Freakonomics: Why Is the Live-Event Ticket Market So Screwed Up?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by slybird, Dec 7, 2017.


  1. DRS

    DRS Member

    Messages:
    8,998
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    British Columbia
    slybird likes this.
  2. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,891
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    The function of the ticket industry is to maximize the profits of ticket sales while minimizing the risk. I'm not seeing anything screwed up there.
     
    CGrisamore, Thedude99 and slybird like this.
  3. ZeyerGTR

    ZeyerGTR Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,218
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    The money quote, imho:
    On one hand, it's the the service fees are what really irk me. I don't know where that $20 fee to buy a $60 ticket goes, nor why I need to pay $7 just to print the ticket out at home. I suppose it just makes me more likely to purchase than if it were $87 up front with no fees. There's ultimately an upper limit I'm willing to pay for any given show, so really I look at the bottom line/total cost anyways. I've not bought tickets because the service fee pushed it over my limit, and then I went to StubHub and found the essentially the same seats cheaper. I suppose the system works...

    On the other hand, there are an awful lot of great shows to go to in the $35 and under range, so I'm not lacking for live concerts. When artists price themselves out of my personal budget I just don't go, so be it. Everyone has a different bar and that's fine.
     
    bildo and slybird like this.
  4. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,891
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    When was the last time you drove down to the venue box office to pick up your tickets? How much is that convenience worth to you?
     
  5. ZeyerGTR

    ZeyerGTR Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,218
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    After reading the article, it sounds like they're mostly saying it's screwed up because of the prominent role of scalpers, not the price. The argument seems to be that tickets are underpriced, which, along with technology, opens the door for scalpers to come in and resell tickets at market value. The "underpriced" notion seems kind of odd given how expensive good seats seem to me, but I totally get that there are a lot of other people are willing to pay it so more power to 'em.
     
    slybird likes this.
  6. ZeyerGTR

    ZeyerGTR Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,218
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I used to get physical tickets mailed to me for much less, usually about two bucks. I've also printed out tickets at home for many years for free (or rolled into a much smaller service charge). The "print ticket at home" fee is a new one, I haven't seen it until this year. My recent experience buying a Dead & Co ticket:

    Direct from Amway Center (through LiveNation or whoever their affiliate was):
    $78 ticket
    $22 service fee
    $7 printing fee

    Same seat from StubHub
    $85 ticket
    $10 service fee

    Like I said, I suppose the system worked, at least I had another option. Ultimately I got what I wanted at the price I was comfortable with. The "print at home" fee just irked me because it was a new fee, on TOP of the high service charge, and the same service used to be the cheap & free option (compared to having a ticket mailed).

    And again, the gist of the article wasn't really that "tickets are too expensive."
     
  7. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,891
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    When the tickets stop selling out at the high prices, the prices will come down. Until then, they'll go up until they take too long to sell.
     
  8. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,891
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    Ticketbrokers decided a while back rather than then say "Here's the price", they'd wait to tell you about "fees", and then that they'd break the fees down into line items. The theory was this would make it go down easier. Personally, I'd prefer they just said up front: this seat is $75, instead of $50+$25 in "fees". I don't give a **** what slice goes to what cost center: to me the question is "Am I willing to pay $75 for that seat?"
     
    bildo likes this.
  9. stevel

    stevel Member

    Messages:
    12,914
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Location:
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    The only thing you can do is vote with your wallet. Don't go. Don't support this. But alas, enough will, and they'll still get away with it.
     
    Heinz57Pep, adorduan and spakuloid like this.
  10. Omega

    Omega Member

    Messages:
    1,699
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    What exactly are these fees for, anyway?
     
  11. ChazFromCali

    ChazFromCali Member

    Messages:
    2,804
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Because it's not on the blockchain. Once it is it will be a lot more fair/honest/profitable for the artists rather than middlemen and speculators.
     
    JoeB63 likes this.
  12. pluffmudpi

    pluffmudpi Member

    Messages:
    92
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2017
    That's spot on. If tickets were priced at the exactly correct economic price point, then there would be no arbitrage opportunity for scalpers to exploit, and they would not have the economic incentive to invest in the tools that allow them to grab up the tickets they currently do.

    It kind of puts the higher demand artists in a tight spot though because they would either need to significantly increase supply (the number of shows they play) or be labeled as greedy by pricing the tickets at a point where there is no opportunity for resale profit.

    It's a thorny issue with no easy solutions, because even the commonly used techniques like two ticket limits or tying tickets to specific IDs can be very unfair to normal buyers who have a family of four who wants to go and sit together or who may buy tickets almost a year in advance then can't go but aren't allowed to give or sell them to a friend or relative.

    The practice that bugs me the most that I've heard of is the promoter/artist making tix available straight to scalpers then taking a cut of the profits.
     
    Thedude99 likes this.
  13. Not Through Yet

    Not Through Yet Member

    Messages:
    998
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Of course you don’t, a rigid economic rationalist world view makes everything so easy to understand.
     
  14. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,891
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    Certainly when money is being exchanged.

    Again—maybe there was a downside to no longer paying for recorded music?
     
    Thedude99 likes this.
  15. sws1

    sws1 Member

    Messages:
    8,509
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Jersey Shore
    While it's unfortunate that tickets become real expensive for those like me that want to go to more shows, I for one, believe the distribution of the money chain is relatively correct. Becoming a massively popular artist who can fill out arenas is about FAR more than just writing good songs. There is a massive amount of business expertise required, risk taken, leveraging of the assets by people/companies that have invested millions in distribution chains, tickets sites, etc. To say that no matter how the industry and their career evolves, most of the money should keep going back to the artist even thought they STILL have done nothing more than write those initial songs is crazy.

    As a analogy, it's like saying that Cisco Systems who invented the first internet router should get most of the money spent on the internet because they started it and it was THEIR box that initially causes all the excitement. B.S. Companies go out of business because they fail to realize all the other stuff happening around them and eventually become irrelevant. Artists are no different. If they want a bigger piece of the pie, then they need to take on ownership and/or risk related to all these ancillary markets. Not just sit there and cry "Woah is me...everyone is finding ways to make money off me." The most successful ones will find ways to think of themselves as a "business that needs/wants to survive" and not just as the inventor.
     
  16. Thedude99

    Thedude99 Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2015
    The artists could resolve this today if they wanted. If they were to start selling tickets at market value instead of well below, the secondary market via brokers would evaporate.

    Of course, it would paint the artists as bad folk - gouging their audience. Lots of artists profit off the secondary market to avoid the bad PR
     
    spakuloid likes this.
  17. killer blues

    killer blues Member

    Messages:
    1,790
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Location:
    East of Philly
  18. Thedude99

    Thedude99 Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2015
    On fees - It’s the old psychological trick of making things appear cheaper than they are. The buyer sees a lower price, makes the decision to purchase then, and once presented with the total price has already made the decision and goes ahead. Where as if you presented the higher price up front, it can interfere with that initial decision to purchase.
     
    ZeyerGTR likes this.
  19. mannish

    mannish Member

    Messages:
    9,350
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    I got grand daughter tickets to lion king broadway play and the only option is will call. I think that is to thwart scalpers ?? tickets were pretty expensive then that added the fees...gee whiz ridiculous

    i got 2nd row seats for John Hiatt/Sonny Landreth in Germantown, Tn and they use their own ticket system which did not add much fees. 57.00 for 2nd row to JH/SL is a good deal in relation to other shows.

    I hate the service fee
     

Share This Page