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Paperless Tickets Flourish Despite 'Grandma Problem' 425

Posted by kdawson
from the can-you-say-first-sale-doctrine dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Is a concert ticket a piece of property that its holder has the right to buy and sell as he sees fit, or is it merely a seat-rental contract subject to restrictions determined by its issuer? The Washington Post reports that in an effort to thwart scalpers and dampen ticket reselling on the so-called secondary market, musicians as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Miley Cyrus, and Metallica have adopted 'paperless ticketing' for some or all of the seats at their live shows. Ticket issuers Ticketmaster and Veritix tout paperless tickets as a way to eliminate worries about lost, stolen, or counterfeit tickets, and to banish long will-call lines. But paperless tickets aren't really tickets at all, but essentially personal seat reservations, secured electronically like airline tickets. Fans buy tickets with a credit card and must then go to the venue with the same credit card and a photo ID to gain admittance. The problem is that Ticketmaster's paperless tickets can't be transferred from a buyer to a second party. The inability to pass along a seat creates what has become known in the industry as the 'grandma problem': it's almost impossible for a grandma living at one end of the country to buy a paperless ticket to giver to a grandchild living at the other end. Without the ability to transfer virtual tickets, brokers and dealers fear being run out of business, and consumers have a harder time selling unwanted tickets. 'People should be free to give away or sell their tickets to whomever they want, whenever they want,' says Gary Adler, a Washington attorney who represents the National Association of Ticket Brokers. 'An open market is really best for consumers.'"
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Paperless Tickets Flourish Despite 'Grandma Problem'

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  • Limited Options (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:21AM (#32809064)
    Of course they flourish. When these are used, people really aren't given another option in most cases. This is much like saying "Despite outrageous fees, TicketMaster flourishes".
    • by Idbar (1034346)
      I wonder if ticketmaster will see on this the opportunity: since there are no printed tickets, there is no paper or shipping fees or the "print at home fee"... would they charge the ecological-anti counterfeit fee now?
      I don't like their tricks but I also haven't found anyone else that provides the tickets I look for.
      • by dreamt (14798)

        I have always loved how Ticketmaster charges you a fee to print up your own tickets, but they at least still have an option to have them mail them to you for free. I simply refuse to pay to save them money.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Then why not a barcode that I can email to someone so they can display it on their phone and have the gate-dolt simply scan it?

    • Re:Limited Options (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:37AM (#32809204) Homepage
      You could always just not go to the show. When concert tickets already cost $100 or even much more, and then Ticket Master adds a $12 "convenience fee", which is mandatory, because there is no other way to get tickets, then I stop going to concerts. When I was in university, and I went to a lot of concerts, they were usually small shows at local bars. We never paid more than $20 for a concert ticket, sometimes as little as $5. And there's a lot of free tickets to interesting bands if you keep your eyes open. Why would I want to pay $100 to go to a venue with terrible sound, and sit 200 ft. from the band and the crowd is just filled with a bunch of people who happen to have a lot of money, but aren't all that interested in the music, when I can go to a smaller venue, pay $10, be 10 ft. from the band, the sound isn't any worse, and the crowd is really into it. I guess there's just too many people with too much money, and that's the reason they can demand outrageous prices, and even stoop to things like paperless tickets that you can't resell. Granted there are more people without money, but that's not important, because as long as there are enough people in each city on the tour to buy the tickets, it doesn't matter how much the real fans can afford.
      • Re:Limited Options (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:59AM (#32809450)

        What I find amusing is how many people in this topic are deluded that this is a good thing.

        Sure people hate scalpers but all this will mean is that ticketmaster will do what the scalpers used to do but screw you far harder.
        They'll follow the airlines and just charge 10 times as much for a ticket shortly before the show vs the price 6 months before.
        They'll up the prices based on how many hits their website gets for that concert.
        And finally they won't ever give you a refund or (and this is where they become worse than the scalpers) let you sell the ticket if you find yourself unable to go.

        you'll play just as much money to get the tickets as you ever paid to a scalper but the middlemen at ticketmaster will be getting all the cash.(clap your hands and believe, believe real hard if you want the band to get any of the extra income)

        I'm with you on the smaller gigs thing.
        better atmosphere, better music, better prices.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BasilBrush (643681)

          you'll play just as much money to get the tickets as you ever paid to a scalper but the middlemen at ticketmaster will be getting all the cash.(clap your hands and believe, believe real hard if you want the band to get any of the extra income)

          Bands/promoters don't have to use Ticketmaster. They will only do so if Ticketmaster offers a proposition that they like, and better than any competitor. If tickets from Ticketmaster rise, then for sure more money is going to the band or promoter who contracted Ticket

          • by Dishevel (1105119) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:41AM (#32810838)
            You are so right. I say go even further. Kill scalpers on sight. Greedy motherfuckers charging MARKET VALUE for the stuff that they own? WTF?!?!?!

