Average Ticket Prices
Tegan And Sara $35.36      Matt Nathanson $30.93      Skrillex $45.44      Bill Maher $60.71      Rebelution $28.00      The Band Perry $42.55      Brit Floyd $40.91      Paper Diamond $20.12      Zoé $35.82      Earth, Wind & Fire $61.68      Yonder Mountain String Band $31.02      Brantley Gilbert $29.84      Amos Lee $41.79      Willie Nelson $58.47      Jay Z $101.64      Kings Of Leon $54.48      Cher $90.43      Journey $60.37      Neon Trees $22.62      Marc Anthony $85.89      Hunter Hayes $32.58      Bill Burr $36.70      The Neighbourhood $22.92      Hopsin $22.60      Tesseract $14.70      Green River Ordinance $12.42      Corey Smith $19.66      Buddy Guy $50.45      Kanye West $85.60      Memphis May Fire $17.36      Drive-By Truckers $27.36      Demi Lovato $46.59      Blitzen Trapper $19.29      Hanson $30.30      Steep Canyon Rangers $48.09      The National $41.46      Blue October $26.40      City and Colour $36.34      Drake $78.84      Reel Big Fish $20.75      Ron White $50.89      Beats Antique $21.73      The Expendables $17.60      Falling In Reverse $21.23      G-Eazy $18.33      Il Divo $67.71      Brad Paisley $46.95      Excision $30.74      Jennifer Nettles $52.96      Steely Dan $78.16      
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My Date With Ticketmaster

05:30 PM Monday 3/2/09 |   |

There’s been a lot of griping and cussing from fans lately about the difficulty of trying to buy tickets for a show through Ticketmaster. So in the interest of journalism (and because I’m a huge Leonard Cohen fan), I tried to do just that myself this morning.

And guess what? I’m pretty sure I had the same experience that’s been enraging people all over the country.

The show I wanted to take in is April 13 at The Paramount Theatre in Oakland, Calif., and tickets went on sale today at 10:00 a.m. PST.

You’ll notice I said wanted. I won’t be seeing Leonard at The Paramount Theatre. Unless, of course, I want to pay a lot more than face value for the tickets. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s a minute-by-minute account of how my attempt to buy tickets went down.

10:00 a.m.: I cruise over to Ticketmaster.com and type in Leonard Cohen. I click on the Oakland show, ready to score my prime seats. Looks like I jumped the gun though, because tickets aren’t available yet.

10:01 a.m.: I navigate back to the homepage, type in Leonard Cohen again and hit enter. Select the Oakland show again. Bingo! I ask for two seats at any price with the best available section and location option.

I type in the captcha and we’re in business. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Score! Two seats. Where? Balcony Row D, Seats 1 and 3, priced at $129.50 each (plus service charges of course, but that’s a discussion we’ll have some other time).

Wait a minute! You’re telling me that one minute after tickets went on sale, the best seats available are in Row D of the balcony? Uh huh.

I’ve learned from experience that sometimes if you hit the “search again link” you can come up with better seats. So right away, I try it. Big mistake.

10:03 a.m.: I hit the “search again” link. Waiting, waiting, waiting. What do you think I see next? You guessed it. “Sorry, no exact matches were found, but other tickets may still be available.” That’s Ticketmaster-speak for sold-out. Curses!

To ease my pain the nice people at Ticketmaster have helpfully provided a link for Ticket Exchange Marketplace, where I can buy tickets from someone who was lucky enough to get tickets, but in the space of three minutes, has decided they don’t want them anymore. How thoughtful.

I resist the temptation to see just what I’ll now have to fork over if I want to see Leonard in the Bay Area. After about 8 minutes, the pressure is too much and I cave. Sooo…

10:12 a.m.: I click the link for Ticket Exchange Marketplace, where I see there are now 65 people selling tickets for the Oakland show at a significant markup. The top price, for Orchestra seats, is around $800 for two tickets. Wow. That was fast.

Now I’m a devoted Leonard Cohen fan. I realize he doesn’t tour very often and this is probably the last time he’ll do a tour of this scale. I was even prepared to pay $251 for Orchestra seats. After all, we’re talking about a living legend.

There is no way, however, that I can justify forking out $400 a ticket. Especially not in this economy. I’m not saying I couldn’t afford it; I can - although it would mean sacrifices. (Eating is overrated anyway.)

What I’m saying is when I weigh the merits of blowing that kind of money for something like this, they don’t add up. (Plus if my parents ever found out, I’d never hear the end of it – some things never change.)

I love all types of music, which means I’ve seen plenty of shows over the years. Heck, I’ve even purchased the majority of my tickets through Ticketmaster. I’m sure I’m dating myself here, but I remember camping out in front of a record store to score choice seats when tickets went on sale. Ah, the good old days.

