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Ticketmaster to Start Online Ticket Auction 390

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the getting-scalped-from-your-couch dept.
Jason1729 writes "According to the NY Times, ticketmaster is going to begin auctioning off the best tickets to events online. They claim it's to eliminate scalping, but in truth it guarantees every seat will be scalped for the highest price with all the money going to ticketmaster. It also eliminates the possibility of getting a decent seat by waiting in line or being lucky."
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Ticketmaster to Start Online Ticket Auction

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  • Waiting in line? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by imdx80 (842737)
    I'd rather pay more for a ticket, from a reputable source, than wait in line for a ticket (or buy of a ticket tout).
    If the price being asked for a ticket is too much then maybe you didn't really want to go that much

    As long as there are safe guards in place to create a safe / fair auction, eg single blind bid

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Too bad the profit margin is going to ticketmaster, and not the artist.
    • > ... a safe / fair auction, eg single blind bid ... Which won't happen, because TicketMaster wants to drive up prices as high as they can. They won't be able to do that with a blind bid; you need to have two or more people participating in a furious bidwar to make the maximum amount of cash. :-\
    • by Fool_Errant (829472) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:42AM (#15385895)
      I wouldn't call Ticketmaster a reputable source! They are the prime reason scalpers are able to effectively function today. Now, the illegal scalpers will be gone, but there will instead be a legal one... who's making even more profit than they already do.

      Personally, I completely disagree with the auction idea. I'd consider partial auctions, for limited quantities of seats (season boxes, charity auctions) where only small numbers would be affected, but auctions for every seat in the house not previously taken by the promoter or group buyers directly? Puhleeze. That's just asking for scalping to get worse, by pricing event tickets for popular events even farther out of the average person's reach. Most people who keep up with a team or a star do so because they feel that they can get tickets when they want to, even if it's somewhat expensive. This will sorely disillusion them to this.

      Scalpers win huge numbers of tickets by having mass numbers of workers getting tickets for them, then collecting the tickets and reselling at high markup or at auction. This is essentially the same strategy Ticketmaster uses, except that they lock in contracts requiring the use of Ticketmaster as the sole official sales force, so they get to legally kick around every other scalper with C&D orders, but don't, because the scalpers make them so much money. Instead, they C&D the people promoting the events Ticketmaster sells tickets to, even if it's private sales to individuals/groups, so Ticketmaster gets all the sales profit that they can.
      • There is no right to purchase tickets for a concert or event. I seriously don't see why there should be any controversy over this - if Ticketmaster (or anybody) can get $1,500 for a ticket then they should be allowed to get $1,500 for a ticket. That simple. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing -every- ticket placed up for auction: instead of charging $125, $90, $80 and $50 let every ticket be sold for their true, free market value - nosebleed seats behind a post may go as low as $20 and front row center ma
        • by apparently (756613) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:12AM (#15386148)
          If too many people get ticked off at Menudo or New Kids on the Block for the incredibly high ticket prices perhaps these groups will find ways to play without having to use Ticketmaster.

          Menudo? New Kids On The Block? Incredibly high ticket prices? Let me be the first to welcome you to the future, young time-traveler! Reagan is dead, we're back at war, and there's 3 new Star Wars movies! Don't be scared by any of this; sit back, relax, and surf your way through our new "cyberspace".
        • Re:Waiting in line? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by jrockway (229604) * <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:12AM (#15386153) Homepage Journal
          > There is no right to purchase tickets for a concert or event. I seriously don't see why there should be any controversy over this - if Ticketmaster (or anybody) can get $1,500 for a ticket then they should be allowed to get $1,500 for a ticket.

          Interestingly, many venues for which Ticketmaster sells tickets are public property, bought for some rich bigwigs by the taxpayers. Case in point in is "US Cellular Field" in Chicago. Paid for by the taxpayers, but no taxpayer could afford World Series tickets last year.

          Your government at work for you, as always.
        • by jocknerd (29758) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:44AM (#15386271)
          You are right. Ticketmaster SHOULD be able to get whatever they can for the tickets they sell. At the same time, I SHOULD be able to resell my ticket for whatever price I can as well. Scalping laws violate my rights. But once again, its the entertainment industry that gets these ridiculous laws passed.

          But I think Ticketmaster is already gouging the public. I don't go to big name concerts anymore because a $25 ticket winds up costing almost $40 once all the "fees" are added on. And thats just for a ticket to some kids show like Dora or The Wiggles. I can't believe the people that actually will spend that kind of money to take their 3 year olds. Maybe its just me. Maybe I'm stuck in some kind of time warp. Or maybe a $50K job just doesn't cut it anymore.
        • by ktappe (747125)

          This is a good thing.