            What was that sarcasm tag thingy? Oh well fuck it. Not like the mods would know either.

          • Re:Limited Options (Score:4, Insightful)

            by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:56AM (#32811116)
            Bands/promoters don't have to use Ticketmaster.

            Tell that to Pearl Jam.
          • Re:Limited Options (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Smidge204 (605297) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:41AM (#32811808) Journal

            Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure someone will correct me even if I'm not)...

            Counterfeit tickets notwithstanding, don't the scalpers have to buy the tickets in the first place? So even if there is ticket scalping going on, didn't the venue already collect the ticket fee?

            If the scalpers don't sell all the tickets they bought, the venue still makes their money.

            The only ones who get screwed are the people who buy tickets from the scalpers - which, if you're willing to pay more for the ticket, would you complain if the original ticket price was raised to the scalper's price? It's all the same in the end...
            =Smidge=

          • Re:Limited Options (Score:4, Interesting)

            by nogginthenog (582552) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:53AM (#32812014)
            TicketMaster are in bed with Clear Channel. Clear Channel own most of the large US venues and 90%+ of US radio stations. Also, the price you see on the ticket is not necessarily what goes to the band/promoter. It's common in the ticket business for the promoter/venue pay a kickback to TM.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by crazyj (145672)

            Bands/promoters don't have to use Ticketmaster. They will only do so if Ticketmaster offers a proposition that they like, and better than any competitor.

            Wrong. TicketMaster signs long term contracts with venues to be the sole provider of ticketing for all events at that venue. The promoters pick venues based upon the size that they think the performer can draw. Therefore, if the promoter picks a venue that is contracted by TicketMaster the show is forced to use TicketMaster as the ticketing platform. If there is no properly sized venue in a city/region that is not under contract with TicketMaster (there rarely is unless you’re talking about small ven

      • Re:Limited Options (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Blkdeath (530393) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:29AM (#32809794) Homepage

        You could always just not go to the show. When concert tickets already cost $100 or even much more, and then Ticket Master adds a $12 "convenience fee", which is mandatory, because there is no other way to get tickets, then I stop going to concerts.

        This I'll agree with. TicketMaster have created a monopoly on the ticket industry and therefore the "convenience" of buying tickets from them is rather akin to a convenience charge to buy Microsoft Windows or gasoline anymore.

        When I was in university, and I went to a lot of concerts, they were usually small shows at local bars. We never paid more than $20 for a concert ticket, sometimes as little as $5. And there's a lot of free tickets to interesting bands if you keep your eyes open. Why would I want to pay $100 to go to a venue with terrible sound, and sit 200 ft. from the band and the crowd is just filled with a bunch of people who happen to have a lot of money, but aren't all that interested in the music, when I can go to a smaller venue, pay $10, be 10 ft. from the band, the sound isn't any worse, and the crowd is really into it.

        This, however, I will wholeheartedly disagree with. The last rock concert I went to at {$Major_Venue} was phenomenal. The crowd of thousands was entirely into the show to the point where people stood when the band fired some cannon shots to start the show and never sat down again. Screaming, yelling, cheering, chanting and thousands of people belting out lyrics to the more lively songs is something you can never experience at a bar. That and extreme pyrotechnics.

        There's vast differences between a show at a bar (I've been to hundreds) and a rock concert. Namely a show at a bar is something you can do because it's Friday. A major concert event is an uncommon special occasion.

