When tickets to a hot show get snapped up and fans are left in the cold, people go through five distinct emotional stages.
1. Shock “How is it possible that all the tickets sold out so quickly?”
2. Anger: “GODDAM [Insert one of the following here: Ticketmaster/bots/scalpers}!
3. Scheming: “Maybe my buddy X has tickets. Wait! I know someone at [insert name record label/radio station/promoter/venue here]. If I ask nicely, I know they can get me in!
4. Panic: “What am I gonna do? I GOTTA see this show! I’m [insert name of artist here]’s biggest fan!
5. Resignation: “Fine. Let’s check StubHub.”
Buying concert tickets is undoubtedly one of the most frustrating retail experiences known to capitalism. (Having intensely studied the situation over the last two years, I’ve written plenty on the subject. Go here to get started.) The process is broken–everyone in the industry knows that–but finding a solution seems impossible.
Whenever the subject comes up, someone inevitably bleats “We should go back to the old way! Lining up at the box office and paying for hard tickets! That’s what REAL fans would do, which means that only REAL fans would get tickets!”
While there are many flaws in this argument (I outline them below), Trent Reznor is going to give it the old college try for the upcoming Cold Black and Infinite tour with openers the Jesus and Mary Chain.
Rules for the first leg of the tour–a road trip mostly through midsize theatres–are simple.
- Only physical box offices at the venues will sell tickets. No online sales, no phone sales
- First come, first served.
- No lining up for 8 am on the day tickets go on sale.
- Tickets will be sold from 10 am to 3 pm.
- Limit of four tickets per person.
- That’s it.
I quote Trent:
The promise of a world made better by computers and online connectivity has failed us in many, many ways, particularly when it comes to ticketing. Everything about the process sucks and everyone loses except the reseller.
We’ve decided to try something different that will also likely suck, but in a different way. We’re hoping many of you will be happy with the results, while some may do what they always do and bitch about it.
And yes, I’m going to bitch about it. Bit just a little.
Going back to the Olden Days is a nice idea, but the old problems remain.
- How do you enforce the line policy? Do they expect people to show up leisurely and orderly at 8 am on the appointed day?
- How do you keep scalpers from paying people to line up for them? That’s how they got around things back in the day. I knew a guy who paid homeless people to stand in line as long as it took. They bought the maximum number of tickets each, gave ’em to the scalper who immediately hacked up the price by 300%. It’s just a matter of minutes before some of these tickets show up on StubHub and through other brokers. And there’s nothing illegal about that.
- How is this fair to people who can’t take time off work/school/parenting/life?
- What about people who live a long distance from the venue? A place like Red Rocks isn’t exactly a neighbourhood venue for anyone.
Now I will explain why this might not be a total fiasco after all.
Note that this is only a pre-sale and a policy that doesn’t necessarily apply to all the tickets in the house. Fans will most likely be able to buy ticket the normal way after this initial rush.
- I’ll bet that these pre-sale tickets are general admission. That means each ticket is of equal value.
- We don’t know how many tickets will be available in this manner. Probably not a lot.
- Hey, it’s good publicity. Trent comes off as a man of the people, a dude that’s at least trying to do something for the fans.
- And hey, it just might work. If not, it was a good try, right?
Meanwhile, a new NIN EP, the third in the triptych that began with Not the Actual Events just before Christmas 2016 and continuing with last year’s ADD VIOLENCE, will be called Bad Witch. It’s set to be released June 22.
1. Shit Mirror
2. Ahead of Ourselves
3. Play the Goddamned Part
4. God Break Down the Door
5. I’m Not From This World
6. Over and Out