The Age of the Scalper

Photo Credit: WowtheWorld

Photo Credit: WowtheWorld

The age of the scalper has arrived, and concert-goers have been in a panic ever since. Lately it seems that every big name band and festival has sold out shows in less than a week and for some, less than an hour.

Since online ticket services like Ticketmaster are usually the only way to buy a ticket for a show or event, the resale of tickets has become a massive, frantic market. Ticket buying has become a game of who can click their mouse the fastest.  Or who has been lurking online the longest. Immediately after tickets sell out on Ticketmaster, websites like Ticketsnow.com, Stubhub.com, eBay.com, Getmein.com and Craigslist.com begin posting tickets for sale that are double the price or more.

One seller on Craigslist.com posted an ad for tickets to Sasquatch Music Festival priced at $500 (original price was $285).  Shortly after her initial post, she created a new ad which said, “Due to the crazy response, I am upping the price to this $750 and I figured I’d see how that looks.  Email me if you want them.”

It’s enough to make any concert-goer’s blood boil.  However once you buy a ticket, it’s your property to do with as you please.  Obviously a ticket to a sold out concert is worth a lot of money to a lot of people.  As long as the demand is still there, scalpers will swoop in to be the sole suppliers.

Recently, LCD Soundsystem’s farewell show at Madison Square Garden sold out. However, it wasn’t their fans that got their hands on the tickets, but rather thousands of scalpers. This infuriated frontman James Murphy and provoked him to write an angry post on the band’s website. He didn’t hold back his disgust of the greedy people trying to turn a profit off his helpless fans.  A few of his choice words included “scalper pieces of f**king shit” and “shitbags” and, most creatively, “f***ing f**ks.”

Clearly Murphy was more than upset about his fans having to pay more than he believes a live performance is worth. Furthermore, according to the blog post, close friends of the band who didn’t want to bother asking for guest list spots were unable to purchase tickets before the nasty scalpers. Murphy decided to try and purchase tickets online from scalpers for his own show. He paid $300 for one ticket, which never came in the mail. After Murphy’s rage finally settled, he decided something logical needed to be done.

So Murphy and co. came up with the best solution possible: play more shows so fans won’t have to buy from scalpers. LCD Soundsystem announced that they would play four more shows at Terminal 5 in New York leading up to the Madison Square Garden show. In Murphy’s own words, “Don’t let the shitbags win.”

It’s understandable to not get tickets to a show because an act is popular and there is a large demand to see them. To miss a show because an internet troll with some extra bucks bought a Costco-size batch to slang to the desperate is a slap in the face.

The only thing there is to do is avoid buying from scalpers if at all possible.  Don’t give them that satisfaction.  One day they’ll get theirs when we’re all holding tickets to the great gig in the sky and their downright dirty gimmicks land them a date with the devil.

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