        I guess there's just too many people with too much money, and that's the reason they can demand outrageous prices,

        I've noticed quite a trend of people on Slashdot being anti-money. Is there a problem with people who work hard and earn more than $40k/year (or 50, 60; whatever the waterline may be) or something? Or must one suffer and live in one's parents' basement earning paltry sums in order to maintain credibility?

        and even stoop to things like paperless tickets that you can't resell. Granted there are more people without money, but that's not important, because as long as there are enough people in each city on the tour to buy the tickets, it doesn't matter how much the real fans can afford.

        It's simple market economics. You price a good at a level the market will bear. If you sell tickets for $100 apiece and the show sells out in 6 minutes, you price the next show at $120. If it also sells out in under 10 minutes you know your good is priced below market value and you make future pricing decisions accordingly.

        The notion that "real fans" are people who have no money and must go to shows only on half price pint night is rather insulting. I'm a music lover and I assure you I am not poor.

        If you don't like your lot in life, change it. If you don't want to change your lot in life, quit bitching about it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192)

          I've noticed quite a trend of people on Slashdot being anti-money. Is there a problem with people who work hard and earn more than $40k/year (or 50, 60; whatever the waterline may be) or something?

          No, there's a problem with people who golf 4 days a week, spend the rest of their time in meetings instead of doing actual work, and make more than people who put in an honest 40, 60, or 80 hours of labor. Music executives for instance.

  • by Luthair (847766)
    Grandma can send a cheque to the parents. As for everyone else trying to sell tickets, they're scalpers and who cares what they think?
    • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:43AM (#32809272) Homepage

      Grandma should be allowed put a different name on the ticket than the one on her credit card. All the grandchild needs is some ID with a matching name on it. Problem solved.

      Can I patent this process please?

    • As for everyone else trying to sell tickets, they're scalpers and who cares what they think?

      What about groups of friends going to a concert, but one of them buying the tickets for all, in order to make sure to get seats together?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jonbryce (703250)

        That works because one of the friends will have a credit card with an "admit 4" ticket associated with it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ArsenneLupin (766289)
          Interestingly, many ticket places don't do this.

          For example with ticketpod.nl, if you order 4 tickets, you get 4 separate tickets, each with its own bar-code, rather than one master ticket with a count.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I care; I really care. If I buy tickets for a show well in the future and plans change I want to be able to give the ticket to friends or sell it.

      Conversely, I don't want to have to pay some ruthless ticketing company some percentage of the sale if I buy a ticket off someone who can no longer go to the show. The original purchaser paid what the promoter deemed the fair price, I'll pay roughly that. Why should they get more than they were prepared to accept initially when they aren't giving any more in retur

  • by Von Helmet (727753) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:26AM (#32809112)

    Ticket issuers Ticketmaster and Veritix tout paperless tickets as a way to eliminate worries about lost, stolen, or counterfeit tickets, and to banish long will-call lines.

    Note for the British English impaired - a tout is what you on the other side of the pond call a scalper.

    • by JustOK (667959)

      uh, no.

    • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:57AM (#32809438)

      Note for the British English impaired - a tout is what you on the other side of the pond call a scalper.

      True, but in the context you quote it actually means "to promote or praise energetically".

      </pedantic>

      • True, but in the context you quote it actually means "to promote or praise energetically".

        No shit, I never knew that.

        Note for the British English impaired - the above is sarcasm.

    • Ticket issuers Ticketmaster and Veritix tout paperless tickets as a way to eliminate worries about lost, stolen, or counterfeit tickets, and to banish long will-call lines.

      Note for the British English impaired - a tout is what you on the other side of the pond call a scalper.

      Soooo... "Ticketmaster scalps paperless tickets"? Umm... ever hear of a thing called "context"? It's what helps a person decide between various meanings of a word. (Which, in this case, means "promote" or "recommend"...) ;^)

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:20AM (#32809676)
      No, they're called "wankers."
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:26AM (#32809116) Journal

    Bought tickets to see the show in Seattle and Portland back in March but then got laid-off in April, and sent back home ~2000 miles away. I couldn't sell the tickets on ebay because they were tied to me (had to show ID and credit card to gain entrance). And I couldn't get a refund either.

