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Ticketmaster looks to put scalpers out of business...

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Ticketmaster looks to put scalpers out of business...

Old 09-02-03, 02:48 PM
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Ticketmaster looks to put scalpers out of business...

...by taking care of the scalping themselves.

Ticketmaster Auction Will Let Highest Bidder Set Concert Prices
By CHRIS NELSON

Three years after Ticketmaster introduced ticketFast, its online print-at-home ticketing service, consumers have so embraced it that the company now sells a half-million home-printed tickets for sporting and entertainment events each month in North America. Where ticketFast is available, 30 percent of tickets sold are now printed at home, said the company, which is by far the nation's largest ticket agency.

But consumers many of whom have complained for years about climbing ticket prices and Ticketmaster service charges may be less eager for the next phase of Ticketmaster's Internet evolution.

Late this year the company plans to begin auctioning the best seats to concerts through ticketmaster.com.

With no official price ceiling on such tickets, Ticketmaster will be able to compete with brokers and scalpers for the highest price a market will bear.

"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.' "

EBay has long been a busy marketplace for tickets auctioned by brokers and others. Late last week, for example, it had more than 22,000 listings for ticket sales.

Venue operators, promoters and performers will decide whether to participate in the Ticketmaster auctions, Mr. Pleasants said. In June, the company tested the system for the Lennox Lewis-Vitali Klitschko boxing match at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The minimum bid for the package two ringside seats, a boxing glove autographed by Mr. Lewis and access to workouts, among other features was $3,000, and the top payer spent about $7,000, a Staples Center spokesman, Michael Roth, said.

Once the auction service goes live, Ticketmaster will receive flat fees or a percentage of the winning bids, to be decided with the operators of each event, said Sean Moriarty, Ticketmaster's executive vice president for products, technology and operations.

Along with home printing, auctions are central to "a new age of the ticket," Mr. Pleasants said. In the second quarter of this year, tickets sold online, with or without home printing, represented 51 percent of Ticketmaster's ticket sales. The rest were sold by phone or at walk-up locations.

Ticket Forwarding allows season ticket holders for several sports teams (including the New York Knicks, Rangers and Giants) to e-mail extra tickets to other users, with Ticketmaster charging the sender $1.95 per transaction.

TicketExchange provides a forum for season ticket holders to auction tickets online. The seller and buyer pay Ticketmaster 5 percent to 10 percent of the resale price, a fee the company splits with the team.

In the case of the ticketFast home-printing service, buyers pay an additional $1.75 to $2.50 per order, with the fee set by the event operator. Home printing has won converts among people who want tickets immediately, instead of receiving them by mail or a delivery service or having to stand in line at a will-call window.

One satisfied customer is Brian Resnik, 29, of Tampa, Fla., who says the home-printing fee is a bargain compared with the $19.50 that Ticketmaster charges for two-day shipping through United Parcel Service.

But some other users, who praised the convenience of home printing, objected to being charged an extra fee.

"It's kind of mind-boggling to me," said Joe Guckin, 41, of Philadelphia, who used ticketFast to buy tickets for a Baltimore Orioles home game last season. "You're printing up the ticket, on your printer at home, your paper, your ink, etc. and you have to pay for that?"

The company replies that home-printing consumers are helping to pay for the technology that makes the service possible.

Ticketmaster has spent $15 million to $20 million to outfit almost 700 stadiums, arenas, theaters and concert halls in this country and Canada with bar-code scanners that read and authenticate the tickets and computers that capture information such as which seats are filled and which doors have the most traffic, Mr. Moriarty said. In 2003, the company has sold 400,000 to 600,000 ticketFast tickets each month.

Some ticketFast customers, like Diane DeRooy, 52, of Seattle, complain that Ticketmaster assesses a lot of fees even before levying the print-at-home charge. A ticket to see Crosby, Stills & Nash on Friday at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., for example, carries $13.80 in venue, processing and convenience fees, plus a $2.50 charge for the home-printing option. Without the fees, a ticket costs $30.25 to $70.25.

Many of those customers are skeptical about Ticketmaster's plans to auction the best seats to concerts.

"The band's biggest fans ought to have the best seats, not the band's richest fans," said Tim Todd, 47, of Kansas City, Mo., who used ticketFast recently to buy tickets for a concert by the rock group Phish. Ticketmaster would be, in essence, official scalpers, Mr. Guckin said, voicing a sentiment expressed by some other customers.

Industry watchers agree that auctions will affect all concertgoers. Prime seats are undervalued in the marketplace, said Alan B. Krueger, a professor at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, who has studied ticket prices. He predicts that once auctions begin revealing a ticket's market value, prices as a whole will climb faster.

Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert industry trade magazine, Pollstar, predicted that all ticket prices would become more fluid. After a promoter assesses initial sales from an auction, remaining ticket prices could be raised or lowered to meet goals.

The notion of ticket auctions is annoying, Mr. Resnik said, but he is resigned to them.

"I guess the capitalist inside me would say, `Hey, if that's what they can get for tickets, I guess that's just something I can't afford, like a yacht and a Learjet.' "
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/01/te...partner=GOOGLE
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Old 09-02-03, 03:07 PM
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This is one reason why I will not go to a show. And I don't need them for OU tickets.
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Old 09-02-03, 03:07 PM
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Fine with me, as long as they start the bidding at $1, charge no fees, and put every single seat in the arena up for auction.

Of course, they will not do any of the above. They will put the best 5% - 10% of tix up for auction and still sell the rest for the same prices they have been charging.

Last edited by cdollaz; 09-02-03 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 09-02-03, 04:21 PM
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Maybe we can finally get the congressional anti-trust hearings for Ticketbastard I've been dreaming of... Any society that treats music like a blatantly plutocratic gangbang clusterf*** to this degree is sick.
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Old 09-02-03, 06:01 PM
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Originally posted by Jepthah
Maybe we can finally get the congressional anti-trust hearings for Ticketbastard I've been dreaming of... Any society that treats music like a blatantly plutocratic gangbang clusterf*** to this degree is sick.
Are you kidding? Ticketmaster has paid off enough of the congresscritters that we'll never see any hearings.

Or we'll see them, but nothing will ever come of them, much like the hearings about Baseball where Selig's lies were worse than his obvious toupee, but nothing ever happened.
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Old 09-02-03, 07:15 PM
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Bad move, but since they have agreements with every major and the majority of minor arenas and clubs (isn't this called a monopoly?) it looks as though event go'ers will pay. But since I do not attend these events I won't care.
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Old 09-03-03, 12:18 AM
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Ticketmaster is why I'll travel up to 60 miles away just to buy tickets in advance at the box office.
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Old 09-03-03, 05:51 AM
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Rapemaster.


I just went to 3 concerts this month and I can barely sit down after buying them from Ticketmaster. What they do with prices is wrong and noone in power seems to care.


Why doesn't someone make them open the books on all the charges????
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Old 09-03-03, 07:52 AM
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Time to bootleg more shows...
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Old 09-03-03, 09:00 AM
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I'll wait for the concert DVD to come out. As long as they don't auction the DVDs they can do whatever they want with the shows.
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Old 09-03-03, 09:12 AM
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From the reaction I constantly read on various forums whenever Ticketbastard is mentioned, I wonder how much business is actually LOST because of them. I certainly have the feeling they are very popular or no way would people pay those prices... yet, I constantly hear from others about how we just give up going to shows or go to the club door. What a freakin' shame this company is all alone.
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Old 09-03-03, 11:56 AM
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Originally posted by cdollaz
Fine with me, as long as they start the bidding at $1, charge no fees, and put every single seat in the arena up for auction.

Of course, they will not do any of the above. They will put the best 5% - 10% of tix up for auction and still sell the rest for the same prices they have been charging.
Yeah, notice that their logic doesn't work both ways: By their new logic, if an R.E.M. show sells 5,000 tickets less than capacity, that means 5,000 tickets were overpriced. I don't think we'll see lawn seats selling for $5, though, even though that's about what they're worth to me.
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Old 09-03-03, 03:44 PM
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Originally posted by tor_greg
Ticketmaster is why I'll travel up to 60 miles away just to buy tickets in advance at the box office.
I don't go quite that far, but I make every conceivable effort to not use TM - in fact, I can't remember the last time I had to buy from them (bless Pearl Jam and other bands that sell their own tix )
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Old 09-03-03, 03:56 PM
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Originally posted by GoVegan
Yeah, notice that their logic doesn't work both ways: By their new logic, if an R.E.M. show sells 5,000 tickets less than capacity, that means 5,000 tickets were overpriced. I don't think we'll see lawn seats selling for $5, though, even though that's about what they're worth to me.
Though it might be worth it for some bands to consider doing that; if R.E.M. were to get $2.50 per $5 ticket and sell out the rest of the Verizon-Pepsi Amphi-Shed, that's another $12,500 in their pockets. The downside, of course, is that some of the other 13,000 concertgoers who paid $30 or more might have preferred to pay $20, or $10, or $5 if they'd been given the chance to take the risk they wouldn't get tickets, thereby offsetting the marginal gains from setting the last 5,000 tickets at $5.

