Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, encore presentation: The weird history of concert tickets (part 2)

Tickets for a concert you really, really want to see are about to go on sale at exactly 10 AM. You’re at your computer and on the Ticketmaster website watching the clock tick toward the appointed time.

9:59:57…9:59:58…9:59:59…10:00! Let’s do this!

Enter. Nothing. RefreshRefreshRefresh. Still nothing. You try mashing the F5 key to see if that works better. No luck. What about control-R? Nope. In desperation, you try one last time and…you’re in!

Except you’re not. At 10:01:17, the show you so desperately want to see is sold out.

What the…?

You did everything right, even down qualifying as one of Ticketmaster’s Verified Fans. How could so many tickets sell so quickly? And hello, what’s this? Tickets are already for sale on the secondary market? And the face value is now DOUBLE? What just happened? And wait: there’s a TICKETMASTER site that’s already selling tickets at inflated prices? How is that possible?

You’re the act’s biggest fan! You should be able to tickets to at least one of their shows. I mean, you’ve supported the act for so long that you deserve a ticket. Yet you’re denied because the sellout happened within seconds. To quote Johnny Rotten, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

Hold on. Back up. There’s a lot to process here and it can get pretty emotional. Buying concert tickets can be one of the most frustrating of all retail experiences. And a big part of the problem is that the average music fan has no idea how it all works.

I know that sounds awfully condescending, but I don’t mean it to be. Getting a ticket to a concert should, in theory, be simple. But it’s not. The complexities of buying and selling concert tickets would drive Einstein insane.

But stick around and I will do my best to unravel everything for you. By the time we’re done, I won’t have made it any easier for you to get a ticket to a hot show, but maybe you’ll understand why you can’t get one. This is the weird history of concert tickets, part 2.

Songs heard on this program (all of them live recordings, too).

  • Pearl Jam, Alive
  • Pearl Jam, Better Man
  • Beastie Boys, Sabotage
  • Jane’s Addiction, Jane Says
  • Coldplay, Clocks
  • Queens of the Stone Age, Little Sister

Here’s your playlist from Eric Wilhite.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

  • 102.1 The Edge/Toronto – Sunday night at 7pm
  • Q107/Toronto – Sunday night at 8pm
  • Live 88-5/Ottawa – Saturdays at 9am and Sundays at 6pm.
  • 107.5 Dave-FM/Kitchener – Sunday nights at 11pm
  • FM96/London – Sunday nights at 8pm
  • Power 97/Winnipeg – Sunday nights at 11pm
  • Sonic 102.9/Edmonton – Sunday at 8am and 8pm
  • The Zone/Victoria – Sunday at 8am and 9pm
  • The Fox/Vancouver – Sunday at 11pm
  • Surge 105/Halifax – Sunday at 7pm
  • WAPS/WKTL The Summit/Arkon, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown – Mon-Fri at 9pm

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor, Montreal, Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

For fun, here’s a Run the Jewels song about a defunct ticket retailer. (Via Adam)

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

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.