    So basically I got screwed. I ended-up flying across the country rather than waste the tickets. Like downloading games, it takes away your right to resell the used product to someone else

    • by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:43AM (#32809270) Homepage

      There seem to be two solutions to such a problem :

      - A solution I've often found in concerts in Switzerland : (Secutix)
      the e-Ticket is simply a 2D-barcode (although it's not "paperless" because most people still print it instead of sending it to smartphones screens) it *is* tied to an identity.
      BUT
      to enter the concert you are only asked to have a valid barcode. the identity only comes into play if several people attempt to enter the concert using the same barcode (only the one with the matching ID is allowed in).
      That doesn't stop you from giving a ticket to a friend.
      But that throws distrust on scalper : How do you know the guy is selling you a legitimate ticket and not copying the same single barcode to several clients ? (in which case only the first one can get in before the system detects duplicates).

      These e-tickets don't remove your right to resell, but a resell can only happen between trusting friends.

      - A solution I've found in German Trains :
      the e-Ticket is tied to an identity, but it is not that complicate to refund it and invalidate the barcode, then buy a different ticket.

      You can't directly resell a ticket, but you won't lose the ticket.

      And the last solution :
      Most of those situations still have classic tickets for situations where the e-Ticket doesn't do the trick.

    • Stubhub will sell your electronic tickets, from what I understand (I've never used them, but checking their tutorials, they seem to allow for transfer of electronic tickets; it doesn't look to be all that straight forward, though.)
      • by Dredd13 (14750)

        They'll sell your E-Tickets (ie, when you get a PDF that you're supposed to print out as a ticket to bring with you) but with paperless tickets, there's nothing for you to give stubhub to use to sell the ticket. No barcode numbers, nothing.

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:54AM (#32809398) Homepage
      Seriously, when I started reading I thought the "Grandma Problem" was going to be, "My grandma died and I can't go to the concert". I think that what really has to change here is to make it so that scalpers can't get a large number of tickets. I'm not sure of the exact mechanism which could accomplish this, but it would solve most of the problems. Since all sales are made online, they could track things such as IP address, credit card numbers, shipping address, captchas and many other things to figure out if somebody is buying too many tickets, or using a computer to buy a lot of tickets. Probably not fool proof, but if they make it hard enough, it could really cut down on scalpers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by qwijibo (101731)

        The solution seems really simple:

        For those who want to purchase tickets for N specific people and can provide their names to associate with the tickets, sell them however many tickets they want.

        For people who want transferable tickets, limit each purchaser to a reasonable number of transferable tickets, like 5. Ticketmaster would probably make the transferable tickets another $5-10 more each. If you have 30 friends who need tickets, don't have names, and you can't come up with 5 other friends with credit

  • by Syberz (1170343) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:27AM (#32809120) Homepage

    Sure the paperless ticket will beat out scalpers, but it also screws over a bunch of people, not just Grandmas.

    Most people, at one point or another, will need to sell or give away a ticket to a show for a bunch of reasons: sickness, gift, won better seats, etc.

    With the e-ticket you're stuck. Perhaps offering a way to transfer the ticket (by calling the venue perhaps?) would help the people while still thwarting the mass buying/resale done by scalpers?

    • by garcia (6573)

      I only resort to TicketBastard as a last resort. I have seen many shows in the last two years and I never had to go through TicketBastard to get my tickets. Yeah, it's a bit of a pain in the ass to have to wait in line at the Will Call line (the last show I went to, at the end of June, the Will Call line was moving faster than the "I already have my TicketBastard ticket" line so YMMV) but at least I don't have to pay their crazy fees and put up with their bullshit.

      People, do your homework and see if you can

  • Without the ability to transfer virtual tickets, scalpers fear being run out of business...

    There. Fixed that for ya'. Ticket scalpers are but one rung above the bottom (undertakers, holding that spot) on the "scummy bottom-feeder" merchant food chain.

    • by jargonCCNA (531779) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:21AM (#32809690) Homepage Journal

      I can think of worse people than undertakers to describe as “scummy bottom-feeders”&hellip personal-injury lawyers who encourage people to sue their own elderly parents, just for one example. Undertakers provide a fairly valuable service—they work with death on a daily basis, so they can help the bereaved through what has to get done. Anyone who encourages someone to sue family for their own carelessness they need to be introduced to the business end of a hot poker.

  • How about making sure you want the ticket in the first place? If you're not buying tickets solely for the purpose of reselling, I don't see why transfer should be a major issue. Sure, accidents and similar can happen, and you're not able to use the ticket yourself, but that shouldn't be something that happens a lot.

