How to stop scalpers? It’s been a question that has plagued the concert industry for decades. Some old guys like myself can vividly remember camping out overnight to score great tickets. First come, first served. Somehow, the scalpers always managed to get there first, and have 20 people with them. Then it became a priority draw when lining up early. You might be first in line, but due to a random numbering draw, you could end up at the back of the line. Then, camping was outlawed, and the digital age came into play. Which offered all kinds of new options for scalpers. Often times you can find tickets on re-sale sites within seconds of going on sale.
There are some laws in place to help prevent scalping, but they never seem to be enforced. Remember the ol’ “oh, buy this pen for $500 and I’ll throw in 2 tickets to the Def Leppard concert.”
Many artists have tried various techniques to battle scalpers recently. Garth Brooks keeps his ticket prices low, and plays as many shows in cities as demand allows. Taylor Swift tried a priority draw for fans to get tickets. The more you interacted with Swift online (ie; watching her videos, tagging her on social media) the better your chance of having the right to purchase tickets. Most recently, U2 announced they’ll be using a “Verified Fan” system to enter for the chance to purchase tickets.
The latest trick in battling the ‘bots is being done by rapper Jay Z. His plan of action is to sell VIP experiences at street value. For example, tickets in the first 5 rows will cost a premium to buy from the official ticket seller. The artist will make the bulk of their money from those sales, which leaves, say, the nosebleed seats to be left available at incredibly low prices. For example, at an upcoming Jay Z show at the Honda Centre in Anaheim, you can buy seats in the 400 level for $6!
-Scalpers will have to fork over big money to secure high end seats. This should make it less likely for them to try when there will be little money to be made.
-There will be an allotment of tickets at affordable prices for hard working fans. Imagine paying $6 to see a huge artist
-Scalpers can still eat up all the $6 seats and re-sell for higher amounts. Only a threat if the show is going to be an easy sell out.
-much like NHL games(looking at you Toronto), “real” fans won’t be able to afford those cushy front row seats and get up close with their favourite artist. It becomes the “corporate” or “elitist” crowd in the best seats.
It’s great to see artists trying, although I don’t think the right solution has presented itself yet. As long as there’s someone with money desperate to get into a highly coveted show, scalpers will continue to get paid.