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This singer is selling concert tickets like it’s 1965. Will it work?

People are pissed at the whole process of buying concert tickets. Trying to secure tickets to a big show is one of the most frustrating of all consumer experiences. Some are so fed up that they’re advocating going back to the days when we had to line up in person at a venue’s box office to buy tickets, saying that’s the only way for “true fans” to get into the show. After all, ticket-buying bots can’t stand in line and buy hard tickets.

Maggie Rogers is trying an experiment with her upcoming tour. On Friday, fans who go directly to the box offices of the venues she’s playing will be able to buy tickets before anyone else. There’s a two-ticket-per-person limit. Tickets in all sections will be available. And because fans are buying directly from the box office, there shouldn’t be any big service fees tacked on.

It’s a great theory, but in practice, it’s not very fan-friendly. Consider:

  • “Wait. I’ve got to take time off from work/school to stand in line, maybe even overnight?”
  • “But I’ve from out of town and can’t make it to the box office on Friday.”
  • “I have kids to look after! How am I supposed line up?”

Still, an interesting experiment. Let’s see what happens.

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.

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4 thoughts on “This singer is selling concert tickets like it’s 1965. Will it work?

  • Takes me back to 1964, when my kind and loving father took time out of his work day to stand in line to buy tickets for me and three of my friends to see the Beatles in Milwaukee. Greater love hath no man for his daughter!

  • I like buying tickets at the box office. I had good luck getting good seats on the day of the show at Air Canada Centre (now Scotiabank Arena) for Tom Petty (RIP) w/ Steve Winwood and Pearl Jam (2 “sold out” shows) at the box office. I bought my ticket for the Tom Petty show for $40. The cheapest ticket ticketmaster had the night before was $75 in the upper deck. I had a good seat for one of the PJ shows, but I sat behind the stage at the 2nd show. I’m willing to take the risk there might not be tickets at the box office. I can negotiate with “ticket brokers” on the street if that’s the only way I can get a ticket– I trust those guys more than I trust Ticketmaster. I lived in Brampton in 1984 when Born in the USA tickets were announced. Bruce’s fan’s camped downtown outside the Odeon Cinema for a week to get tickets.

  • Those concerns don’t really correlate with the “true fans” statement. And if it’s only for a pre-sale kinda thing, I think that is the best way to approach it. If you REALLY like the artist and NEED first dibs on tickets, you’ll do whatever you can to get those tickets, and weigh the options on not going to the box office.

    Best part of this idea is it should prevent recurrences of what I remember seeing first hand back in… 2008? Not sure when it was, but you could still line up at the Ticketmaster kiosk and online sales weren’t as crazy. I lined up with a couple friends for Iron Maiden tickets for hours cuz I HAD to go to that show. Didn’t care where I was in the building. And I remember seeing one man standing there before we got there, was probably 5th in line or so, and it’s heartbreaking that he got to the counter 5 minutes after the box office opened and couldn’t snag a SINGLE ticket for the floor where he wanted to be because they were “sold out” (I assume promotional tickets were a factor). Seeing a hardcore fan who sat outside for who knows how many hours just to get a single floor ticket, yet have to leave empty handed has never left my mind. Makes me miss the less tech-dependent times of old…

  • This is the ideal model. I remember camping out for AC/DC tix in 1988 and getting front row floors. 🙂

    Day 1 – box office of venue, in-person only. 8 ticket max per transaction.
    Day 2 – box offices of local networked venues in-person only. 8 ticket max per transaction.(Like you could buy a ticket for an event at Scotiabank Arena at, say, Massey Hall box office too.)
    Day 3 – tix become available online.


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