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This is Happening -- You're Not Going
February 11, 2011 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Tickets went on sale this morning for LCD Soundsytems purported last show at Madison Square Garden. The show sold out within seconds, and interestingly enough, few fans got tickets. Not to worry, because there are now endless tickets on StubHub, and if you hurry, it won't set you back more than $10,000 a ticket for general admission pit tickets. James Murphy isn't amused.
posted by rtimmel (142 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
How is this not just large-scale scalping?
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:09 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Because it is a corporation doing it. Duh. They're better than us. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta ...
posted by adipocere at 12:12 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


I went to a ticket-less Nine Inch Nails show a few years ago. You had to show up with the credit card that was used to purchase the tickets to gain admission. It's a pain in the ass, and definitely discriminates against those without credit cards, but it makes this sort of behavior very difficult.

I guess what the fuck does Ticketmaster care. They still get all their bullshit fees for every ticket, so they don't have much of an incentive to prevent StubHub from buying all the tickets.

FWIW, I saw LCD Soundsystem last year and it wasn't worth $10,000.
posted by gagglezoomer at 12:15 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad I saw them at Pitchfork. Really just a fun, fantastic and overall nice band.

But $800 FOR GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS. THAT IS THE WORST THING.

Scrapping my plans to get a plane ticket to NYC and check this out...
posted by Askiba at 12:15 PM on February 11, 2011


gagglezoomer: "FWIW, I saw LCD Soundsystem last year and it wasn't worth $10,000."

You're right and in good company: “I will try to figure a way out to fuck these fuckers. NO MATTER WHAT WE DO, IT IS NOT WORTH THAT KIND OF MONEY TO SEE US!”

I dunno from LCD Soundsystem, but right the fuck on. It's good to see him rail against this bullshit. Net LCDS positive.
posted by boo_radley at 12:17 PM on February 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


Well, lesson learned, James. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Know he knows never to use TicketMaster again. It would be worth it to play a smaller venue with a more respectable ticketing agency.

Using their ticket-swallowing technology that is still too elusive for Ticketmaster to combat ...

Shenanigans. TicketMaster must be complicit here. Or else ridiculously incompetent.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:18 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, IIRC scalping laws are generally murky and vary by state. I would bet there's all sorts of legal issues that arise when you enact a law that makes it illegal to resell something like a concert ticket...
posted by gagglezoomer at 12:18 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


See how much value the free market just created? Blink and you'd miss it (just like the tickets, lol).
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:18 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


It probably is scalpers. Murphy went off on scalpers in Twitter after they started advertizing presale tickets for $1500. What impressive is the rapidity of it -- Ticketmaster glitched for the initial 5 minutes after sale, and when it came back, all tickets were gone.
posted by rtimmel at 12:18 PM on February 11, 2011


Why doesn't he just play another show, the next night, for less than the face value of the first show? Cut off the scalpers at the knees.
posted by Vhanudux at 12:19 PM on February 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


The tickets will eventually sell for whatever the market will bear. The band should be mad that they weren't smart enough to charge market value to begin with so that they could have been the ones making the money.

That said, what they ought to do is announce that this won't actually be their last show and that it will consist only of them dancing on stage while four non-musicians play their instruments for an hour. Then schedule a real last show a few days later and sell the tickets a) for a higher price than this one and b) in a way that prevents scalping.
posted by The World Famous at 12:19 PM on February 11, 2011 [14 favorites]


What impressive is the rapidity of it

This is still what confuses. What affords resale companies such a huge purchasing advantage?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:20 PM on February 11, 2011


The band should be mad that they weren't smart enough to charge market value to begin with so that they could have been the ones making the money.

No, not everybody is an asshole.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:21 PM on February 11, 2011 [102 favorites]


Why doesn't he just play another show, the next night, for less than the face value of the first show? Cut off the scalpers at the knees.

...

Then schedule a real last show a few days later...


Problem there being that James Murphy does not own Madison Square Garden.