    And it must be possible to buy a ticket in someone else's name (to be able to gift them), right?

    • Maybe you are buying the tickets as a gift to a friend. Maybe you were planning to go to the show, but something came up and now you have tickets you cannot use. Maybe your teenage daughter liked the act 6 months ago, but does not like it anymore and does not want to go to the show.

      People should be able to transfer any item they purchase. We should not become a society in which everything is rented.
  • by maddskillz (207500) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:33AM (#32809180)

    My grandma used to get me really ugly clothes for my birthdays. I don't feel too bad for a kid who can't get a concert ticket anymore

  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:37AM (#32809200)

    Is the perception by the concert organisers that there's action out there they ain't getting a piece of.

    They can't raise their ticket prices too high, or they won't sell enough to fill their venues, and face protests from their audiences. But they'd dearly love to be able to do what the scalpers do which is create a sub-segment of their audience who pays a greatly increased price for essentially the same service.

    The only idea they have so far is that if they drive the scalpers out of business... well, what? If they already set the ticket prices as high as they dare, the only effect they will achieve is to piss off a few rich people who will not get tickets where previously they could.

    You could view it as preparation for the next logical step - a Dutch auction. Non-transferable tickets would prevent scalpers from waiting for the latter stages of the auction where the tickets get cheaper to snap up a bargain. The Dutch auction means that all the seats in the house go for exactly the price that the market will bear, so they finally get the action they are craving.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I worked for the secondary brokers for two years and the ticket industry has a lot of problems. TicketMaster was a monopoly before they merged with live nation(who had gained a foothold in a lot of Latin-American venues). StubHub is the first large form of trading market for the industry(Still a secondary broker of course) and it gets to hold ~25% of the value of the ticket basically in escrow while a ticket is posted.

      Whether secondary brokers should be allowed to operate depends on how much you believe
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GigsVT (208848)

      The scalpers are helping them though.

      The ticket companies may not be able to fully exploit price discrimination, but the scalper is taking on the risk that he won't be able to sell all the tickets he buys. As an ad-hoc broker, he carries that inventory risk so that the organizers don't have to. It's really not much different from hotels selling reservation blocks to discount sites at very low prices and the discount sites eat the cost if they can't fill them up.

      If I were in the concert business, I'd be fi

    • by telso (924323) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:36AM (#32811722)
      Actually, Ticketmaster already has Dutch auctions [ticketmaster.com], or at least a seemingly well-designed variant (price doesn't go down, but you input a secret bid and multiple winners pay the same amount, with higher bids getting better seats in the section you bid on), as an option for a way for the event to sell its tickets (not for resellers). This obviously makes a lot of sense, as everyone can input their intrinsic "value" for how much a ticket is worth and those who value it most will win. Assuming perfect information (everyone knows about the auction when it happens (they can lengthen the time of it being open to make this work decently)) and no one's value changes (which clearly won't happen), you have a perfectly efficient market. Because both those conditions will not met, there will be room for resellers to try to make a profit, but for an event that sells out in the first day Ticketmaster would never be able to get any of the reseller market to begin with, so this is clearly the best way to go for events with much fewer seats than potential buyers.

      Another possibility is based on an idea a mathematician friend of mine heard at a conference. The speaker claimed that even with different classes, there is generally no way for airlines to make money if prices are fixed (if you raise the price high enough to break even, the plane won't be full). The solution is to change prices all the time, to get each passenger to pay as close to their intrinsic value as possible. People whose time is valuable will do one search, choose the cheapest flight (or even a more expensive yet more convenient one) and be done with it, while people whose time is less so will search and search, day after day, till they feel that given the inherent variability in the price that they would rather lock in now than risk paying (much) more (an expected value and/or gambling/insurance test). Those who want a guaranteed seat will book at whatever the going rate is, while those who will risk it may wait till the last minute. A Dutch auction would be preferable from the airline's perspective, but with multiple routes and multiple companies, you don't have the monopoly that venues do, making it much harder to do well.

      I'm not sure why more venues that already sell tickets through Ticketmaster don't use Dutch auctions (makes sense why non-online sales couldn't do it); my guess is venue promoters don't know about it, or are confused and scared of doing things and making money differently than they've done before (sounds like the RIAA).
  • by hawleyal (871947) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:38AM (#32809206)

    Man, you guys are just too used to Microsoft EULAs.