          No, it's not, because it is yet another way our society is being fractured into the haves vs. the have-nots. Notice how this fracturing is always being done by the rich and allows their rich buddies to get the goodies while the rest of us get left out. The masses used to be able to go to concerts and sporting events, but when tickets reach $1500 they simply cannot do so anymore. And yet folks like you who say that this is a "good thing" are often also those who lament the public s

    • by Glonoinha (587375) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:08AM (#15385970) Journal
      I'd rather pay more for a ticket

      I just RTFA and boy have I got some good news for you!
  • Welcome news! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abscissa (136568) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @02:53AM (#15385186)
    This is such a great thing!! ...Because Ticketmaster's monopoly and average $10 per ticket fee (half paid by promoter, half paid by customer) is not enough profit. Plus, they even make you pay $2.50 extra when you want to print out tickets on your own printer since they just scan in the barcodes anyway. Sometimes Ticketmaster charges up to 35% of the face value of the ticket [wikipedia.org].

    When was the last time you have been to a major ticketed event where Ticketmaster didn't control everything? Ticketmaster is the primary ticket seller for 27 of the 30 NHL teams and 28 of 30 NBA teams. An anti-trust case has been brought against them in the past, but it was unsuccessful. Ticketmaster has even been accused of signing you up for services you never ordered [entertainm...rdscam.com].

    The end-user has really very little choice in matters like this, aside from not going to ticketed events.
    • This article was posted on September 1, 2003... but it could still happen.
    • Sometimes? I often find that Ticketmaster wants to charge me at least 30-40% of the cost of a ticket. Plus a processing fee or something else on top of that. Plus the fee to print my ticket. Or if I don't want that I can just pay them a fee to mail my ticket to me.

      I can't speak for it because it was before my time, but concerts seem to have been a hell of a lot cheaper in the past before Ticketmaster. I'll still see posters and hear various snippets of top acts going for $5-20. Admittedly this was before do
    • 35% is actually a good deal from TicketBastard. I recently purchased a ticket from them (since I had no other choice) and paid 19.70 for a $12 ticket. I paid over 60% of the face value in fees. And that was with standard mail shipping, which is no extra fee (according to their site, I'm sure the cost is built into their fee). I have actually passed on shows in the past because they cost too much because of the TicketBastard fees. while $10 in fees might not be much when you are paying $100 for a ticket
    • Re:Welcome news! (Score:4, Informative)

      by mwilliamson (672411) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:23AM (#15386013) Homepage Journal
      Ticketmaster's day is over. They are greedy bastards. Check out http://www.thundertix.com/ [thundertix.com] for an alternative. (ok, I actually know these guys so admit to making a shameless plug for them, however it is nice to know there are other options)
    • Do you know why the anti-trust suit was unsuccessful? What I've read is that Pearl Jam (who filed the suit) was itself using a different ticket company, thereby demonstrating that Ticketmaster did not in fact have a monopoly.
  • by FunkSoulBrother (140893) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @02:53AM (#15385187)
    Sound to me like the free market in action, the average libertarian slashdotter should be just fine with it. Tickets are pretty damned scarce, the market will sort it out.
    • Given that they are the only option in the marketplace, and that they set whatever prices they choose with both consumers and the artists whose tickets Ticketmaster sells have complained about price-gouging, I don't see this as a free-market situation.

      Pearl Jam tried to boycott TM for years and the only thing that happened was fans couldn't see the band in concert. There simply weren't concert venues that didn't use TM for Pearl Jam to go to.

      Free market implies the consumers have a choice. We don't.
      • Yes, this is the free market. The market for entertainment is free and open to competition. You can go to the movies, go to see a play (which may or may not use Ticketmaster), buy from a scalper on site (which is not always illegal), buy from a legal ticket reseller, rent a DVD, etc. Ticketmaster's solution will help to eliminate scalping because today's scalpers buy huge blocks of prime tickets and then jack up the price two or three times to recover their costs and make their profit. Putting the ticke
      • Sure you have a choice, you can choose to not go.

        You can choose to let the performer know why you didn't go.

        If enough people actually cared, there would be pressure on TM to change their pricing model.

        But, most people opt to just complain, and then cough up the dough anyway.

        That's a free market in action, but perhaps not with the results you want.

        Unless the event is important to me and is expected to sell out, I just line up at the doors. That's another choice you could make.
  • by redcane (604255) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @02:54AM (#15385194)
    Isn't this just the logical conclusion of capatilism and the free market economy? Supply is limited, Demand is large, thus the price should go up? The only reason scalpers exist is because there is a gap between the price of supply and the price at which there is still demand.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The tickets business is not a perfect example of capitalism in action, because the sports and concert ticket business is not a friction-free market with perfect information where buyers and sellers can interact directly without overhead costs. Scalpers and companies like Ticketmaster have preferential early access to the best seats before Joe Sixpack does, and hence can charge a premium for these. There is no way for you and I to get access to these tickets.