The tickets will eventually sell for whatever the market will bear.

Unfortunately true. The only real solution here (if any sort of resale is possible) is to charge more for the tickets. Or do the pay-at-the-gate/ticketless tactic.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:22 PM on February 11, 2011


There are lots of $100-200 seats via the $10,000 link, I'm kinda confused.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:24 PM on February 11, 2011


He's only pissed off because "no one got a ticket" and he's suddenly self-aware that Ticketmaster screws everyone, not just the public. It's kind of like doing business with Goldman Sachs, if you ask me. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when you're going to get screwed.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:25 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


So are the scalpers in league with the spammers in computerized defeating/passing captcha tests ? (my google words might have missed it, but I didn't turn up anything that says how they beat everyone out, other than a "computer army")..

When it was phones and in-person lines, scalpers would have phone banks and pay folks to wait in line .. Do they have *that* many people in front of computers ? I'd doubt it. I'd think they'd have software inplace to flood ticketmaster's service.. And that's what puts them in with spammers and botnets - the computers and the captcha defeaters..
posted by k5.user at 12:26 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man. He's really losing his edge.
posted by koeselitz at 12:26 PM on February 11, 2011 [16 favorites]


Man, I don't need to go see an LCDS show at the Garden; Daft Punk is playing at my house.
posted by cortex at 12:26 PM on February 11, 2011 [35 favorites]


The tickets will eventually sell for whatever the market will bear. The band should be mad that they weren't smart enough to charge market value to begin with so that they could have been the ones making the money.

Look at this guy who has no fans who supported him to the level he's at today, and thus no obligation to be good toward them.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:27 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


The band should be mad that they weren't smart enough to charge market value to begin with so that they could have been the ones making the money.

This might sound strange, but there are a lot of people who don't think that money/spending money/possessing money is the final value of a man. Raising ticket prices because "some people" will pay for it is a shitty move unless you think that "some people" deserve LCD Soundsystem more because they possess more money, which I don't.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:27 PM on February 11, 2011 [24 favorites]


The tickets will eventually sell for whatever the market will bear. The band should be mad that they weren't smart enough to charge market value to begin with so that they could have been the ones making the money.

Depends on the economics of the contract. Consider this hypothetical: For ticket sales, the band gets x%, but for merch sales, the band gets y%, and y is much greater than x. Further assume that each fan will spend up to but no more than $z on LCDS tickets and merch. Under those facts the band would want tickets to sell cheaply so that people had more money for high-margin merch. But they'd want the tickets to be sold to the actual fans, not scalping middle men.

If Stub Hub had any scruples it would crack down on scalpers (e.g. people selling dozens of tickets to a single event and people selling tickets to events over and over). One middle man (TicketMaster and the like) is enough. My guess, though, is that scalpers are a major source of Stub Hub's revenue.
posted by jedicus at 12:27 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you show up the night of the show, you'll be able to get in for free or close to free. Did this with Arcade Fire a few years ago when they sold out Palace Theater in seconds. These big venues cannot support last minute ticket openings, and if you are patient outside and not willing to budge... BINGO.

(I figured this myself when I had a last-minute ticket available to Wilco in 2004 at Radio City and ate the ticket.)
posted by yeti at 12:28 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


TicketMaster must be complicit here. Or else ridiculously incompetent.

TicketMaster doesn't give a shit. They sold out the arena already. They will get their $16 per ticket for convenience fees on every last ticket regardless of whether a bunch of scalpers or fans paid it.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:30 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you show up the night of the show, you'll be able to get in for free or close to free.

Amen. I've given up every other other method of acquiring popular tickets. I wait up until close til show time, then offer less than face price for whatever scalpers are left. It has never failed yet. (Works pretty well with sporting events, too. You can't care too much about your seats, though.)