    All this talk of no sympathy for scalpers.

    Might as well add used book retailers, music traders, software peddlers, refurbished computer sellers.

    Just because it's easy to not like scalpers, you are trying to deny consumer choice.

    You're part of the problem, assholes.

  • The companys that comprise of the National Association of Ticket Brokers are worried about the consumers or themselves. I am sure this stops alot of them from buying up thousands of tickets and reselling them at double the price.

    The "Grandma Problem" ISN'T a problem anymore. Why not bind it to another number like your drivers license number? How about having a gift card with a magnetic strip? The kid punches in the number on the website to put his name in and he uses the gift card as authenticity at the

  • by digitalhermit (113459) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:38AM (#32809212) Homepage

    There were some reports that say that 30% - 50% of tickets were bought by brokers. They lock out fans from the best seats. They then resell those seats at a premium. Their excuse is that the open market will decide the price of the ticket. This logic falls down because the brokers artificially inflate the price of the seats that would normally go to the biggest fans.

    I don't mind paying a small premium, waiting in line, hovering over the phone to get a good seat -- and I have before -- but the brokers now make even those things impossible. Now it's $2,500 a ticket for some shows with tickets of $100 face value.

    • by bami (1376931)

      But it's a funny sight when the venue won't be sold out, and all the ticket scalpers are desperate and lowering their prices.

      I got in Muse at some concert, for about 25 euro for a seat (purchased it the evening before the concert), where as TicketNazi's want 52 euros + handling + whatever fees.

      The venue get their money, the scalper is ~30 euros out of pocket and I saw a great concert.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      My problem with this is that these scummy brokers make it hard to get seats when they open. They use automated scripts and any number of credit card numbers and ensure they hammer the vendor's servers as hard as possible. They do this because the Internet makes it so easy to do. While they're doing this of course I have to put up with timeouts, dropped connections and a general inability to get tickets.

      The Internet has already removed the thrill of waiting in line to get tickets. Perhaps if these ticketing

  • In theory... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:38AM (#32809214) Homepage

    An open market where consumers buy tickets and are free to sell them if they can't make it to the show is good for consumers.

    But a market where professionals buy tickets to sell at a profit does in no way make it better for consumers.

    But can't grandma be allowed to buy credits for her grandchild, who then uses said credits to buy a ticket in his/her own name?

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      But can't grandma be allowed to buy credits for her grandchild, who then uses said credits to buy a ticket in his/her own name?

      Maybe do this, and make it a pain in the ^$&@ to transfer the ticket(s). One person transferring 4 tickets to another person might have to waste two hours online with a website that is purposefully slow, but that prevents big-business scalping (unless they find it profitable still to open offshore call centers to do the ticket transfers. "I diligently multitasked and transferred 36 tickets today, surely I will get the raise now."

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:38AM (#32809216) Homepage

    This is like buying a car in order to drive to a Miley Cyrus show where she jumps around in hot pants, but then being unable to sell it afterwards.

    No, wait... that's a bad analogy. It's like renting a car to watch Miley Cyrus jiggling around in a crop top, but then... uh... maybe it's like buying a tank of gas to go and watch her writhing around glistening with sweat...

    Wait - what are we talking about again?

  • Who's grandma is so cool as to buy Metallica tickets?
    • The kind that calls up her grandchild's parents a few weeks before his birthday and says, "Remind me, what is the name of that band on all of his T-shirts? You know what I mean, metal something or other?" Really, this is not at all unheard of -- my grandma used to ask my mom what I wanted for my birthday all the time when I was a kid.
  • If the second-hand ticket industry is really that valuable to users, one of two things will happen:

    - People will not buy tickets that they can't sell second-hand if they think that it's likely they will need to do so.
    - People who sell those tickets will raise their prices to compensate for the scarcity.

    Given the sheer number of ticket-resellers in London's West End, I can't really think that this is a bad thing. Either the theatres and other gigs will put them out of business, so I won't get harangued and

  • Empty seats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:41AM (#32809246)
    With virtual tickets, concerts will end up with a certain amount of empty seats as people's plans change or they become sick and can not give the tickets to a friend. Empty seats are a sign of a bad concert, as anyone knows. Of course they'll soon realize that an old airline trick will fix that with a bonus: oversell concerts, and tell the overflow they're on "standby" until the next concert. Full seats and extra money!
  • Seriously.