But things change, and when it became possible to buy tickets online, I adapted and started buying them that way.

Admittedly, a lot of the bands I make it a point to see aren’t the ones whose tickets sell out in a matter of minutes. That’s probably why I’ve never had this experience with Ticketmaster before.

Of course, I also haven’t gone to that many shows since Ticketmaster went into the business of secondary ticketing. I’m sure there are plenty of people inside the industry who would argue that there’s no connection between this and not being able to get tickets. I’m just not one of them.

(Update: As of 2:30 p.m. PST, Orchestra seats at The Oakland Theatre were topping out at $1254.02 on Ticket Exchange. Guess I should have jumped on them when they were only $400 each.)

Comments

  1. Roswellite13 wrote:

    02:53 PM, Mar 04, 2009

    LunchBox01:  Shut up!!  :-)

    I'll check back tomorrow.

  2. lunchbox01 wrote:

    02:29 PM, Mar 04, 2009

    Thank you PSDev for clearing up that matter. I don't feel that my comments were in anyway offensive. If they were directed at anybody it was only becaof a prior comment made by them and even still i kept it non-confrontational.

    I don't have the time to answer all the follow up responses at the moment as work is piling on my desk. I will however re-read the recent posts and respond. thanks guys for showing that even though we disagree petty censorship and deletion is not approved.

  3. Izzy Izznt wrote:

    02:07 PM, Mar 04, 2009

    While you're at it, PSDev, will your backup show who deleted the posts? Censorship of divergent opinion is an ugly thing.

  4. Roswellite13 wrote:

    01:51 PM, Mar 04, 2009

    Ya know, I was wondering why the comment count went down after posting a few times.  That sucks LunchBox.  I didn't agree with a lot of what you said but it was a healthy disagreement with some respect thrown in for good measure.  Did you swear?  That's the only thing I can think of that might have gotten your posts removed.  Even then, they could have edited those words out if you used any.  This TicketBastard controversy is far from over and I look forward to future debates/proposed solutions to problems.  

    For reference only.  I work in radio and have attended over 450 concerts with the majority of them paid for out of my own pocket.  I have worked with promoters, bands, record companies and ticket retailers since 1991.  That's how I got my understanding of the business of selling tickets.  I have never worked FOR any ticket retailers so I'm not completely in the know on their expenses but I do understand how they operate.  

    As far as getting tix to high demand shows, there are a few other methods of obtaining them at face value that involves a little more work, and especially luck.  The 2 biggest keys are preparedness and patience.  If you have those 2 then the battle is almost won.

  5. PSDev wrote:

    01:37 PM, Mar 04, 2009

    lunchbox01 wrote:   "Wow i feel like Rosa Parks being told to sit in the back of the bus. All my comments deleted really? Really? C'mon now MODS the discussion was getting good and you gotta shut me up?"

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It looks like a bug on the site allowed another user to delete your earlier comment(s).  We are looking to see if we can restore them from our backup.  Sorry for the problem.

  6. GreenTea wrote:

    01:10 PM, Mar 04, 2009

    WTF? i didn't agree with LunchBox either, but deletion is a little fascist, don't you think? we're just engaging in some healthy banter. is it really that threatening? sorry LunchBox. though i thought you were kind of a tool...  ;)  you still deserve to voice your opinion. and then be shut down. and then voice it again. it was getting fun...

  7. lunchbox01 wrote:

    12:56 PM, Mar 04, 2009

    Wow i feel like Rosa Parks being told to sit in the back of the bus. All my comments deleted really? Really? C'mon now MODS the discussion was getting good and you gotta shut me up?

    Whatever to those that read what I LunchBox wrote before i hope you got something you didn't know out of it. Roswellite13 I resect your informative and intellectual responses but I will not digress them further as i have been silence by Big Brother like it's 1984. Seems people get annoyed when the flip side of the coin is shown.

    And no I'm not LAUNCHBOX or whatever Lunch Box. Like that metal Knight Rider joint from back in the 80's with the thERMos included. So i've been silenced, so be it. remember kiddies eat your cereal with a fork and do your homework in the dark. Talk Hard.

  8. Roswellite13 wrote:

    11:58 AM, Mar 04, 2009

    nodiggity:  If everyone were on a level playing field, then I would agree with you, but the professional ticketbrokers, (excuse me for being polite) the professional scumbag scalpers are cheating and doing everything in their power to keep you and I from getting our hands on the tickets in the first place so they can drive the price up.  That was the problem with Hannah Montana.  People buying for the sole purpose of reselling at a much higher price for a profit.  There's a huge difference between me  buying tix to a show and not being able to attend so I have to resell or lose my money and buying tickets to gouge people for something they want but were kept from getting in the first place.  The simple solution to ticket scalping is provide ID/original credit card at a will call window the day of the show to prove you are the purchaser of the tickets.  Have plenty of will call windows open the day of the show.  This worked pretty good when I got Pearl Jam fanclub tickets when they opened for Tom Petty in Denver 3 years ago.  This would open up a whole new business of ticket insurance where you pay a fee and if you can't make the show for whatever reason you get your money back and the ticket outlet can resell your tickets at face value so they don't lose money either.  The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced it can be done.  TicketBastard just needs to care enough to make it happen.  We need to MAKE them care!!

