Artists who have tried to fight back against bots and scalpers
It's an uphill battle against the massive ticket resale industry
Fans aren't alone in their frustration with the massive ticket resale industry.
Some big-name artists have tried in their own ways to fight back against scalpers and the software bots that snatch up prime seats and resell them at often astronomical prices.
Tickets for Adele's 2016 tour sold out in minutes, with 10 million people in the U.S. alone rushing online. Resellers snatched up many of those tickets and posted them for up to $5,000 on sites like StubHub. Adele's team had tried to combat the problem by partnering with SongKick — an independent ticket site — to allocate a percentage of face-value tickets for fans. Reps also went through lists of buyers and refunded those who purchased tickets in large numbers.
Singer/songwriter Miley Cyrus has taken the "paperless" approach to try to prevent scalping. The system requires ticket buyers to show credit cards and ID to get into concerts.
In what was considered a first for the music industry, singer Tom Petty cancelled up to 460 tickets sold on Ticketmaster for his June 2006 show with Pearl Jam at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and resold them to fan club members who were then required to bring ID to the concert. The move was prompted by complaints that advanced tickets to the show appeared on resale websites immediately after their release.
Comedian Louis C.K. has taken a tough stance against scalping for many years, fiercely maintaining an average ticket price of $50 for his sold-out performances. Representatives for the star invalidate tickets sold on sites like StubHub and Vivid Seats, and in 2012, he even went so far as to only sell tickets on his own website, bypassing Ticketmaster completely.
According to the Wall Street Journal, StubHub, TicketNetwork and Vivid Seats were selling tickets for Bruce Springsteen's 2016 tour before they even went on sale — some for as high as $5,800 or $24,000 for a luxury box.
In 2009, two Canadian law firms launched a class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster for allegedly "conspiring" to divert fans to its own resale site, TicketsNow. Springsteen said he and the band were "furious" that tickets had been marked up by hundreds of dollars on TicketsNow. Ticketmaster didn't admit liability but settled the suit for $36 per ticket.
Country musician Eric Church was angered when scalpers started joining his website and fan club to purchase large quantities of exclusive seats in the pit and front row of his shows. Church's reps now closely monitor the origin of sales and cancel the memberships of known scalpers.
Actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, musical creator of the Broadway smash Hamilton, worked with Senator Charles Schumer earlier this year to develop the Better Online Ticket Sales Act, or BOTS, with the aim of reducing the number of tickets purchased by resellers using automated software. Miranda became involved in the issue after seeing tickets for Hamilton being resold for up to $2,000 online. If passed, offenders could face fines of $16,000 per ticket.
Neil Diamond has tried the, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach. In 2008, around 100 tickets for Diamond's concert at Madison Square Garden in New York were posted on Ticketmaster's TM+, a fan-to-fan resale venture. It was later discovered Diamond posted the tickets himself in order to gain some of the revenue that typically goes to scalpers who inflate prices.