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Ticketmaster accused of teaming up with scalpers to screw over fans

Fun fact: This is what concert tickets looked like in a pre-smartphone era.
Photo: The Washington Post (Getty Images)

Recognizing, at long last, that their various differences shouldn’t get in the way of the shared practices that bind them so beautifully together—i.e., inflating concert prices to fuck the rest of us over when we just want to see Bruno Goddamn Mars—Ticketmaster has now been accused of entering into tacit partnerships with ticket resellers (a.k.a. scalpers) in order to double up on their beloved fees.

This comes from the CBC, which recently sent undercover reporters to Las Vegas to attend Ticket Summit 2018, where representatives from the company touted their TradeDesk program for authorized re-selling of tickets. In fact, company reps were so eager to get scalpers using the program—which applies Ticketmaster fees to any of those secondary market transactions—that they assured potential users that any violations of the company’s own policies would be happily ignored. “I have brokers that have literally a couple of hundred accounts,” one sales representative said, flouting one of the company’s user policies. “It’s not something that we look at or report.” Or, when asked about resellers using bots to snap up tickets the second they come on the market, another hypothetically punishable offense: “We don’t share reports, we don’t share names, we don’t share account information with the primary site. Period.” Or when asked if the company was going to ban resellers who intentionally got around ticket limits: “We’ve spent millions of dollars on this tool. The last thing we’d want to do is get brokers caught up to where they can’t sell inventory with us. We’re not trying to build a better mousetrap.” 


The subtext here is pretty clear: As long as Ticketmaster can wet its beak, all of its old objections to ticket re-selling dry up in an instant. The company admitted as much in a statement accompanying the story, although it tried to dress the attitude up in some old-school “we’re protecting the consumer” noblesse oblige:

As long as there is an imbalance between supply and demand in live event tickets, there will inevitably be a secondary market. As the world’s leading ticketing platform, representing thousands of teams, artists and venues, we believe it is our job to offer a marketplace that provides a safe and fair place for fans to shop, buy and sell tickets in both the primary and secondary markets.

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