But maybe this is just the part of me that rails against a touring industry that has priced itself waaaay above the level I'm willing to pay, even before the insane fees you're generally forced to pay.
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Old 09-03-03, 05:59 PM
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I am still wondering why it costs me money to print out my own tickets vs. it free to have them mailed to me. That is the most ass backward thing they have come up with... in a long line of...
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Old 09-04-03, 12:03 AM
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Originally posted by Meatpants
I don't go quite that far, but I make every conceivable effort to not use TM - in fact, I can't remember the last time I had to buy from them (bless Pearl Jam and other bands that sell their own tix )
Sadly, with their service charges, that's how far I can drive before Ticketmaster even costs me the SAME price as going to the box office.
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Old 09-04-03, 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by SAShepherd
Though it might be worth it for some bands to consider doing that; if R.E.M. were to get $2.50 per $5 ticket and sell out the rest of the Verizon-Pepsi Amphi-Shed, that's another $12,500 in their pockets. The downside, of course, is that some of the other 13,000 concertgoers who paid $30 or more might have preferred to pay $20, or $10, or $5 if they'd been given the chance to take the risk they wouldn't get tickets, thereby offsetting the marginal gains from setting the last 5,000 tickets at $5.

But maybe this is just the part of me that rails against a touring industry that has priced itself waaaay above the level I'm willing to pay, even before the insane fees you're generally forced to pay.
$30 for a concert ticket?

What century are you living in? For an act like R.E.M., minimum ticket prices hover in the $50 - $60 range and more likely will top $75 - $125 for those coveted "gold circle" seats.

[sarcasm mode] You go Ticketmaster! Cater to your last remaining audience - the filthy rich . . . w00t!! [/sarcasm mode]
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Old 09-04-03, 12:22 PM
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Originally posted by grunter
$30 for a concert ticket?

What century are you living in? For an act like R.E.M., minimum ticket prices hover in the $50 - $60 range and more likely will top $75 - $125 for those coveted "gold circle" seats.

[sarcasm mode] You go Ticketmaster! Cater to your last remaining audience - the filthy rich . . . w00t!! [/sarcasm mode]
Bingo! I used R.E.M. as an example because I just paid $75 per ticket for a show this month. The Ticketmaster fees didn't seem quite as bad for these tickets, but just because I was shocked by the actual price of the ticket. With choices of $50 for nosebleed seats and $75 for 17th row seats, I figured I might as well pay the extra, but if that difference was greater, I wouldn't have even considered it. There's no way I would be buying better tickets if _bidding_ for the tickets started at $75.

After all the great shows I've seen for $10, it's hard to get me to pay so much for a concert, so I usually only see one "big" show per year. I can be just as entertained by the Dirty Three or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as I can by a big-name act.

This auction idea is just crap. I could go on for hours about it, but I won't. I'd love it, though, if no one would bid over the minimum for the trial auction shows.
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Old 09-04-03, 01:15 PM
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Originally posted by grunter
$30 for a concert ticket?

What century are you living in? For an act like R.E.M., minimum ticket prices hover in the $50 - $60 range and more likely will top $75 - $125 for those coveted "gold circle" seats.
21st Century, Sir!

I just checked out R.E.M. tickets on Ticketmaster, and there were plenty of concerts (especially in the sheds I referred to in my original post) where the minimum ticket price was less than $30. Yes, I agree that if you want to sit down, you're going to pay more, and if you want to see facial expressions without the aid of the giant video screens, you're going to have pay a lot more, but the concerts where minimum prices are above $30 are the exception and not the rule. (Which is not to say your own personal experience may be the exception. Red Rocks, for example, just had $52 seats.)
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Old 09-06-03, 08:46 PM
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This is interesting, since Multnomah County in Portland has a no-scalping ordinace, so it would be nice to see TM get snagged for scalping their own tickets.

TM is one of the reasons I don't go to as many concerts, The tickets for Tony Hawk's Boom Boom Huck Jam had a service charge of $13 a ticket. That's almost the ENTIRE price for a local band concert not covered by TM.

I'm sure nothing is going to happen to TM with the current monopoly friendly administration, but if there's a change in the administration in 04, I think TM has a LOT to worry about.
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Old 09-07-03, 12:29 AM
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Yeah, R.E.M. lawn seats for Blossom (south of Cleveland) only run $35. Of course, the bastards at Ticketmaster charge an unbelievable $16.60 in fees for two tickets.

What further pisses me off is that B&M outlets for Ticketmaster have always been cheaper for me. So, I try a N. Pittsburgh store only to find they can't sell for that area. Fine. So, I try a store closer to the venue. The lady tells be all seats are sold out. Yet, online seats are still plentiful.

So, I either drive an hour and a half to the box office, or bend over for Ticketmaster.
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