As Canada continues to seethe about the scalping of Tragically Hip tickets for what is (probably) their final tour, the story surrounding this roadtrip continues to develop. Make no mistake: this tour will be the Canadian music story of not just the summer, but for the year.
What the f**k? What the f**king f**k?
There are a lot of questions swirling about the whole ticket presale situation. Here are just a few of them. I’d love to hear the answers.
How high does concern go?
All the way to the top. Even the Prime Minister is commenting on the situation. From the CBC:
Trudeau was also asked whether the federal government could take steps to address fairness in concert ticket sales, given the controversy over how many Hip tickets have been snapped up for overpriced resale.
He says the music and ticket industries ought to be able to police themselves, but that the government would be willing to followup on the issue.
What about the idea of a live broadcast of the final show in Kingston on August 22?
The idea started with one petition and then another. Now we hear that the CBC is in talks to do just that. Not that I’m surprised, really. I’m sure that matters such of these were being considered long before the tour was announced.
Are there any other petitions out there?
Yes. There’s this one that asks that Gord Downie be presented with the Order of Canada (a good bet) and another asking that the Hip be offered the halftime show at the Grey Cup in November (nice sentiment, but I have my doubts).
Are scalpers profiting from Gord Downie’s health issues?
Of course. But if there wasn’t a market for $5,000 Hip tickets, they wouldn’t exist. Scalping has been an issue forever. What makes this situation special is the circumstances of this particular tour: a final roadtrip by a beloved band whose frontman is dying. This will be the most emotional tour in history.
StubHub and their ilk are scum, right?
Not necessarily. They are merely the agents, conduits, messengers for the scalpers. StubHub and similar sites don’t own the tickets they’re selling.
Yeah, but…shouldn’t someone do something about this kind of gouging bullshit?
Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur says her office needs to look into the situation. That’s the right thing to say, but I’m not sure anything can be done. Many governments have tried to curb this sort of ticket touting yet it continues. Besides, we have to be careful about our selective outrage. This system–pure supply and demand–is working exactly as it was designed to work. Replace “concert ticket” with “company share” and you have a stock market where prices rise and fall based on demand. Airlines use the same strategies when it comes to supply management of available seats on every individual flight. It’s Uber’s surge pricing.
But maybe there’s another way to look at it. Artists do not benefit from the added markup of a scalped concert ticket. Scalpers trade on an artist’s reputation, heritage, fanbase and art. That doesn’t seem fair, does it?
Is this situation unique to the Hip and Canada?
Hell, no. They’ve got the same problems in the UK–and they’re not sure what to do about it, either.
Can anyone find any humour in this situation?
Why, yes. Go here.