I’m going to preface this by saying that I’m not blaming the band here. Not by a long shot. They’re doing their thing and making a lot of people incredibly happy along the way. And I also have a feeling that they’re watching these sales and working out what steps to take next. There’s so many factors at play that it’s hard to place the blame in one single place. The venues that have contracts with Ticketmaster? The venues that have contracts with LiveNation, who, in turn, force them to use Ticketmaster? If a tour has a sponsor and that sponsor requires X amount of pre-sales? The promoters for perhaps “suggesting” things that will make it easier for them but not for the fans? The places that allow automated ticket buying? Wherever the blame goes, it’s not with the band. Like us, they’re trying their best to fix the issue for the fans.
Yesterday I watched with a heavy heart as friends in the US experienced something that music fans in the UK are only too familiar with. They signed on to ticket selling websites only to find Foo Fighters shows sold out in seconds or to find that they’d been locked out entirely. Minutes later, these same people checked secondary ticket sites to find that many of the tickets that they were going after were already being resold.
It baffles me that we live in this age of great technology and yet, time and again, fans are being denied the opportunity to see their favourite bands at a reasonable price because of companies who want to inflate prices for their own greed. It’s an issue that many feel helpless with and find that their only way to approach it is to pay over the odds to ticket touts.
Here in the UK we’ve started to see changes. They’re small and still in their infancy but it shows that artists are listening. It doesn’t mean that other countries can’t also see changes in their own ticketing markets. In reality, many of these changes are fairly simple to implement. It’s just convincing people that they need to happen and some time and investment to get them running.
However, the secondary companies are few and music fans are many. Our voices just have to be louder than theirs.
Mobilise. Create groups of people and lobby local politicians. In the US, ticket touting is a state issue rather than a government one. If enough people get in touch, they should start to listen. It’s certainly happened here in the UK and the secondary ticket markets have been debated at a government level.
Talk to other music fans. Explain why the secondary markets are hurting the music industry. Yes, they can be a convenient way to get hold of tickets but they’re also locking out fans who can’t afford the prices or who need disabled access tickets. Be polite but firm.
Most of all; don’t use the secondary market. That’s the strongest message that you can send. If you want to go to a show there’s a number of other ways to try and get hold of tickets. Ask around friends. Post in fan groups. Keep checking the seller sites as bot-bought tickets are being cancelled and released back in to the system. Call the venue and ask if they have returned tickets (and if they do, ask to be put on a waiting list for them). Or go to the venue on the day and walk the lines. The chances are that someone, somewhere, will have a spare ticket that they’re willing to sell at face value.
Love the music and enjoy the shows. But don’t let the touts get you down.