      Companies like Ticketmaster are the reason I look
      • Capitalism is a real system, economics is a theory about that system. In the real system of capitalism, i.e. what really exists, there is no such thing as perfect information, perfect competition, market clearing equilibria, non-sticky prices, etc. Arbitrage (e.g. scalping) is rampant. Monopoly power is rampant. That IS capitalism. Maybe you have some kind of dream idea of some kind of capitalism (like 'warm and fluffy capitalism') where everything works perfectly, but if we're talking about the real w
      • by Tango42 (662363)
        "At Ticketmaster, you are likely to pay through the nose just for the privilege of attending."

        And if there are people willing to pay that price, why shouldn't they be sold the tickets? That's how capitalism works - whoever is willing to pay the most gets the goods. The price is determined by how high it can be and still have everything sold. It sounds like an auction is the perfect way to achieve that.

        If they charge too much, they'll have tickets left over, which is a waste, so they don't want to do that
        • You are describing free market exchange, one of several components of capitalism. Capitalism also implies competition, whereby the price changes as a result of varying supply and demand under pressure to simultaneously compete and profit. Here, price is a consequence of predetermined monopolistic formula, artificially higher than the market equilibrium for the service offered by Ticketmaster because they are not subject to market forces. So it is not how capitalist works, but rather how a monopoly exploits
      • The tickets business is not a perfect example of capitalism in action, because the sports and concert ticket business is not a friction-free market with perfect information where buyers and sellers can interact directly without overhead costs. Scalpers and companies like Ticketmaster have preferential early access to the best seats before Joe Sixpack does, and hence can charge a premium for these. There is no way for you and I to get access to these tickets.

        Yes, but since the scalpers and Ticketmaster won't

  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @02:55AM (#15385199)
    Quoth the article: "The tickets are worth what they're worth," said John Pleasants, Ticketmaster's president and chief executive. "If somebody wants to charge $50 for a ticket, but it's actually worth $1,000 on eBay, the ticket's worth $1,000. I think more and more, our clients -- the promoters, the clients in the buildings and the bands themselves -- are saying to themselves, `Maybe that money should be coming to me instead of Bob the Broker.' "

    Ticketmaster has every right to dictate their business model. And I have every right not to buy from them. I applaud his efforts to take back money lost to middle-men nipping at his heels. As long as the market will bear those prices - then go for it. This means that concerts will increasingly become the past time of the rich, yes, and they will leave some of their best fans, the teenagers, out in the cold. If there's enough blowback they might go back to the 'wait in line at 8am on Sunday for cheap tickets' model - but not if they are making good money. Perhaps some alternatives will spring up to fill the gap. Who knows.

    As for myself however, I find some of their business practices riotously lame, and I haven't bought tickets to a big concert in years, and I scrupulously avoid ticketmaster. Mostly because:

    • I don't like the last minute 'fees' and 'surcharges' - they should just list an all inclusive price up front, it's not like they have competitors in most cases, unless you want to drive to the box office of the event venue during limited hours.
    • I'm tired of the cavity search to get into a rock concert. I don't consider that part of a pleasant evening out. Concert security lately resembles the presidential motorcade. This is a problem in general with live events where any semi-famous person is present. It's just gotten silly and I'm not interested in feeling like I'm in the Soviet Union. It ruins the atmosphere.
    • I'm tired of rock concerts being at volume 11 - why should I wear earplugs when you can just turn the volume down? Are you doing that to benefit the one already-partially deaf person in the audience? Movie theaters with nice sound systems are pleasantly loud. Concerts are deafening. What's the point? Why have sound above what human hearing can tolerate without hearing protection?
    • the crowds, the stanky toilets, the not being able to see the band from across the stadium....
    • The enormous prices. I appreciate that the shows are big and expensive, but I'd much rather go to a symphony hall or a Loreena McKennitt concert. Maybe I'm just getting old. 20 years ago concerts were an order of magnitude cheaper - and that's taking inflation into account. $16 for Oingo Boingo. I have my ticket stub still.

    Maybe one day live music will return to a more sane level of operation. In the mean time I'll continue to partake of smaller venues and lesser known bands. With the money I save I can buy some albums and listen to them in the comfort of my car or on my stereo / computer at home. Obviously there are plenty of people who don't agree with me, because they fill the stadiums up with people at any price currently.

