Scalp ‘Em

Phish returned last weekend with three sold-out shows at Hampton Coliseum. More power to ’em. I wasn’t there. Kinda wish I was, since I had a life changing experience there in 1988 (that’s another story…), and I’ve always appreciated Phish. (though their fans can be a bit much…)

The New York Times had a nice column on the shows. One thing noted in the piece was the fact that few, if any, of the attendees paid face-value for their tickets.

There are laws against this, right? If reports are accurate, scalpers made 10-20 times more on the shows than Phish themselves, and their fans gladly paid the price. What kind of mafia bullshit is the ticket industry? Why can’t this be stopped?


22 Responses to “Scalp ‘Em”

  1. Smart people/kids writting programs to do massive online buys which the tix sellers may not condone but what do they care. Thier business is selling tixs and they sold tixs. And I ‘m sure Phish and (because he broke them in the state he gets a small taste) Coran, while bemoaning the state of afairs, still made out. The deal is made for the tour befor tix even go on sale. The only money exchanged at the show is the merch money ( 8.50 to 10.00 per head potental merch sales for a Phish show. 8.50x 17,500= $148,750.00 per show/ 500,000 in merch sales potental)and day of show expenses. I learned long ago that the money wasn’t at the gate, its at the merch table. I could be wrong on the #’s though, my knowlege is very old at this point. So, do we shoot the scalper or the merch guy? What about the 200 strong drug task force that Phish had to pick up the tab on. I wonder if ol’ Jerry ever paid for the cops to patrol the lot?

  2. I forgot to include “Who’s ripping off whom?” in there some where.

  3. cripsyduck Says:

    The Dead caught hell from Ticketmaster when they continued to use their in-house mail-order, but they managed to keep the tix out of the hands of scalpers to a large degree. (Not perfect at all, but better than this shit. People paid $500-1500 for $50 seats!)

    There’s gotta be a way to enforce anti-scalping. I suspect official collusion with shady sellers and scalpers. There’s something super-sketchy going on.

  4. If I remember The Dead’s tix were by mail not by a web portal. I think there are limits on # of tix per transaction(4 per purchase) over the web as if you bought at a brick and mortor location. I would think that they would track card #s or shipping address to limit purchases but that is still easy to get around. I think the only way to stop scalping is to get the idiots to stop paying a grand to see the show. But outlawing stupidity or trying to controll stupidity is wasted time. Is it the crackhead or the guy selling crack? Who is at fault? I don’t think Trey is having any trouble paying his mortage cause some dumb ass spent 1000.00 to see him play. Remember the Trustifarians on tour from back in the day, I’m sure they still exsist and dads still paying the credit card bills. It sure isn’t broke hippy chicks buying 1000.00 tixs. Call it Phish’s tax on wealthy repulicans (and wealth Dems too) who’s children are spoiled and given what ever they want as long as they leave mom and dad alone. Crush the rich, right?

  5. cripsyduck Says:

    Or, instead of having agents in the parking lot busting potheads, you could have them out busting scalpers. They could scour ebay and hose people reselling tickets for more than face value. I’m sorry, but shrugging your shoulders is a lame response.

  6. Your right! It’s a lame response and the cops should have been busting the scalpers and reviewing eBay. I think the best solution would be to go back and use the existing ticket windows at the venue and sell day of only. “Sorry for the hassle folks but your idiots. You’re past actions having supported people ripping you off on our shows and we will no longer allow you to be taken advantage of. The line starts to the left.” Base tix prices are out of sight due to the Ticketmaster’s’ service charges, which is where the tix issue started back in the mid 80’s. That’s why I am so lame in my response, the cost of music entertainment (and likely all sources of entertainment) in this country is way over priced. I would think someone smarter than me could make a logical connection to the demise of the recording industry as the source. Touring used to be subsidized by music label due to the advertising value of having the artist promote the new product. That is no longer the case. That’s way the Dead are so interesting as a business. (See your H.R.T. quote here). They inherently knew that and took complete control of the touring, merch, and finally the recording ends of the business. Thus they were very successful and gave good value for the cost of admission if you dealt with them but they were never able to totally remove Ticketmaster due to the massive collusion between the promoters and the venues. And now Livenation owns all the venues (and is the buyer of most of the tour packages (U2 will get over 100 mill guaranteed with a large upfront deposit, for the 30-50 dates in the US, I betcha’)), Ticketmaster does all the tickets, and what if the scalpers are just flunkies of either the Livenation or Ticketmaster!?! Would you put it past them? Remember Frank Sinatra was a mafia creation early on, so goes the rumor. Many have and many are more than willing to sell their soul to be successful in this business. That usually leads to some horrifically tragic demise or becoming a massive joke of a shadow of ones former greatness. On the other hand there is always the path of suffering development of massive talent in abject poverty and obscurity only to be discovered as a bitter disillusioned elder or more than likely, dead! I know, I know, reality is somewhere in between the two.

  7. ET (EarAkeMyEye) Says:

    I think the internet plays a big role in the current scalper sitch. But, still–people willing to shell out the $1000 is also a factor.

    On a personal note, I have seen Phish 2 times. The first was back in the late 80,s when they played at Trax. I was living in a cottage on Grove st. A group of us got walked in for free. I only stayed for about a song and a half, and sauntered back over to Grove St. The after party was a hoot.

    The next time I saw Phish was at the University Field House in Missoula, MT. This time, I traded an old bike for a ticket. The next day, there was a article in the local paper about kids selling drugs in the lot. The story related a Barny Fife kind of an encounter, where the local sheriff called on the radio–“We got some serious drug activity here at the field house”.
    In the end the University and the Sheriff department renegotiated their contract, and now the Sheriff gets more money to staff the events at the U.

  8. cripsyduck Says:

    Wow, that brings back some memories. The song was “Maze” (“you’ll never get out of the is maze, you’ll never get out of this maze”) and we looked at each other, turned around and walked out of the maze. Good times.

    Sure, stupid buyers are a thing, but there is NO ENFORCEMENT of anti-scalping regs., and there never has been. PAYOLA, anyone?

  9. I did elude to that. But its not a wad of cashs in an envelope. Its in the deal for the tour. It may be illegal but who other than us who see the coruption accually cares enough to bitch to the enforcement agencies. The intellecual property owner got paid as did the venue owner, the booking agent, the promoter, and the cops. Catch-22 is alive and well and on tour with Phish.

  10. cripsyduck Says:

    I hear ya. It’s just my rampant idealism keeping me hoping. But I’d bet making big noise out of this would get you cement shoes. So maybe, ’nuff said.

  11. Well I have found as good an explaination as there is
    Greed is the word, is the word…..dadada

  12. cripsyduck Says:

    Killer article. There you have it: unregulated assholes running amuck!

  13. Can you say Capshaw. He’d never admit it.

  14. Heres they guy and look at who he represents. If he’s in they are all in.
    It explains alot about how marginally talented celebetards make shit loads of money for two albumns, one overprice tour, and years of rehab on tv. Since the days of Robert Johnson it’s all been selling your soul to whoever gets you that Bentley with 26″ rims.

  15. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    good work boys, pretty overwhelming corruption scenario here. So what thinkest y’all about the merger? Is that the only way this gets under control? My gut says the merger is bad, but haven’t put any real attention to it, besides knowing that local people will lose their jobs if it happens. Why are resellers like TicketsNow allowed to do this?

  16. Loop holes. And no the meger changes nothing. The history of large live performance industry is here for the reading. The under lying greed won’t go away nor will this issue. Fans pay what ever and then bitch. Are we sure that people would stop seeing Bruce to change things?

  17. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    that’s danged depressing-makes me kind of smug knowing no one ever pays for our music except in tip form, poor yes, smug nonetheless

  18. Anonymous Says:

    The Tip Jar. Savour of the BC soul.

  19. I follow your blog for quite a long time and must tell that your posts are always valuable to readers.

  20. cripsyduck Says:

    Thanks, man.

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