    When I was a student at PSU, you could buy student season football tickets and sell ONE TICKET to a big game and pay back the whole season plus a healthy profit. You needed to show student ID to get in, but that wouldn't stop some rich alumna. Senior year they switched to some dumb system where you had to wait in line with whatever student you wanted to give the ticket to, only on Tuesday and Thursday, and only from like 10-3 minus a lunch break.

    Assholes.

  • Four months ago, kdawson put the opposite story on the front page:
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/03/02/0135238/Scalpers-Earned-25M-Gaming-Online-Ticket-Sellers [slashdot.org]

    So, basically, the resellers were making money by reselling tickets that they bought via hacking of the reservation system.
    And now, you'd like to preserve the current flawed system ?

    Suggestion:
    Allow the system to reimburse the tickets (minus 5-10% of the original price, for example), and all the problems are solved.

    This system works fine with train

  • Right... (Score:5, Funny)

    by spamuell (1208984) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:43AM (#32809274)
    ...says Gary Adler, a Washington attorney who represents the National Association of Ticket Brokers. 'An open market is really best for consumers.'

    Yeah, and an unguarded forest is much safer for little girls delivering food to their sick grandmothers, says the attorney representing the National Association of Transvestic Wolves.
  • If you're getting a reserved seat for a Metallica concert.. then someone is doing something wrong.

  • Profiteers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TexVex (669445) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:45AM (#32809296)


    'People should be free to give away or sell their tickets to whomever they want, whenever they want,' says Gary Adler, a Washington attorney who represents the National Association of Ticket Brokers. 'An open market is really best for consumers.' This is such a huge conundrum.

    An open market is a great idea when built around the basic assumption that all the traders in it are potential consumers of the things being traded. But when entities whose sole motivation is profit enter the market, the game changes. The small consumers get screwed because the huge profiteers buy up enormous quantities of commodities and proceed to engage in arbitrage for the sole purpose of turning a profit.

    Money goes to money. Wealthy 'investors' buy something up, creating scarcity, driving up the prices, then re-sell for a profit. Profiteering is the problem.

    What needs to happen is the venues need to sell their tickets at auction, instead of setting a price based on what they think the tickets are worth. This would let them make most of the money, because the first-sale price would more closely match the actual value of the tickets, and such a system would be much more fair for everyone from the big resellers to the individual consumer.
  • Any reasons grandma can't just transfer the cash for the ticket?

  • by q2k (67077) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:46AM (#32809306) Homepage

    From a purely technical standpoint, allowing the buyer to log in and change the owner of the ticket would be trivial. Upon the change, the system sends a new password to the new email address, and that person must log in and add a credit card number that will be used for verification at the venue. Paperless tickets exist for only one reason. Ticketmaster wants to capture the value in increased demand by raising prices instead of seeing it go to the middlemen.

  • Concert:

    You drink, you jump around (call it dancing if you want), you drink some more and dance some more and drink some and dance some. Worse even at festivals where you also sit down in random places, and (not uncommonly) even sleep at random places.

    The more you bring to the concert, the more you can lose. I bet not a single concert ends without someone losing a wallet. The more was in that wallet, the bigger the consequences for its owner.

    I never take a credit card to such a concert/festival. I only brin

  • Whose grandmother is buying them concert tickets to Sevendust or Sean Paul?

    Can we trade grandmas?

    Mine just buys me socks

  • Now, everybody knows that Ticketmaster is evil, ruthless, money-grubbing, and generally a suppurating pustule on the face of live music and events. It would be totally in character to tie tickets to purchases to "protect consumers from those evil scalpers"(and themselves from the horrors of the secondary market...)

    However, making it impossible to purchase tickets for somebody else is just leaving money on the table. It seems like it would be absurdly trivial to have a system where the customer/hapless su
  • I think the following options might help:
    1. An option for gift certificate solving the "grandma problem". Just buy a certificate for e.g. $100 at MyTicketService.com (or similar), which I bet they already can do.
    2. Buy-back. The ticket services should buy back for 90% of price within 3 days before concerts, 50% 2 days before, and 40% the day before. This way they would also be able to counterfeit the black market.