    Like the situation with the RIAA, the only ones who can change it are the acts themselves. They have to conciously choose to publish independently (which is actually possible with the internet) and not use companies like ticketmaster when promoting and selling live events. It takes a serious amount of balls to be the first major act, but I believe if enough acts choose to go this route, it will reach a critical mass that will again change the industry. All it takes is for one well connected entrepreuer to convince some of his rock star friends to go in on a website where the site gets 10% of the cut and the artist gets 90%. Then you can sell songs for 25 cents or 50 cents a piece, and most of it goes to the artist. And the artist is still making directly more than he or she would than through Itunes, and the sales are good because of the low price

    • I'm tired of the cavity search

      I'm tired of rock concerts being at volume 11

      not being able to see the band

      perhaps you're just getting old and therefore out of the target demographic?

      Maybe I'm just getting old.

      ah, i see we agree. you forgot to mention how kids these days have no respect for their elders and how you liked walking uphill both ways to school.


    • Ticketmaster has every right to dictate their business model. And I have every right not to buy from them. I applaud his efforts to take back money lost to middle-men nipping at his heels. As long as the market will bear those prices - then go for it. This means that concerts will increasingly become the past time of the rich, yes, and they will leave some of their best fans, the teenagers, out in the cold. If there's enough blowback they might go back to the 'wait in line at 8am on Sunday for cheap tickets
    • but I'd much rather go to a symphony hall or a Loreena McKennitt concert.

      Yeah, if only she would hold concerts [quinlanroad.com]! I haven't seen dates listed in ages!
    • Thing is, it's a bloody damn waste.

      Yes, having the Rolling Stones play in a stadium, the way they do it now, costs millions. The crew, the equipment, the show, the preparations, the stage to be built etc etc etc all adds up to huge sums.

      Then people pay like $150 each to stand a mile away from the stage and watch the show on giant (also expensive) screens. The performers themselves can hardly be seen from such a distance at all. At which point you have to wonder why you didn't just shell out $15 for a DV

    • by Rob Kaper (5960) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:18AM (#15385994) Homepage
      Moan, moan, moan.


      I don't like the last minute 'fees' and 'surcharges' - they should just list an all inclusive price up front, it's not like they have competitors in most cases, unless you want to drive to the box office of the event venue during limited hours.


      Maybe you should get your tickets earlier as then there are no last minute fees. Shipping and handling charges make sense, especially as venue pickup and international deliveries make these costs variable.


      I'm tired of the cavity search to get into a rock concert. I don't consider that part of a pleasant evening out. Concert security lately resembles the presidential motorcade. This is a problem in general with live events where any semi-famous person is present. It's just gotten silly and I'm not interested in feeling like I'm in the Soviet Union. It ruins the atmosphere.


      Did you stop flying also? By the way, most rock concert searches focus on drinks brought outside and professional digital cameras, not security. And it only happens for a small amount of semi-mainstream rock artists.


      I'm tired of rock concerts being at volume 11 - why should I wear earplugs when you can just turn the volume down? Are you doing that to benefit the one already-partially deaf person in the audience? Movie theaters with nice sound systems are pleasantly loud. Concerts are deafening. What's the point? Why have sound above what human hearing can tolerate without hearing protection?


      Perhaps you should attend Celine Dion concerts instead of rock concerts.


      the crowds, the stanky toilets, the not being able to see the band from across the stadium....


      If you queue early you'll have an excellent view from the very front row (assuming a general admission show, which most rock concerts are). The bigger the crowd, the least I expect from venue facilities. Perhaps you should stay clear of large public events though, if crowds piss you off.


      The enormous prices. I appreciate that the shows are big and expensive, but I'd much rather go to a symphony hall or a Loreena McKennitt concert. Maybe I'm just getting old. 20 years ago concerts were an order of magnitude cheaper - and that's taking inflation into account. $16 for Oingo Boingo. I have my ticket stub still.


      There are still many, many shows to be seen in the $5-$15 range. Perhaps not mainstream artists, but you can't then compare to Oingo Boingo who haven't had a chart hit ever.


      Maybe one day live music will return to a more sane level of operation. In the mean time I'll continue to partake of smaller venues and lesser known bands.


      As do I. :-)

      But don't hold your breath for live music ever "returning" to your ideal situation. Your issues are with mainstream events, not with live music events. You'd get the same shitty prices, facilities and obnoxious crowds at a popular sports game.
      • Maybe you should get your tickets earlier as then there are no last minute fees. Shipping and handling charges make sense, especially as venue pickup and international deliveries make these costs variable.

        I just attended the coachella valley music and arts festival - I ordered my tickets 2.5 months in advance, and paid no shipping charges - however, I ended up paying $386 for 2 tickets that were listed at $160/each - fees made up 17% of the cost of my tickets

        Perhaps you should attend Celine Dion conce
    • The guy is not right and someone (I don't know who) needs to step in and take control of the matter.

