to charity events, so when the CBC informed them of the presence of TOronto TOgether tickets on their sites, they were taken down. To be fair, most of them are automated, so there’s no way to them to automatically flag the tickets as being ineligible for sale. Sites that were told of the situation immediately pulled them.

The real problem likes with private citizens selling tickets on Craigslist or Kijiji, two sites that don’t have this sort of policy in place. To think that other Torontonians are trying to make some money from an event like this is, well, sickening.

I know there are a lot of people who want to be part of this gathering of neighbours and strangers. But the idea of people making a quick buck this nothing short of disgusting and evil. If you can help yourself, don’t buy their tickets.

The money has been collected and will go to the right people. The best thing we can do is make sure they’re stuck with these tickets. Don’t let them make money off Toronto’s grief. And if you see people scalping tickets outside the Danforth Music Hall on Saturday, make sure you let ’em know that they suck.

UPDATE: According to CTV, Kijiji is removing ads selling tickets to the gig. Some were selling the $50 tickets for $200 and more each. There’s also nothing for sale on StubHub or SeatGeek.

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 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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