    I don't care about people trying to sell tickets for profit. They just destroy for us all when

  • I agree, but it's typically worst for sellers.

    Given the environment of the near monopoly that Live Nation // Ticketmaster has over venues and artists combined with the desire of artists to underprice their tickets I fear it'll be a while before we see any substantive change.

    I'd check out this new yorker article (subscription required) [newyorker.com] for a good review of the poor economic situation.
  • The grandma problem only happens because they are doing it completely wrong. Yeah, i can imagine the evil need to restrict like this, but it's not requirement of "paperless" tickets.

    Ultimately they are selling only access to the event (and seat), and this ought not to be restricted by any means, and it's just extra that you need to show CC & photo ID to use that ticket, it's not an requirement.

    I work as IT Consultant for a modern ticketing service provider ( http://axs.fi/ [axs.fi] ), and we don't need any such.

  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@nOsPAm.keirstead.org> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:57AM (#32809434) Homepage

    I am sick and tired of people making a big deal about scalping.

    Isn't scalping basically the epitome of free market capitalism?

    If I buy 10 of the new Xbox 360 from the local Walmart where there are lots, and sell them on eBay for a profit, is that "scalping" 360s ?

    When Exxon drills oil in the middle east and sells it to Europe for a profit where there is none, is that "scalping" oil?

    "Scalping" is just taking a gamble, buying something that you think will be in demand (tickets), and re-selling for a (hopefully) profit. There is plenty of potential to lose money for scalpers buying tickets to things and them going unsold, this happens all the time.

    What is wrong with this? If you wanted your damn tickets, you should have waited in line like everyone else.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      Sadly, yes. That is exactly how the 'free market' works.

      And if people would just stop buying from scalpers, they wouldn't be such a problem. Just like spam wouldn't be a problem if people would stop buying from spammers.

    • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:38AM (#32809932)

      You're really just pointing out one of the problems with so-called free market capitalism. The much touted advantage of capitalism is that market competition drives down prices, which increases utility to the consumer. But it doesn't work so well, as in the cases you suggested, where there is a limited supply of non-fungible goods.

      Exxon provides value by moving the oil from one place to another where it is more useful. In your example, if Xbox 360s are in short supply in one part of the country but plentiful in your local Walmart, you are providing value by moving the goods to where they are needed. If you are selling them on to locals, the value you are providing is that some people can translate a higher price into getting their Xbox earlier than if they'd had to wait for new stock - an Xbox now is worth more than an Xbox in the future. This is only really true if the demand outstrips the supply - if the demand and supply are similar, then you're just hoarding Xboxes for profit. But the supply chain for Xboxes is such that you can be reasonably sure that some more will be along soon.

      In the case of concert tickets, there is no value to geographic translocation (the concert is in a fixed venue), or early acquisition (the concert is at a fixed time). The value the scalper is providing is that you don't have to queue to get your ticket, and you have a higher probability of getting a ticket because fewer people want to pay their higher price.

      The problem being that the scalper is part of the reason they provide value ; they quickly buy up large quantities of tickets from the vendor, which artificially increases the scarcity of the goods. That isn't free-market capitalism, because they are distorting their market. If the organizer did their sums right, they should have enough seats for everyone willing to pay their stated ticket price. I'm not saying they do ... but in this case, the scalper is the reason for their own existence - the reason you're willing to pay the scalpers prices for a ticket is because the scalpers have bought them instead of you. They're not adding value and making a fat buck doing it and that annoys people. It's rent-seeking behaviour - they are profiting from the mere ownership of those tickets for a while.

      If concert goers didn't have to pay their inflated prices, they'd have more disposable income remaining and organizers might put on more dates in bigger venues to capture that, resulting in money going toward what people actually want, which is live music performances.

  • So here's a possibility for scalpers (or anyone) to get around this. Buy a prepaid debit card for the amount of the ticket purchase, use that to purchase the tickets, and then give the prepaid card (which has no value anymore) to whoever you want to get the tickets. That will mostly solve the problem for scalpers. The only gotcha left will be that they'll need to resell them in the exact batch sizes that they bought them (so they can't buy 6 tickets and sell them 3+3).

    I really wish there were a way to screw

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