      Actually lets use all this Homeland security crap for something useful. Tickets will only be issued in a persons name and ONLY that person can use them!
  • by interiot (50685) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @02:55AM (#15385202) Homepage
    Ticket scalping is a sure sign of a supply/demand imbalance, just as long lines at gas stations in the U.S. were during the 1973 oil crisis, and Xbox 360's on EBay for $1000. If the market demand is high enough to sell some tickets at $500, it's almost a sure bet that someone will sell them for that price, and it might as well be the people putting on the show who earn the money, rather than some random guy who happened to be at the right place at the right time, who is contributing no economic benefit.
    • It's great to look at things as entities that exist in some kind of purely economical abstract universe, but that's simply not the case.

      Many artists don't want to sell their tickets to the highest bidder, simply because that highest bidder isn't the real fan. Having a bunch of 30 or 40 somethings in the front row of a rock concert, simply because they were able to outbid everyone else doesn't create the type of concert atmosphere that a band enjoys playing. Sure, some bands just care about the monies but
      • The pat economic answer for gasoline lines is that higher prices encourage producers to do whatever they can to increase supply, which helps get the product to a wider number of poeple, thereby making the largest number of poeple happy.

        That doesn't seem to apply to musical acts though... there's a huge number of people trying to get their music heard. I mean, fans can always get a more authentic experience by going to a concert put on by a local band... but maybe that's not how popularity/fans work? I

    • Ticket scalping is a sure sign of a supply/demand imbalance

      It's an even surer sign that greed is the prime motivator for a good percentage of the population.

  • Bands may as well just cut out ticketmaster then, no use for them or the scalpers anymore. They no longer add value, and an auction site is the demo application in most web authoring tools these days.

    Bye bye, and F' off Ticketmaster.

  • Hmm, not TOO worried (Score:5, Informative)

    by johndierks (784521) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @02:56AM (#15385209)
    At first I read this article, and felt bad about the near monopoly that ticketmaster holds on the industry, but then I saw this article is from September 2003, and we haven't seen this yet. Maybe they thought better of the idea?
    • This may be old news, but Ticketmaster IS auctioning tickets. My wife just attended the Tim and Faith (ugh!) concert, and the best tickets were held for auction. It was also impossible to get decent tickets without joining the fan club or one of the other listed organizations to be eligible for the pre-sale. I call bullcrap.

      Dave
  • September 1, 2003? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jubalicious (203314)
    Slashdot, where news is relevant... but let's just pretend this is a slashback. Does anyone know what happened to this plan? It seems like it makes a lot of sense for ticketmaster.

    1. cut-out middle-man (e-bay)
    2. take a percentage of a premium for tickets
    3. profit

    no ??? needed

    It's as simple as supply and demand... the basis of our whole economy. It's a function of a free market and with the internet as a huge enabler, I wouldn't be surprised to see more goods and services sold this way. Just look at how popu
    • To paraphrase Richard Nixon, "When the corporation does it, it is not a crime." My first thought was that this wouldn't pass the smell test with the attorney general of our state.
  • by bigHairyDog (686475) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @02:57AM (#15385218)
    This isn't people being ripped off, this is everybody getting a fair price. The tickets go at the price people are willing to pay. OK, so we no longer get the chance to get lucky with a good seat for no extra money, but then again we never get unlucky with a crappy seat for the same price that people in good seats pay.

    As for the comment that the scalping fee goes to the organizer, is that not better than it going to a scalper? We all talk enthusiastically about the day that the extortion of money from fans with high prices for DRM'd albums will stop and be replaced by artists earning money honestly with performances. This is a step towards making performance a more attractive source of income.
    • by raehl (609729)
      When tickets are auctioned, the amount of money made by the act is more closely related to the number of people who want the tickets.

      When you have a lot more money coming to you based on the number of fans you have, it becomes much more tempting to release your music for free to make it back on the concerts.

      The better technology gets at distributing bands' music for them, the more attractive this gets.
    • This isn't people being ripped off, this is everybody getting a fair price. The tickets go at the price people are willing to pay. OK, so we no longer get the chance to get lucky with a good seat for no extra money, but then again we never get unlucky with a crappy seat for the same price that people in good seats pay.

      While in the theory this is good, I doubt we'll see tickets become an unregulated commodity. There is no way that the bands/venues/promoters will let that nosebleed seat in an unsold out s

      • There is no way that the bands/venues/promoters will let that nosebleed seat in an unsold out show go for a penny.

        Why not? If it increases overall profit, then I'm pretty sure they would. There's plenty of bargain bucket airlines that sell seats on half empty flights for a penny (and those seats aren't even going to be any worse than the ones that people have paid full price for), so I don't see why concerts would be that different.

  • Pure and simple. When the price becomes unpredictable and rapidly inflated I'm going to be happy letting others fight over it. I'll just buy the DVD.

