Something strange is happening across Canada.
In the days or hours just before one of The Tragically Hip’s stop on the Man Machine Poem tour, the same tour we’re all believing will be the band’s last, new tickets seem to be suddenly available. Via Ticketmaster, not a ticket exchange or reseller website. On sale for face value.
A quick test check for tickets at Wednesday night’s show in Calgary show tickets available starting at $56. Granted, these are behind the stage, so any fan who picked up a ticket or two would be staring at the back of the band’s heads (or hats, in Gord Downie’s case).
A scroll through the general Ticketmaster.ca listing for the tour still show most shows listed at NOT MANY LEFT — in all caps, so you know it’s serious–and a search for tickets to the Friday or Sunday shows in Toronto came up with nothing available, even for singe seats.
Remember back at the end of May when it felt like the whole entire tour sold out before any of us could log on to Ticketmaster? What in the heck is happening?!
A CTV report prior to the Vancouver shows last week indicated more tickets have gone on sale, causing the market to be flooded with seats and, as a result, the tickets looking for buyers are selling below face value–some for as low as $39.
“Ticket prices for the Vancouver shows on sites like StubHub and dramatically dropped,” CTV reported on July 23.
“The cost is hyper-inflated,” a fan told CTV. “You’re paying such a premium for people you want to go see and enjoy, but it’s like you’re planning a vacation, you’re spending that much money.”
Alan Gelfand of Fair Ticket Solutions suggests the drop in ticket price is due to people realizing the show’s coming up soon and wanting to get rid of extra seats in a hurry. “The scallpers and resellers gambled and they’re losing on this one.
Kingsley Bailey, a ticket broker, told CTV the problem isn’t the much-maligned bots that we all hate, but rather the lack of consumer knowledge on how the ticket-selling world works.
“The bots aren’t the issue. It’s legislation to give the consumer the opportunity to know exactly how many tickets are being sold on an onsale,” he said, adding that only about 40% of all available tickets are up for grabs when shows go on sale. “If the consumers were made aware of this, this type of situation wouldn’t happen.
So is it worth the risk to wait until the last minute to try and get tickets via a primary seller (like Ticketmaster) or a secondary seller, like a broker or ticket exchange website like StubHub? And what’s happening behind the scenes to make these tickets suddenly available hours before showtime?
Have you bought tickets for any of the Tragically Hip shows after they were sold out? If so, where, and did you pay full price? Chime in below. And keep watching this space for more behind-the-scenes info on the world of ticket resellers and brokers, who join in the hatred of the bots but take a much different approach to the world of concert-going than most fans.
In related Hip news, the band has the two top-selling albums of the week on the SoundScan sales charts. The greatest hits collection, Yer Favourites, moved 3,400 units last week (#2 in the country) followed by Man Machine Poem (#7). Three other albums–Fully Completely, Road Apples and Up to Here–have also seen sales spikes by as much as 89% since the tour started in Victoria on July 22.