Conversations with BG : Ticket Scalping


BG explaining how it’s his money and he needs it now*

After Nik brought Kid Rock’s upcoming $20 per-ticket-tour to my attention, I had an Internet conversation with Brian (mostly without his knowledge) about ticket scalping. Below is what he had to say via Facebook chat:

BG: Scalping exists because demand exceeds supply

RB: But part of that lack of supply is due to scalpers buying up a bunch of tickets in the first place

BG: Supply is limited because tour promoters want to sell out the show in order to maximize profits.  To guarantee the show being sold out, they’ll book a place that will most likely hold less ppl than the number of people who actually want to see the show.

BG: Scalpers aren’t exactly limiting supply…really they’re just removing tickets from the fixed-price, somewhat affordable market and putting them into more of a bartering-type market, where the price is determined by how much people are actually willing to pay.

RB: It’s quite easy to purchase tickets to a show that will sell out if you have the money, time and physical ability to do so in time

RB: Usually I end up hearing about something coming up and don’t or can’t buy them in time, check the scalper price and decide it’s not worth it to pay 25-100% more

BG: Ya, there it is. And the people with money will outbid those with less

RB: How would you solve the problem? If you could wave a magic wand over it

BG: I don’t know, smarter people than me have failed to solve it.

RB: So you’re fighting for the common man, here?

BG: I’d like to…

BG: Bands used to book a whole week’s worth of shows in one venue back in the day…supply usually met demand, and that kept prices reasonable

RB: What’s your opinion on the death penalty for scalpers? It would definitely solve the issue.

BG: Haha yes, but that’s an unreasonable punishment

BG: It’s like when I was a station trader on Eve: (Brian is referring to Eve Online, the sci-fi online spreadsheet simulator) People selling goods want to offload everything quickly. So they’re willing to pay a lower price to get rid of them and make money fast

BG: The people buying want their goods now. If demand outpaces supply, there’ll be a gap between the highest buying bid and th lowest selling bid.  And people aware of that gap can make money off it.

RB: Oh, Eve. If only we could turn the band van into a class 5 hauler and run shipments around the Bay Area for US Dollars

RB: People on the internet talking about the Kid Rock tour have said they’ve been able to purchase the tickets digitally and then must show the credit card used to purchase to confirm entry

BGYeah but scalpers could covertly advertise, “Yo ppl…buy tickets and then sell them to us for more than you payed.”  (but less than what ppl will eventually pay, muahahaha).

RB: What do you think about U2 raking in $736mil in ticket sales and then donating $11mil to charity? For the 360 tour

BG: Wow. How much net profit I wonder? After expenses, etc

RB: They also had the Black Eyed Peas open for them on select dates. Do you think that increased demand for tickets because everyone “got a feelin’”?

BG: Hahaha I’m sure it helped

RB: If you were to get a feelin’, right now, what would it be?

BG: Tired and feeling not ready for the weekend, even though I pretty much am

RB: Any last words?

RB: p.s. this is mostly going on the internet for my weekly Tumblr blog post. Don’t worry, I’ve omitted your remarks about the vertically challenged

BG: Wait what?

RB: This conversation we’ve just had on ticket scalping via the wonderful Facebook chat (they’re paying me to say it) is tomorrow’s blog post

BG: Last words…  Mark my words, I WILL make music more affordable for the masses.

BG: Wait there’s more

RB: Preach it

BG: Idk, it’s a thought that’s not quite developed…

BGThink of Starbucks vs. Mom n pop coffee shops.  One is a solid product that has been proven to work and appeal to the masses.

BG: The other one is more unreliable, and can vary from crappy to way better than Starbucks. And has a sort of homey feel you don’t get from Starbucks.

BG: Much like the local music scene. Discuss.

RB: Are you saying bands like Rin Tin Tiger are Pete’s Coffee while the original Bay Area brehs of SMASHMOUTH are the ones truly making trade fair?
BGYes, exactly that. Except I refuse to badmouth any particular band. Especially RTT LOLZ JK
RB: Any truly final words?
BG: Here’s a thought: if the people selling concert tickets wanted to completely do away with scalping, then they’d set up an auction. Give the auction ample time, and have it finish the morning of the show.  That way everyone gets a fair shake at getting a ticket
BG: Completely fair, the auction determines what the market is actually willing to pay for tickets, scalpers would be in the same boat as everyone else, thus put out of business.
BG: And here’s what’s bad about that.  The rich would win.  The poor wouldn’t get to see anything. Maybe…
There you have it, folks: Brian Graves will be coming to a concert near you to bring redemption to the fans and retribution to the scalpers. I’ll be posing the topic of ticket scalping on our Facebook page today and will get your feedback on other topics you’d like to see Brian discuss, without his knowledge, over the internet. -RB

*photo courtesy of Raymund Aranda