On Wednesday 12/12/12, the music community bands together to raise money and continued awareness for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The promoters for this concert, which will be televised on TV and on the internet, also sold 13,500 tickets to the live show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tickets ranged in price from $150 to $2500, and were completely sold out in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately scalpers bought most of the seats.
While thousands of fans were online trying to get through the annoying-as-hell Ticketmaster site, and waiting, waiting…a startling number of tickets were showing up on StubHub, at ridiculously inflated prices. While StubHub is donating their commission fees for this charity event, the fact is that as of Friday they have donated over $500,000. That number tells you just how much this event is making on the secondary market where most of the money is not going to charity. New York Senator Charles Schumer, never one to stay out of the limelight when the story involves celebrities, called for ticket scalpers to donate their profits to the charity. Yeah right. Grandstanding aside, you really start to wonder about these delusions he is experiencing.
The idea that the promoters, film producer Harvey Weinstein, John Sykes of Clear Channel and James Dolan of both Cablevision and MSG, could not have known this event would be a scalper’s paradise is ludicrous. It would be impossible not to realize the tickets would sell out in minutes, and the secondary feeding frenzy would create an unending river of media interest (file under: there’s no such thing as bad publicity).
While center stage orchestra seats had a face value of $2500, there were at least several of those seats selling for $60,000 on the secondary market. Now I’ve seen countless phenomenal live shows, but unless Jimi Hendrix is gonna show up alongside John, Paul, George and Ringo, with Elvis coming in for the encore, $60K seems a bit pricey.
If the powers that be who are running this show wanted to keep the tickets in the hands of the fans and cut out the scalpers for the majority of the sales, they should have implemented a Paperless Ticket system for the show. Buy your ticket online, go to the show with a photo ID and the credit card used to purchase, and you get in. Simple, and not as time consuming as you would think.
Things are not likely to change any time soon. Not when the music industry including many of the artists, are in bed with the major ticket sellers, with each getting a nice cut of the profits. At some point though, ticketing will go paperless. Of course then Ticketmaster or whoever, will charge even more processing fees…for doing less. And scalpers will be determined to beat the paperless system too. For the most part, the fan always loses…except this time. For a price tag of absolutely nothing, we get to watch it live on our big screen TVs, right in our living rooms. Fridge and bathrooms a few feet away. Just keep your credit card handy. While the entertainment is free, it is a benefit designed to raise money. For a charity. No scalping involved.