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.
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 7
- Live 88-5/Ottawa
- 107.5 Dave-FM/Kitchener
- Power 97/Winnipeg
- Sonic 102.9/Edmonton
- The Zone/Victoria
- The Fox/Vancouver
- Surge 105/Halifax
- WAPS/WKTL The Summit/Arkon, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown
We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor, Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s, and anywhere else with a transmitter and I’ll see what I can do.
For fun, here’s a Run the Jewels song about a defunct ticket retailer. (Via Adam)