There's got to be something wrong with the system when scalpers are making money by selling tickets for less than face value.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:34 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I tried for tickets as soon as they went on sale (the ill fated presale on Wednesday and today), but probably never had a chance. Is it really possible (given ticketmaster's interface) to sell MSG out in seconds without a little help from the inside?

(also, I had completely forgotten that back in the day I would wait online for hours for tickets. I was too wimpy to camp out overnight, but still...)
posted by armacy at 12:38 PM on February 11, 2011


There are lots of $100-200 seats via the $10,000 link, I'm kinda confused.

$100-200 for the worst seats in the house. $10,000 for general admission (page 4)
posted by sprezzy at 12:38 PM on February 11, 2011


The band should be mad that they weren't smart enough to charge market value to begin with so that they could have been the ones making the money.

No, not everybody is an asshole.


Oh please. You can pretend all you want that LCD Soundsystem is Fugazi or something (which, given that they're playing MSG, I think is more than a bit of a stretch), but at the end of the day LCD Soundsystem is doing it for the money and people are going to end up paying more than face value for tickets that are sold for a low face value. There's nothing benevolent about setting prices such that scalpers predictably make money off of them. If people aren't willing to pay $10k a ticket, the prices will go down. If people are willing to pay $10k a ticket, then LCD Soundsystem is the one that should be benefitting from that.
posted by The World Famous at 12:38 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I suppose the "correct" response here really depends on what, exactly, his contractual obligations are.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:39 PM on February 11, 2011


sorry *general admission PIT tickets
posted by sprezzy at 12:40 PM on February 11, 2011


The sad thing is that fans discover these artists on the internet, can hear every song the artists have ever performed because of the internet, and can find every bit of information about the artists and their upcoming albums and shows on the internet, but because of the mechanics of online ticket sales they might never have the opportunity to see their favorite artists perform live.
posted by kyleg at 12:41 PM on February 11, 2011


There's got to be something wrong with the system when scalpers are making money by selling tickets for less than face value.

They're not making money there, they're just reducing loss on otherwise unsold inventory. A ticket sold for half its value is some investment recouped; a ticket unsold isn't. Scalpers wouldn't scalp if they didn't have an expectation on turning a profit in the earlier sales; moving the remaining stock at a discount is just cleanup.
posted by cortex at 12:41 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Theta States at 12:41 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


at the end of the day LCD Soundsystem is doing it for the money

On what are you basing this assumption? Your own preconceptions about the human race?

There's nothing benevolent about setting prices such that scalpers predictably make money off of them.

It certainly would be benevolent if there was a way to stop scalping. Tickets would go to the fans who were most committed (i.e. waited in line) rather than the wealthiest.

on preview:

because of the mechanics of online ticket sales they might never have the opportunity to see their favorite artists perform live

Which, ironically, is the only way that many of those fans would ever pay those artists. Boggling.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:42 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is an easy one to fix. First do TWF's idea. Then for the final show, put the goddamned buyer's name on the ticket and make them non-transferable.
posted by mullingitover at 12:43 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


moving the remaining stock at a discount is just cleanup.

Yeah, I understand that. That's my whole m.o.

Let me rephrase: There has to be something wrong with the system when scalpers are still able to sell many tickets at a loss and still make money. Personally, I can't complain, b/c I get cheaper than face-value tickets. Philosophically, it sucks.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:43 PM on February 11, 2011


It would have been much better for the fans for them to play 20 shows at a 1,000 person venue instead of one show at a 20,000 person venue.
posted by Jairus at 12:44 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


NO MATTER WHAT WE DO, IT IS NOT WORTH THAT KIND OF MONEY TO SEE US!

Then play more shows, dude. You're the one creating artificial scarcity, not the scalpers.

Seriously, am I the only one that took Econ 101?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:44 PM on February 11, 2011 [13 favorites]


Wow. I managed to get 2 tickets through presale the other day. My sister tried about 5 minutes later and couldn't find anything. I didn't think much of it (a presale, right?), but this is absurd.
posted by tip120 at 12:45 PM on February 11, 2011


LCD Soundsystem is doing it for the money

I am not a fan of their music, but this is demonstrably not true. While not being super-purists, they're still releasing on their record label. They've had plenty of big cash offers to do otherwise, Murphy wants to control his output.

Please, wikipedia is just a couple clicks away.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:45 PM on February 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


because of the mechanics of online ticket sales they might never have the opportunity to see their favorite artists perform live.

I tried to get in on an elist presale for Kings of Leon here in Austin yesterday and the backend barfed and kicked me out three times. Now I have holds on my credit card (not a huge deal, but annoying) and no tickets and some serious annoyance at Erwin Center. Ticketmaster is a bunch of ratfuckers but I'm beginning to think it's the entire online experience that sucks. I guess it's still better than standing in line, but not by much.
posted by immlass at 12:45 PM on February 11, 2011


I think someone should build a ticket lottery system, if it hasn't been done before.

Require everyone to register using their credit card (verify against the address, don't actually charge).

During the initial round of sales, an email is sent to a random selection, and to only the number of people for whom there are seats available. (Might ask how many seats you'd like when registering.) They are given the option to buy the tickets, first come, first serve, with whatever maximum is in place.

Instead of using a presale code or something, which can be quickly disseminated and is then open to the public essentially, each purchase would require an approved account.

If they choose not to within... 24 hours, or less, or whatever, the window closes, and another batch is put together and issued to the people on the list.

The purchase has to be made with the same credit card used to register. Even if you don't validate the credit card at the show itself, this will limit people from being able to game the system by making the availability of tickets issued randomly to actual fans. Some scalpers may be among them, but they wouldn't be able to overwhelm the system and gobble up all of the inventory.
posted by disillusioned at 12:47 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


put the goddamned buyer's name on the ticket and make them non-transferable.

That's pretty much how NIN ran their fan presales for their Lights In The Sky and Wave Goodbye tours. It worked really great. I had my ID matched to my ticket three times -- once when I picked it up at presale will-call, again when I got into the presale admission line, and again when I entered the venue. Ticket sales were limited to either 2 or 4 per person, you had to have all the members of your party with you when you got into line and entered the venue, and the tickets were lovely graphic tickets with foil enhancements and my name on them.

I wish most big bands would just give Trent a call and chat with him for an hour or so before going on a big tour where TM is the primary ticket agent. They'd save themselves a lot of shock and headache.
posted by hippybear at 12:47 PM on February 11, 2011 [16 favorites]


The band should be mad that they weren't smart enough to charge market value to begin with so that they could have been the ones making the money.

This might sound strange, but there are a lot of people who don't think that money/spending money/possessing money is the final value of a man. Raising ticket prices because "some people" will pay for it is a shitty move unless you think that "some people" deserve LCD Soundsystem more because they possess more money, which I don't.


I think the point here is that these tickets are, objectively, worth much more than they are being sold for. If you were allowed to buy one for $50, you are instantly in possession of something that in reality is worth more than $50. The same way that if a car dealership had a promotion to give away a new car for $1, and that they were going to decide it by randomly letting in someone who was standing outside their door at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, the person who bought it would instantly have a car that was worth more than $1. Even if there was some rule that said they couldn't sell the car to anyone else, it would still be worth more than what they paid for it.

Selling something for less than it's worth tends to cause the demand to outweigh the supply. So you can either charge more to decrease the demand, or you have to come up with some way to distribute the product within the group of people who want to buy it. In this case the tickets went to whoever was able to game the Ticketmaster system enough to buy tickets, which unsurprisingly seems to be scalpers. If you want different people to be able to buy tickets at that price, come up with a better way of selling them.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:47 PM on February 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


There's got to be something wrong with the system when scalpers are making money by selling tickets for less than face value.

They're not. A ticket to the event is a ticket to them, regardless of face value, it's a commodity. They set the value of the ticket based on the popularity of the event, ticket availability and then seat location inside the venue with time being the main operator. A seat for Opening Day at Fenway is always going to fetch a premium, whether it's a bleacher or box seat makes no difference, but the price will fluctuate considerably once the anthem is played.

Regardless of what they've paid for the ticket, if they sell 30% of the tickets at a premium, 60% at nominal profit and the remainder at cost or slightly below, they're making a profit as they're in a volume model, not a per ticket model.

What Stubhub did was remove the real dirtbag quotient from the transaction. Now it's in the hands of those who have direct purchasing power. Sure, the toothless meatheads are still out there, embarrassingly enough, peddling tickets at the show but they control less volume of the market and no longer control price information as anyone with a smartphone can now determine the market value on their own, and provide the time operator as they see fit.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:48 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


While not being super-purists, they're still releasing on their record label. They've had plenty of big cash offers to do otherwise, Murphy wants to control his output.

Are you somehow trying to suggest that self-releasing is going to get them less money than releasing on a major?
posted by Jairus at 12:48 PM on February 11, 2011


If I were James I'd cancel the show "due to illness" or some other "legitimate" reason and then reschedule with some other way of ticket selling. Or if the ticketmaster/stubbhub mafia have Madison under thumb, then at another venue.
posted by Sir BoBoMonkey Pooflinger Esquire III at 12:48 PM on February 11, 2011


at the end of the day LCD Soundsystem is doing it for the money

On what are you basing this assumption? Your own preconceptions about the human race?


I'm basing that conclusion (not an assumption) on the fact that they are professional musicians. They are doing it for the money by definition.

My own preconception about the human race is that when something is someone's profession that means they're doing it for the money. That doesn't mean that money is their sole motivator. Nor does it mean that every decision they make is purely about maximizing potential earnings.

It is entirely possible to make great, honest art while still doing it for the money.
posted by The World Famous at 12:52 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm beginning to think it's the entire online experience that sucks. I guess it's still better than standing in line, but not by much.

Oh, I dunno. When I camped out for two days and two nights to get tickets for Prince's Purple Rain tour, it was a non-stop party. People were really friendly, everyone was sharing food and playing card games. It was great.

I think someone should build a ticket lottery system, if it hasn't been done before.

Roger Waters had a presale ticket lottery for his The Wall Live tour. You had to sign up for his online fan club, and then register your interest in buying tickets, and you had to register what city you wanted to see the show in. Then there were waves of people selected for presale dates, several presale dates for each show, with (obviously) worse seats being available during each wave. Early registration didn't guarantee you a ticket, but if you got your email saying you were selected, you had to be there to get it, because each wave sold out pretty quickly. I'm not sure whether there was rollover for sales if you were drawn early and missed your window of purchase or not. In all, it seemed to work pretty well.
posted by hippybear at 12:53 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Or you could come with me to see them in Buenos Aires on the 23rd Feb. Even including the airfare it's waaaaay cheaper than $10,000. Just sayin'.
posted by jontyjago at 12:54 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


hippybear, yeah, I imagine that a randomized system like that has a much better chance of getting tickets into the hands of fans. Some of them may still resell their tickets or some of them may be scalpers, but with a situation like this, the proportion of scalpers just seems so much higher than it needs to be.
posted by disillusioned at 12:57 PM on February 11, 2011


Seriously, am I the only one that took Econ 101?

Everyone pursuing a career that entails the sale of something should be required to. That being said, there are many pricing models available to correctly price an event, and Mr. Murphy did provide the scarcity and the artificia, low price. His actions are akin to the kid bitching about the two hundred savages who showed up at his fiesta and trashed the house the weekend the 'rents where away, because all he did was announce it on his facebook and, you know, not expect people to be assholes about it.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:57 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


but with a situation like this, the proportion of scalpers just seems so much higher than it needs to be

Oh, I completely agree. This whole fiasco sounds like it is fubar.