    It's already ridiculous anyway. I was looking at going to a particular popular circus performance but it $500 for a night out with the other half? !%@# that!
  • I don't understand why the summary puts such a negative slant on this. There are a lot of positive aspects to it as well, for example the people who want to see an event most, usually the biggest fans, who are willing to pay the most money, get to see it, not those who simply happen to get lucky. And don't tell me that it is unfair to the poor, because events are a luxury item, it is reasonable to expect them to be priced as high as the market will bear. Unlike food you can't claim that you need to go se
  • by Macdude (23507) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @02:59AM (#15385236)
    ...in truth it guarantees every seat will be scalped for the highest price with all the money going to ticketmaster.

    Don't you mean, "with all the money going to the artist who's performing"?
  • by drfuchs (599179) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:06AM (#15385266)
    RTFA. Most of the "extra" money goes to the performers, promoter, venue, etc. TicketMaster gets a percentage or a flat fee. As someone who has purchased tickets from scalpers, I'd be happier paying the (inflated) price on a ticket that was guaranteed to be legitimate, rather than have to carry lots of cash to pay for a questionable one. On the other hand, TFA doesn't explain how the auction process will work. Will they auction a few seats each hour, or a few dozen once a day, or some other scheme? Or do you just bid on some number of seats within a specific area, and they dole them out to the high bidders? If I am willing to spend, say, $200 on the "best available at the price" seat, will I be guaranteed to get some seat somewhere (assuming that not all the seats in the house went for more)? What if I'm flexible on the exact date? What about groups of 5 that want to sit together? And how long do I have to wait to find out if I got a seat or not? It seems like it would be tricky to come up with a scheme that even just keeps all the rich people happy. There's also an existing "TicketExchange" feature, where customers can re-sell their tickets for more or less than they paid for them. TicketMaster is getting close to establishing a REAL market here, where you could even sell a ticket short! Now that's exciting -- "I think this upcoming mega-show with the big stars is going to be a flop, so I'll sell a ticket I don't own yet, wait for the bad reviews to come out, and then cover my short sale by buying a ticket that's now really cheap". How about a Broadway Futures market? Or Mutual Funds (an unmanaged portfolio of dramas; or a basket of musicals with no more than 20% revivals; etc.)?
  • by sane? (179855)
    Sooner or later they will work out that streaming each live concert and charging for that as well will make them even more money. Sure the point of a live concert is in part the atmosphere, but if you're honest a view from the back of a tiny dot on stage isn't that great.

    What we are approaching is a graded experience; from right at the front with a great view, great sound (and atmosphere); through the also rans in the arena; to those watching live at home, and finally those watching the concert DVD. Peopl

  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stickerboy (61554) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:07AM (#15385273) Homepage
    Sure it fights scalping at the gates; now it's just Ticketmaster doing the scalping.

    Obviously, Ticketmaster was jealous of some of the profit margins of the professional scalpers. This is like the government fighting the War on Drugs by taking over the dealers' businesses...
    • That's not funny. It's true.
    • by amorsen (7485)
      This is like the government fighting the War on Drugs by taking over the dealers' businesses...

      That is most likely the only strategy that could actually work in the War on Drugs.

  • The 'free' market. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Don_dumb (927108)
    There is no simple way of releasing tickets for big events. If you go 'first-come first-served' online, then many of the first in line will be scalpers selling on the tickets at very high prices to those who couldn't press refresh quick enough, or were at work. If you allow everyone who wants a ticket to apply and then draw the winners out of a hat (a lottery, used by Wimbledon and other events), many of those in the hat will be scalpers (or touts) and once again those who actually want to be there, have to
    • by flooey (695860)
      It seems to me that the most obvious way of making sure that there is a minimum of black market activity (you will never eliminate it) is to sell the tickets with the intended recipients name and check ID on entry to ensure the name of the person taking the seat is the one on the ticket.

      Just so you know, at least in the US, ticket scalping is perfectly legal absent a specific law against it (which some states do have, but not all). So, in many cases, this isn't black market activity, though it might be
  • tickets for events could be bought at an auction discount for events that aren't in high demand. I say that if they want to play the market for the popular tickets they should be forced to deal with the same system for the less popular.

