Ticket scalping frustrates artists and fans

Large-scale buying of tickets drives the price up and limits the number of seats for fans.

by Brooke Bovee

You walk into a concert with all your friends, excited to see your favorite artist perform. You get to your seats and find that someone is already sitting in them, but you aren’t worried, because your ticket has that seat number. Instead, you realize both tickets have the exact same seat and row number. This happens because of ticket fraud.

In this day and age, technology makes it easy for us to purchase tickets. There are multiple ways in Minnesota to get tickets to see your favorite artist perform live in concert. You can buy through scalpers standing outside the venues, or websites such as TicketMaster, StubHub, or an artist’s fan club website. Websites like Ticketmaster allow a person to print off as many copies of a ticket as they want. This means that they could sell as many copies of the same ticket as they want.

According to a recent Star Tribune article, country artist Eric Church canceled 902 tickets for his concert last April because scalpers purchased them in violation of the concert’s sales limit. Church argues that when scalpers purchase 400 to 500 tickets under a fake identity and inflate the ticket price, it should be considered a criminal activity. With scalpers, some of an artist’s most loyal fans have trouble getting tickets for a reasonable price.

Although you may have to pay a fee to become a member of an artist’s fan club, it may be worth the guarantee of a seat in a concert by having an actual ticket mailed to you or by having to pick it up at will-call instead of printing it out. Becoming a member of a fan club such as the “Church Choir” for Eric Church can provide you with access to pre-sale tickets before the general public has access to them. Buying directly from the artist’s website would result in a more reasonable price than buying from scalpers that have inflated the price.

Minnesota held a firm no-scalping law until 2007. But recently, entertainers like Church have had to come up with aggressive strategies in order to prevent ticket scalping, even resorting to canceling tickets.

The main focus is on preventing the resale of electronic tickets and other non-transferrable tickets. To gain admission to an event, you must present the credit card used to purchase the tickets along with a photo ID.

When you buy a ticket, it’s yours and you should be able to do what you want with it. You should be able to give it to a friend or sell it — at a reasonable cost — if you can’t go. However, something should be done to address the problem with businesses, scalpers and opportunists taking advantage of the public.

Acquiring hundreds of tickets just to sell them later at absurd prices is wrong and should be addressed.