In Today’s Roundup of Tragically Hip-Related Concert Ticket News… (June 2 Edition)

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.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.

7 thoughts on “In Today’s Roundup of Tragically Hip-Related Concert Ticket News… (June 2 Edition)

  • June 1, 2016 at 10:35 am
    Permalink

    Thanks for trying to sort out this fiasco Alan.
    I missed out on pre-sale tickets for the Monday sale and was frustrated to see how quickly tickets appeared on StubHub. So when the Tuesday sale was announced, I check out StubHub again. They had tickets available for the show on the 14th BEFORE the pre-sale had even begun. I took a screen-cap. With :43 seconds to go before the sale started, StubHub already had several tickets available for between $499 and $999 US. How is that possible?

    https://twitter.com/markdury/status/737648920638197760

    Reply
    • June 1, 2016 at 10:37 am
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      StubHub has clients who sell the PROMISE of a ticket before the ticket is actually acquired. They don’t have tickets beforehand–or at least I don’t think so.

      Reply
  • June 1, 2016 at 10:40 am
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    The scalpers aren’t simply queuing up with the rest of us but are benefiting from ticket allocations available before the public sale begins. Trace the path those tickets take and then we know who deserves our wrath and contempt.

    Reply
  • June 1, 2016 at 11:14 am
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    I managed to get tickets to both the Ottawa show and the third Toronto show in pre-sale. Unfortunately, both are in the 300 level. I’ve seen the Hip from the second row on the floor before so this tour is more about being surrounded by fans, the atmosphere and getting a chance to send Gord off with a great final Tragically Hip tour. I know many fans weren’t able to get tickets so I count myself lucky to have any at all.

    Does the “Ticket Speculation Act” not come into play here in Ontario?

    Offences:
    Every person who,

    Selling
    (a) being the holder of a ticket, sells or disposes of the ticket at a higher price than that at which it was first issued, or endeavours or offers so to do; or purchasing as a speculation or at a higher price than advertised

    (b) purchases or attempts to purchase tickets with the intention of reselling them at a profit, or purchases or offers to purchase tickets at a higher price than that at which they are advertised or announced to be for sale by the owner or proprietor of any place mentioned in section 1

    Could a cease and desist not be handed down to those selling tickets for higher than face value(Stub Hub and the like)? I’m not a lawyer, I’m not well versed in this so I have no idea… (if you are maybe shed light on this?)

    The whole fiasco is discouraging for fans who just want to see the band play one final show and send them off right. Best of luck to those who haven’t gotten tickets yet on Friday.

    Reply
  • June 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm
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    A fair question that should be posed to the band and its management — since it has become something of a standard practice — is whether or not:
    A) the band held back tickets for sale on the secondary market, and,
    B) If the band held back tickets, were they the “good seats?”

    Other questions include:

    – Were prime seats held back for the general on-sale date?
    – What percentage of the venues were available for pre-sale?
    – What percentage was reserved by the record label / band / etc for their own friends, family, press, etc.?
    – Etc…

    Reply
  • June 3, 2016 at 1:37 pm
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    Ticket sale news from Victoria… put in a waiting room at 9:30. At 10:30 get notified that there are no more tickets available. I knew it would be busy but a 1 hour wait time?? And now Stubhub is blowing up with tickets…

    Reply

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