Music Industry

Published on June 9th, 2016 | by Alan Cross

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Ontario Consults Concert Industry Over the Hip Ticket Scandal (And What About a Massive Free Concert at Downsview?)

Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur is trying to say the right things to people outraged by the recent tragically hip ticket fiasco. She says that her people are consulting and speaking with people in the ticketing industry about how to make things fair for consumers, specifically how we can do away with ticket-buying bots used by scalpers.

She told The Toronto Star “It’s complicated and it seems like technology always finds a way to go around it.” Gouging is bad, but “we can’t fix the price of tickets.” The Ontario government can’t pass any laws that would cap the price of a ticket beyond its face value.

Then there’s this. Last July, Ontario amended the Ticket Speculators Act. It now allows companies to resell tickets IF consumers are offered a money-back guarantee for guaranteed authentic tickets. Chances of repealing those amendments are slim.

What the Ticket Speculators Act doesn’t (and should) cover is the use of bots, the automated computer ticket buying programs that elbow humans aside and are capable of conducting hundreds of transactions a section. New York State–where people are pissed that they can’t get tickets to Hamilton and other hot Broadway shows–is looking at legislation that would make bots illegal. All in favour? I thought so.

[Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, has this to say about bots.]

Another thing New York is thinking of doing is cracking down on brokers who advertise that they can get tickets to anything. Once they have a client interested, they will then track down those tickets from somewhere and sell them at a price that includes a mark-up for their services.

[Here how some other acts try to battle scalpers.]

In Ontario, it’s perfectly okay for a broker to sell tickets that they do not yet possess. This is how tickets show up for sale on StubHub before they officially go on sale.  A show of hands of those who approve of making that illegal? Motion carries. Let’s see if the Ontario government has the stones to actually follow through on their talk.

Meanwhile, Toronto city councillor Josh Colle thinks that the best solution for the debacle is to throw a free concert at Downsview Park. From the Toronto Star:

Toronto Councillor Josh Colle has the perfect solution to the ticket shortage plaguing the Tragically Hip summer tour: throw a free show at Downsview Park.

Colle, who counts himself amongst the Hip’s legion of fans, told the Star the federal park, which has hosted as many as 450,000 for bands such as the Rolling Stones, provides the perfect venue.

“I just thought with all the obvious demand out there, and the frustration on the ticket side …” Colle said.

“It would just be a really fantastic opportunity to let everyone thank, celebrate the Tragically Hip and what they’ve meant to the city and to Canada and to all our music lives.”

He’s asked York Centre MP Michael Levitt to back his idea of accommodating fans who have been unable to get tickets to the band’s shows this summer.

“I’ve be in touch with Councillor Colle. We are both big Hip fans and it would be great to have them play at Downsview Park for their Toronto fans,” Levitt told the Star in an email. “I hope it is a possibility; that of course is a decision for the band’s management to consider.”

Here’s a follow-up to the story in Metro.

Finally, The Beaverton has some fun with this whole issue with an article entitled “Tragically Hip cancels tour after band members unable to acquire tickets.”




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About the Author

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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One Response to Ontario Consults Concert Industry Over the Hip Ticket Scandal (And What About a Massive Free Concert at Downsview?)

  1. James Edgar says:

    While at first glance the free concert thing sounds great Gord Downie (remember him the singer?) Has terminal fucking brain cancer!
    He’s already going to miss significant family time time giving us fans a last tour. not to mention the physical toll. ever see someone with a brain tumour? I have and it sucks .

    Really fucking sucks. So asking for yet another show free this time is Bullshit.

    And yes i am one of the ridiculously lucky ones who got a pair of tickets in the pre sale.

    i feel bad for those that missed out but this is no way to redress the issue.

    My 2 cents

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