Sam Smith, who was slated to perform Friday night (9/21) at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival, announced around 9 PM PT, after the show had already begun, that he was forced to cancel due to “unforeseen circumstances.” … More »
Drake and Migos’ Aubrey And The Three Migos Tour is facing further challenges. Two shows in Miami have been postponed — they were supposed to take place tonight (9/21) and tomorrow (9/22) at Miami’s American Airlines Arena, but according to the venue, “due to circumstances beyond our control,” the dates have been bumped … More »
Here’s a cool thing for a veteran band to do: Suddenly and unexpectedly play an entire beloved album, front to back, at a live show. Nine Inch Nails did it just last week, playing their 1992 EP Broken in full at a Phoenix show. And last night, when Arcade Fire played at the … More »
Even in this era, dominated by vertically and horizontally dominant monopolists, few companies are as chronically dirty and corrupt as Ticketmaster (previously), whose parent company, Livenation, is the world’s largest concert promoter. Controlling promotion and ticketing is a one-two punch for a monopolist: Livenation’s rival promoters still inevitably end up selling tickets through Ticketmaster, enriching their biggest competitor.
Ticketmaster and Livenation have managed to claim an ever-larger slice of the revenue generated by creative artists and the companies that invest in their work, Meanwhile, Ticketmaster’s shows are notorious for selling out in seconds to bot-running scalpers who then mark up the tickets and sell them for many multiples of their face-value.
Ticketmaster has always maintained that these scalpers were unfortunate and undesirable parasites that preyed on Ticketmaster, the performers and the audience alike. Ticketmaster says that it uses anti-bot tools to kick scalpers off the system and prevent them from buying tickets, but laments that it sometimes loses the arms-race with the scalpers and their bots.
But a CBC/Toronto Star undercover investigation has revealed that Ticketmaster runs a secret, parallel system called “Tradedesk” that encourages the most prolific scalpers to create multiple accounts to circumvent the company’s limits on ticket sales, and then allows them to re-list those tickets for sale in its “brokerage” market, which nominally exists to allow fants who find themselves with a spare ticket or two to sell it other fans. According to Ticketmaster reps who were unaware they were being secretly recorded, the most successful scalpers use this system to make as much as $5 million/year.
Of course, this means fans are getting gouged. With Ticketmaster colluding with scalpers, there’s no way for a genuine fan to simply buy a ticket at face-value: not only are the scalpers always going to be better at buying tickets than fans can be (because fans buy a few tickets, every now and again, and scalpers work the system day in and day out), but they have an insider advantage, thanks to their partnership with Ticketmaster, who are supposed to be operating a fair marketplace.
But there’s another way in which Ticketmaster is ripping off the world here: Ticketmaster is meant to act as a broker on behalf of performer — the people whose creative labor is the reason for the sales in the first place.
The performers sell Ticketmaster the tickets to the show, and Ticketmaster takes a commission on the initial sale of the tickets and passes the rest on to the performers, but then, when Ticketmaster sells the ticket again (on behalf of a scalper, for a much higher price), it earns a second commission — and the artist get nothing.
Ticketmaster issued a non-denial-denial to the Star and CBC, and implied that this was a case of rogue employees doing naughty things. But the misdeeds that the journalists caught on video came from a wide variety of Ticketmaster staffers, acting on behalf of the company at a major trade-show, with no hedging or any sense that they were offering access to something untoward. What’s more, the CBC/Star report is backed up by a leaked copy of Ticketmaster’s handbook for professional “resellers.”
In a separate investigation, the CBC/Star team showed how Ticketmaster manipulates ticket prices in realtime using deceptive tactics (withholding blocks of tickets until mid-sale, then releasing them at above-face-value prices) to bilk fans out of more money. Hilariously, Ticketmaster blamed this on the “promoter” of the concert, which was Livenation — the company that owns Ticketmaster.
CBC News obtained a copy of Ticketmaster’s official reseller handbook, which outlines these fees. It also details Ticketmaster’s reward system for scalpers. As scalpers hit milestones such as $500,000 or $1 million in annual sales, Ticketmaster will knock a percentage point off its fees.
The Ticketmaster employee who gave the video conference demonstration in March said 100 scalpers in North America, including a handful in Canada, are using TradeDesk to move between a few thousand and several million tickets per year.
“I think our biggest broker right now has probably grabbed around five million,” he said.
Cross, who has spent the past two years researching online ticket sales, suspects some fans will read about this and conclude Ticketmaster is colluding with scalpers.
“On one hand, they say, ‘We don’t like bots,’ but on the other hand, ‘We have all these clients who may use bots.'”
‘A public relations nightmare’: Ticketmaster recruits pros for secret scalper program [Dave Seglins, Rachel Houlihan, Laura Clementson/CBC News]
(via Super Punch)
The singer has not played a scheduled dates in his home county of Suffolk in five years
Crash Test Dummies, the Canadian rock band best known for their 1993 hit “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm,” are reuniting. The original lineup of Brad Roberts, Ellen Reid, Dan Roberts, and Mitch Dorge will tour together for the first time in 17 years to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their 1993 sophomore album God … More »
Pixies are preparing to release a new compendium featuring their influential first two releases, 1987’s Come On Pilgrim and 1988’s Surfer Rosa, as a three-disc/LP deluxe edition. Questionably entitled Come On Pilgrim…It’s Surfer Rosa, the set does not feature bonus tracks from those albums, but does come with a third disc consisting of an early…
Blink-182 recently called off their tour this fall due to medical issues for drummer Travis Barker. Instead of performing their headlining set at Riot Fest in Chicago this weekend, Weezer were booked to perform instead, who took the opportunity to cover Blink’s arguably biggest song “All The Small Things.”
The two bands have…
Bob Dylan has expanded his fall North American tour to include new dates in New York City, upstate New York, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The newly announced New York City addition is a seven-night run at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan. Dylan will also play at the opening night of the newly…
An upcoming R. Kelly concert at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City has been canceled. A representative of the concert’s promotion company confirmed the cancelation in a phone conversation with Spin after Ticketmaster’s website ceased selling tickets to the event on Thursday.
According to Victory Promotions, the South Carolina-based promoter, the cancelation is…