  9. Roswellite13 wrote:

    11:39 AM, Mar 04, 2009

    Lunchbox:  You're right about making reselling of tix illegal being unrealistic but it is the only way to at least curb the problem.  The biggest problem is the "problem" doesn't want to be curbed.  Too many people making too much money for it to go away.

    As far as TicketBastard charging what they want?  I firmly believe it.  Not all companies can do it because of competition but TicketBastard has almost no competition and with them merging with LiveNation, there will be even less.  TicketBastard has very little if any control over the actual ticket price if a band wants to keep their ticket prices low, but they have almost complete control over the price of surcharges and THAT is where TicketBastard makes their money.  Personally I can't believe the cost of selling tickets has gone up as much as they claim especially since surcharges were $00.75 30 years ago.  Let's look at the % of the ticket price it has gone up.  In 1977 I bought a KISS ticket for $7.50.  Plus %10 for the surcharges.  Recently I bought 3 $38.50 tickets for $159.00.  You're telling me it now costs almost %30 of the ticket price to sell the tickets?  Sounds like price gouging to me.  Here's how it works in Corporate America . . . Demand for my product goes down so my profits go down.  I have to figure a way to make up the difference.  I find a way to charge more for my product and get it.  Profits go up.  Now demand for my product goes up again.  Do I give up the extra money I've been making because my cost has gone down again or do I continue to conduct business in the new way the customer has become used to doing business thereby making MORE in profits?  Guess what?  Corporate America takes the additional profits and now that becomes the norm.  Soon demand and profits are down again (for whatever reason) and Corporate America has to think of new ways to make more profit again.  Cycle starts all over.  Let's put it like this.  Do you honestly think the airlines are going to ever stop charging for the 2nd bag now that the public has become used to paying for it even though the reason for charging for the extra bag (higher fuel prices) is no longer there?  NO EFFING WAY!!  

    TicketBastard and Corporate America are the ugly, dark side of capitalism.  We have allowed them to run amok for so long it seems as normal to us as being abused as a child.  If it's all we know then it must be normal.  How sad for the abused child and us, the consumer.

  10. nodiggity wrote:

    11:14 AM, Mar 04, 2009

    1) Even if you outlaw the resale of tickets shows are still going to sell out. And then where would someone go in order to get tickets This quote un quote black market. Great instead of having 1000 different sellers selling tickets for $100 per ticket you would have 100 sellers selling at $500 per ticket. You still would be getting shut out on ticketmaster but the prices would be 5-10x if you needed to find a ticket. At the end of the day it is simply still all about supply and demand. Example U2 plays in New York City for two nights. The Garden holds 40,000 people, rough guess, so for 2 nights 80,000 get in to the shows. THERE ARE OVER 1 MILLION PEOPLE IN MANHATTAN ALONE! Then you add the people in the state of New York, Long Island, NJ. There are not enough tickets to give to every U2 fan plain and simple. There will always be a shortage.

    2) By opening it up to the everyone the prices are going to come down because there will be more options to buy available. Example I have been trying to purchase two tickets for Modest Mouse in NYC. Originally there were only a couple of tickets for sale at $100 each. Lately more and more people have been listing their tickets on ebay and now the prices are at about $70 each. Yes it sucks that I cant pay face value, but what is face value?? To me it is worth it to pay $70 for my ticket because it is really a band I want to see. To someone else that might be a rip off. That is my decision to make which leads me to my next point

    3) Tickets are NOT A NECESSITY! That is why it is called entertainment. If you get shut out of a show and dont want to pay, JUST DONT! People make this fuss like they NEED to go to a show or the world will end. The whole Hannah Montana fiasco was just ridiculous. Why cant you just be a parent and tell your kids plain and simple NO! Yes I know that it is a hard thing to do but you know what they will get over it. It is not a life of death situation

  11. Izzy Izznt wrote:

    10:55 AM, Mar 04, 2009

    Is that LunchBox or LAUNCHBox? Because LaunchBox Digital DOES have ties to Ticketmaster. Google is your friend. But if this is someone from an affiliated company, that does not make them *WRONG*. It does make them an interested party, however. The other interested parties in this thread seem fairly obvious.

    And I would have taken those tickets. I've been in that venue and they are actually quite decent seats.

  12. jashbee wrote:

    10:27 AM, Mar 04, 2009

    Ticketbastard.



Artists Mentioned in this article