Q

Tragically Hip fans vs. cold hard capitalism

Ticket resellers are nothing new — but in light of Gord Downie's incurable cancer, Tragically Hip fans are furious and devastated by the scalpers' advantage.
Online ticket resellers are nothing new — but in light of Gord Downie's incurable cancer, Tragically Hip fans are furious and devastated by the scalpers' advantage. (Canadian Press)

Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer. The news has left legions of fans reeling, and clamouring to secure tickets to the band's upcoming tour. 

Pre-sale tickets disappeared in a flash — many bought out by scalper bots, and put up at a premium on resale sites like StubHub — intensifying the clash between fandom and the free market. 

In the lead up to Friday's general ticket sales, Shad checks in with music journalist Alan Cross, who says there's no doubt that regular fans are being gouged. "They're keeping the tickets away from the fans." His first thought about ticket sales? "This is going to be a fiasco." 

Plus, philosopher Joseph Heath plays devil's advocate. "Who says regular fans aren't rich?" argues Heath, detailing a confluence of factors that make live music a uniquely scarce commodity. Whether fans are forced to line up for days or fork over more cash, Heath says the demand still comes from people who care. "There aren't going to be bots at the show." 

q: Do you think it's morally wrong for resellers to be profiting on this tour? Should scalpers be ashamed of themselves, or is there really no fair way of rationing out something so scarce?

WEB EXTRA | You may have noticed the pointed lyrics in the track we spun post interview. Watch the Tragically Hip's video for Grace, Too. "The secret rules of engagement are hard to endorse."

AUDIENCE LETTERS | We certainly heard from you on this one. Shad and q web producer Fabiola Carletti read some of your letters. 

Your letters: reaction to tragically hip vs. cold hard capitalism

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