    I hate this brand of capitalism that always favors the corporations.
  • by FunkSoulBrother (140893) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:09AM (#15385293)
    Will I be able to get an unsold seat at a never-sold-out event like a Minnesota Twins baseball game for $1?
  • True capitalism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RSevrinsky (10305)
    Most people in the western world aren't used to it, but this is pure capitalism even at the micro level. It shouldn't surprise anyone that the market price for any commodity is self-normalizing -- which is to say, the price you pay is the price the market will bear. We're already used to this when buying from private individuals, such as buying/renting a home, second-hand cars, or garage sales. It's only when dealing with a retail establishment that we expect all items to have a clearly labeled definative p
  • I'm curious how much of a "convenience" charge will be tacked on to an autioned ticket. It's already bad that they charge almost $10+ for the convenience of buying a ticket online, then charge another $2.50 for you to be able to print out a ticket. I'm of the opinion that in the case of an auction, the convenience of buying online decreases and I should be charged less but something tells me ticketmonster disagrees...
  • Fine by me.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Cryptnotic (154382) * on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:26AM (#15385345) Homepage
    The ticket agents (scalpers) have networks of people (smurfs) who buy tickets for them to the desriable shows. When ticketmaster limits sales to 2 tickets per address, they don't really affect the ticket agents because the agents each have dozens of smurfs buying tickets. That's why popular shows sell out within 5 minutes of going online on ticketmaster.com. I can see what the idea is here. If the ticket agents had to compete with the fans on the same level, then the advantage would go to the fans. Currently, the ticket agents are gaming the system to get the best tickets for themselves and then mark them up at a high price to the fans. If fans could buy tickets at the price the ticket agents would pay, it would put the ticket agents out of business.

    Of course, I'd rather see a real competitor to TicketMaster.
  • ...there's also a certain sense to this, which the article digs into to some extent. Really, I don't think the asshole who has a special system logging into and dialing Ticketmaster to acquire the best seats for scalping deserves to make a profit just because the public is willing to pay the extra overhead. I don't think Linkin Park deserves that much $, either, but somebody thinks they do. May as well feed the band's drug habit rather than the annoying scalpers'.

    Of course, this system would be fine and dan

  • by DeadPrez (129998) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:38AM (#15385381) Homepage
    Performers aren't going to be very happy their fans are going to be treated on a two track system, which obviously further alienates the regular working class fanbase. I imagine some shows can be bought off with the lure of extra revenue sharing, but I also think most artists recognize the good duty and sense to undermine structural societal shifts of this nature.

    Pay attention as arguments and policies designed for 'free'ing the market continue to wither those 80% who are labor-dependent. And by that I mean you without a portfolio that has you set for life. The era of the post-WWII/New Deal is over and the consequences for being you and your children will only grow harsher.

    I kid, I kid. This is a great idea. Anyone know if Ticketmaster is a public company? Ack.. I may have just given away my scheme to make it to the other 20%.
  • Going to? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tuxlove (316502) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:41AM (#15385388)
    They already do auctions for the best seats. Where has the author been? I just bought some tickets this way a few weeks ago, and it's a total scam. They also end the auction one day *after* general ticket sales, so if you don't win that auction, you get nothing. Totally evil, and designed to make you bid to the max so you don't get left in the cold. I really wanted to see that concert, though (I rarely find one I want to see), so I bid high just like they wanted.
    • Seriously. They did this for the 2005 fall NIN tour. That's the first one I'm aware of, so that's at least 6 months that they've been doing it.
    • Oh, one interesting side effect of this which work out nicely for me. I was trying to get general admission tickets to a show, but they sold out pretty quick and I thought I missed my chance.

      Then they put a large batch up for auction. I think this was one of the first ones and they seriously miscalculated, because they had literally hundreds of tickets up for auction and the high bids barely budged over the minimum.

      So I suspected they didn't sell nearly as many in the auction as they thought. I bided my
  • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:52AM (#15385424)
    Ticket prices will go up initially... but I suspect that in the long run this will give a shot in the arm to theaters, which have been doing poorly and ending up doing a lot of annoying advertising. If this works out well for them, they will end up building more theaters and the initially high prices may drop...

    What does worry me is that they will try to game the system. With anonymous bidding run by ticketmaster it would be pretty easy for ticketmaster to bid on its own tickets to boost the price, then if they accidentally win just award the ticket to whatever real bidder bid the highest.

    If they did that, would it actually be illegal? Otherwise, it seems like something they almost should do to boost profits. They are beholden to their shareholders after all.
  • I know this isn't the popular opinion, but I'm actually in favor of this.

    I've been very frustrated when the tickets I want are only available by "professional scalpers" on eBay. These people join fan clubs, get in line at 10am, and do whatever else they can to purchase tons of tickets just to resell them.

    The end result is that for me to get decent seats I have to pay the scalper. I would much rather have the artist get that money, even if it means TicketMaster keeps half.

    Am I upset about all the crazy fee
  • 1. I'd be ok with this ALL tickets were auctioned, bringing the very real possibility that the last row of the 3rd bowl tickets could go for $5 (just as front row goes for $1000). The average price would still probably go up for the popular stuff AND Ticketmaster and the artist/sporting event retain a higher amount of the profits for the premium tickets. Plus average bums who would be happy just to be there finally could afford to do so on a more frequent basis. Everybody wins (unless you're an unpopular ev
  • by kaptron (850747) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:42AM (#15385567)
    Ok, first of all, as many people have already pointed out (but few seem to notice), this article is from September, 2003.

