Friday, April 25, 2008


I hate Ticketmaster. Their "system" to discourage scalpers from getting all the good seats has pretty much turned into a huge moneymaking venture for TM itself. Once you get into their ticket-buying page, you have to type in a two-word "security check", which slightly slows down those of us who just want two decent tickets, but it doesn't appear to stop the scalpers.

My sister, Betty, said that once you actually buy tickets, you get an option to immediately sell them on Ticketmaster's Thievery TicketExchange site. As you might imagine, these tickets aren't resold at face value; they're jacked up, especially any in the front sections of the arena. Tickets in those sections start at $260 (face value is $120 plus TicketMaster's "convenience charge" of $18+ for each ticket) and go up to $449. (They're just as bad, or worse, on ebay.)

This is how TM "protects" the ticket-buying masses. This way you can be sure that you're buying a genuine ticket instead of a counterfeit one, since they hold the tickets and send them to the poor sap tired, crazed fan person who buys them.

The American Express Gold Card presale for Neil Diamond went on sale last Friday. Betty is a die-hard ND fan; once before she, Joan, and I had tickets, but not great ones, (they turned out to be pretty great for Joan and me, though), so the day or two before the concert, Betty went on ebay and bought a front-row ticket. Joan and I were to the side of the stage but on a higher level, and we had a good view of the band, the stage, and Betty. We so enjoyed watching her enjoy the show!

So, back to my story before my lunch gets cold: Tom has a Gold Card and graciously donated it for the cause. I informed my boss that I was going to take about half an hour of personal leave (she laughed) to try to buy tickets. I spent 45 minutes trying to find something decent, but nothing came up that I was willing to buy. I finally gave up out of frustration and hunger. The only sections that were selling that I ever saw were across the stadium.

However. TicketExchange was already showing tickets in the front sections, for the prices listed above. How did they do that? I'm a fast, accurate typist; I mistyped the security words twice in 45 minutes. Many times I got a page that says, sorry, no tickets available. So, here I am with a very fast internet connection and a decent computer, and I couldn't get a ticket anywhere near the stage.

We both tried throughout the last week, but only those far-away sections were available.

Have you seen the commercials for American Express, bragging how they got tickets to a sold-out concert? Lies. Tom called AmEx and asked about their tickets for the ND show. They gave him a number to call, and guess what? That person told him that TM handles that; they have nothing to say about where the tickets are. He told her that the seats were crap and they should be ashamed to put their name on the presale. She wasn't any help.

So this morning was the start of the ND fanclub presale. Betty, after nearly having a stroke when nothing decent showed up in the first ten minutes, finally got two tickets in the back of section 2, which is center in front of the stage.

You know, we'd boycott TM if there was any other way to get tickets to the shows we want to see. But they're the only game in town at most large venues, so we're stuck.

So we buy tickets and gripe about TicketThievery and go to the concerts anyway.


Antevasin said...

My daughter went to a supposedly reputable ticket agent online and paid $400. last week for two tickets to see Stone Temple Pilots (her hubby's fav). She sent a message to STP on myspace saying how happy her hubby is to have tix to their concert in a couple of weeks in Reno. Their manager responded and said they didn't even have a booking for the dates and town she mentioned. WHAT!?!??! She managed to get Visa to refund her money back to their account and the website she bought the tix from has been shut down. So, instead she got tix from TM to see John Maher (Mayer? can't remember) and Colbie Caillet. Neil Diamond puts on an awesome show though and sells out everytime!!!!

Anonymous said...

you should write a story about this on ticketnews(dot)com I wrote a similar one and posted it it got thousand or reads from the entertainment industry

Kevin said...

Great story! I found these articles last week about Radiohead tickets on Ticketmaster. I thought you would be interested.

Ticketmaster scalps Radiohead tickets

TicketsNow: inventory is from brokers not TM

Anonymous said...

Betty says....

There are a lot of people who are mad at Ticketmaster today! The fan club presale started at 10, and for the first ten minutes, as you said, all I got was the message that "no tickets are available for your request." My request was any section, any price, just to see what was available. AND, I also got the message that I should go to TicketsNow and check out their "premium seats" that are for sale. From what I've heard, Ticketmaster now holds some good seats from their regular sale and puts them right on TicketsNow, at a premium price. Then, like you said, if you are lucky enough to actually get tickets, they ask you right away if you'd like to resell them on TicketsNow.

All I wanted was decent tickets to see Neil Diamond, and we got those, so I'll be happy and try not to think about Ticketmaster, because that makes my blood pressure go way up. They seem to have quite a scam going on now. It used to be a fun challenge to get decent concert it's very, very frustrating. And, I assume it's legal, or I guess they'd be shut down.

Antevasin, that's awful about your daughter being scammed by the scalper...I'm glad she was able to get a refund.

Concerts are so much fun...why do they have to make it so difficult??

But, hey, we're going to see Neil Diamond! :)

Anonymous said...

Betty says....

So does Ticketmaster now own both TicketExchange AND TicketsNow??
It's TicketExchange that you are directed to when you get the message that tickets aren't available, but someone else said that they were also directed to TicketsNow when they couldn't get regular tickets. I read the links that Kevin posted....very interesting. No wonder it's so hard to get decent concert tickets at face value any more. Ticketmaster is trying to keep out the other scalpers and then they scalp the tickets themselves!

rita said...

Wow--what a scam!!! Deedee, I'm so glad your daughter was able to get her money back. What a good thing it was that she messaged STP, and how good it was that their manager told her what was going on.

Who is "anonymous" right under Deedee's comment? But it's good advice; when I get a chance, I'll post this same story to that site.

Thanks, Kevin, for the sites; I'll definitely read them.

So, maybe enough people are mad at TM and associated sites that they'll have to come clean. My hope it that artists will refuse to do business with any venue that uses TM. I'd love to see TM shut down. The John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA, uses another ticket agent. Maybe other venues will start doing that.

And yes, we're going to see Neil Diamond, even if it is from row U or somewhere back there! He always puts on an excellent show; you wouldn't know that he's what, 67? He still has a really nice butt.

Anonymous said...

TicketNews reports that brokers are gathering to discuss the Ticketmaster/TicketsNow merge.

Now, Ticketmaster is going to make it IMPOSSIBLE for us to obtain tickets.

Read the article here.

Sarina said...

Great video! This is why we cannot get tickets.

Watch the Video

TheBuz said...

Ticketmaster/TicketsNow meeting analysis - CEO admits artists are reselling their own tickets! If you would like to read the full article here is the link:

Rachel said...

Ticketmaster believes it has positioned itself to weather the loss of Live Nation's business. Get the full article: