Thursday, March 12, 2009

Musicians Scalping Tickets To Their Fans

Ethan Smith in the WSJ reports that artists are profiting from selling premium seats with premium prices to their shows on secondary sales sites such as TicketExchange. They are priced and presented as resales by fans and it is a practice used by many top performers according to Joseph Freeman, Ticketmaster's senior vice president for legal affairs, who is quoted in the article. This is essentially scalping by the artists themselves. This is not a new practice, it's just one that has come to the forefront in a piece in the Wall St Journal. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Why doesn't the artist just sell 100 tickets at a higher price and be transparent about it?

The major record labels do not believe in transparency and it leaves me a little sick reading about these artists who now allegedly are playing the same game. Is it necessary to milk the fan for every last dime? Neil Diamond, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Van Halen, and Billy Joel/Elton John are all cited in the article as participating in secondary ticket selling.

This practice came to light after Springsteen protested the unauthorized sale of tickets to his show on secondary sites. It's a practice that has been going on for years. I remember repeatedly hearing rumors about Rod Stewart and his manager Arnold Stiefel, selling their tickets to scalpers to make an extra profit. It's disheartening to see these names connected with such a practice. All of the above mentioned have made more money than they can use in a lifetime. Money is the only motivator I can fathom in resorting to this practice, but how much can you have in a lifetime and why do it at the cost to your fans?

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