    In any case, their auctions are not replacing their current ticket selling system, it is just a way for them to make some extra money, and people to be able to score a few last minute tickets at prices that they would be paying scalpers anyways (so basically it is just a way for ticketmaster to make more money). For certain big-name concerts they apparently hold a few sets of tickets and auction them off after the rest of the tickets have sold out. I regularly get concert updates from ticketmaster and it seems like once every month or so there is one of these auctions (the last few I remember are Roger Waters [ticketmaster.com], Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna...), and they have rarely been of any interest to me... for one thing, these are the kinds of concerts which often have face value prices of $100+ to begin with.

    I think most everyone here agrees that ticketmaster has way too much of a monopoly over ticket sales, and their fees are ridiculous. But this whole auction thing is nothing new, and it just moves some money from money-grubbing scalpers to money-grubbing ticketmaster executives, and hardly changes anything. The fact that nobody here seemed to notice that this auction thing has already been going on for some time pretty much proves my point.
  • by Hellasboy (120979) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:51AM (#15385599)
    On one hand, we have Ticketmaster selling tickets tickets for 1k that otherwise would have been scalped for 1k. The difference here is that the band now gets some of that 1k instead of a person with connections in the office.

    BUT Ticketmaster is doing this in an auction format. Something that scalpers already do on eBay. Couldn't it be possible that the bands just avoid Ticketmaster's probably 40% (I'd think it would be even more) comission and just put them on eBay themselves for a substantially reduced cost?

    I'd imagine that it wouldn't be that difficult for eBay to implement a system just for concerts. I mean, I imagine that most of Ticketmaster's business is online anyways, eBay is a lot more popular and could easily promote and develop something for tickets.

    I mean, the only benefit I can see Ticketmaster has over a tickets.ebay.com type setup would be the physical presence at a few locations... but I believe they hire a different company for that (at the venue). How hard would it be for companies that already sell Ticketmaster tickets to create a business account on ebay to purchase set-priced tickets for customers and print them right there?
  • Now, instead of just the scalpers charging inflated prices to end users, Ticketmaster is getting some more of the pie.

    There is still nothing to prevent a scalper winning the auction and then putting the tickets out on ebay for an even higher price.

    Oooh, snowball !

  • Maybe they can have both? Not going to suggest how they divide it up, but an allotment of the good seats will go as auctions, and the other allotment of good seats will go to those who were lucky and happened to be at the right place at the right time, or for those who waited 12 hours in line to get them.

    however, for those who got cheap tickets, they must prefill their name(s) and when they appear at the concert, their id has to match the ticket. sort of like airplane tickets. you can't really buy airplane
  • OK, they now have HALF the answer. Think they'll figure out the other half?

    You can't copy the experience of a live performance and obviously there's a lot of value in it to those who are going and willing to pay insane prices. So that is a huge source of new revenue for artists and promoters while CD sales are tanking.

    They need to take the next step and think of pre-recorded distribution of material more of a promotional item to drive up demand for concert tickets. Let prices for CDs and online music d

  • How long until they decide ALL seats are the best seats and begin to auction them off? And will they still charge for "convenience"? Doesn't seem all that convenient to wait and see if my ticket bid won. I'm beginning to think I'll go back to the waiting in line model. I bought a $30 ticket to see Ministry that cost me $45 ($9 convenience charge + taxes and fees). I've never been able to determine how they calculate "convenience", as it changes even if it's at the same venue or at the same ticket price
  • Damn it, who's going to buy my captcha solvers now?
  • ...God damned f***ing Ticketbastard...This situation has gotten completely disgusting now. I live concerts, I love live music. However its alreay gotten to the point that I can barely afford to see some of the bands I like. I suppose its over now, I'll probably never be able to see another concert again. Its bad enough that the last one I went to I got tickets 3 minutes after they went on sale, and I was sitting in nowhere land...mind you these were pre-sale tickets through the band's web site!

    Can't we
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @09:50AM (#15386646) Homepage
    They claim it's to eliminate scalping, but in truth it guarantees every seat will be scalped for the highest price with all the money going to ticketmaster. It also eliminates the possibility of getting a decent seat by waiting in line or being lucky.

    No bias there at all. Just to add a little counter-spin, it also means it is possible to get good tickets for a show when you want them. Right now the good tickets are, at best, chaotically distributed, meaning there is no way to ensure you get an optimal seat. Really want a good seat? A band you've been a fan of for ten years? Want to treat your girlfriend to an extravagent night out? Tough.

    Why can't you get them? Since the best tickets go for the same price as the good tickets, there is no upside in selling the best tickets. They all go to concert promoters and wind up being given to local celebrities in exchange for a possible sound byte on the local news, or given away on the "Annoying Morning Stupidity" show. How does that benefit the real fans?

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