The history of scalping tickets to events goes back more than hundred years and perhaps even longer. Can’t you imagine touts outside the Globe Theatre the night a new play called Romeo and Juliette premiered?
Politicians and appointed officials are still trying to stomp out the practice with some success, but the chances of a total extinction event are remote. Pitchfork explains why.
Lawmakers have been trying to ban scalpers practically since the term began being used in reference to the “sidewalk men” outside Broadway theaters in the late 19th century. It hasn’t worked yet. Ticket resellers have historically lobbied against laws thwarting their business, staying one step ahead of anti-scalping measures.Economists typically say the problem comes down to price—that if tickets actually cost what the market would bear, scalping wouldn’t exist. But artists have plenty of reasons to keep prices down, from merch sales to fan goodwill to heartfelt idealism. Without that last reason, the modern concert industry likely wouldn’t have been born, in San Francisco during the mid-’60s.