But there are possible systems which have already been used to keep this kind of thing from happening. I think what keeps a lot of bands from using them is that they require a lot of band management to implement. Many acts would rather not have to worry about such things, and just sign a touring contract with Ticketmaster/LiveNation and then not worry about logistics like presale lotteries and such.

Whatever happened to that whole thing where someone in Congress was pissed about not being able to get tickets to see Springsteen and was threatening hearings and reform of the ticket selling industry, anyway?
posted by hippybear at 1:01 PM on February 11, 2011


New Yorker article on Ticketmaster and scalping (sub. only). Includes discussion of why artists don't want perfect price discrimination, even though it would seem to increase their returns.
posted by grobstein at 1:05 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm so glad I saw them at Pitchfork. Really just a fun, fantastic and overall nice band.

Hm, weird. I saw them at another festival over the summer, and James Murphy looked like he'd rather be anywhere else in the world than on that stage. Maybe he was doing the ironic disaffected hipster thing, or maybe he was simply having an off night (which is understandable from time to time, and a few of the other bands at the festival seemed a bit 'off' as well -- I believe Matt & Kim actually said "F-- You" to the promoters on stage). Even taking that into consideration, I wasn't hugely blown away by their performance, and wasn't particularly surprised to hear that they were parting ways.

That all said, no hard feelings about the band. I find it pretty audacious that people are claiming that LCD are in it for the money, when they're breaking up the band!
posted by schmod at 1:08 PM on February 11, 2011


Yeah yeah yeah yeahyeahyeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeahyeahyeah.

YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAHYEAHYEAH YEAH YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! YEAHYEAHYEAH!

That experience of that one song is worth a lot of money. But not at MSG, and not for those prices.
posted by yeti at 1:08 PM on February 11, 2011


Man, I don't need to go see an LCDS show at the Garden; Daft Punk is playing at my house.
posted by cortex


Well, you gotta set them up, kid. Set them up.
posted by NationalKato at 1:09 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


If people aren't willing to pay $10k a ticket, the prices will go down.

I wasn't aware that Ticketmaster is now like Ebay where you can bid on the tickets.

Or did you mean that they should mark face value at $10k? And if they did, you actually wouldn't call them assholes for doing that?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:11 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree with others, NIN solved this a few years ago. Not only was it easy to get presale tickets, but as I recall there were no fees. I sure that there was some risk to him (eg. if he reserved too many tickets and they went unsold), but I have to imagine that in the end he took home more than he would have with both Ticketmaster and the scalper middlemen getting their cut. It was like Trent decided to fuck Ticketmaster and the scalpers in deference to the fans on his way out...
posted by togdon at 1:11 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


grobstein, I see your New Yorker article on ticketmaster, and raise you with one New Yorker article on James Murphy (sub required).
posted by armacy at 1:12 PM on February 11, 2011


Seeing some of the arguments in this thread, I am reminded of Voltaire, and long to walk on all fours.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:16 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


TicketMaster doesn't give a shit. They sold out the arena already. They will get their $16 per ticket for convenience fees on every last ticket regardless of whether a bunch of scalpers or fans paid it.

Ticketmaster also makes money off of tickets sold on resale website TicketsNow.
posted by ekroh at 1:22 PM on February 11, 2011


What is it about the business end of the music business that attracts such a large collection of scumbag companies? These guys make getting mugged look like a nice way to spend a Saturday night.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:48 PM on February 11, 2011


What is it about the business end of the music business that attracts such a large collection of scumbag companies?

It's because idealistic artists don't sell their tickets for market prices
posted by downing street memo at 1:49 PM on February 11, 2011


Back in the '80s everyone hated having to camp out overnight in front of a record store to get a bracelet to get a ticket, but I'll be damned if that wasn't a better system than the shit concert-goers are stuck with now.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:51 PM on February 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


What is it about the business end of the music business that attracts such a large collection of scumbag companies?

What is it about the music business (emphasis mine) that makes people think simple, human market forces don't and/or shouldn't apply?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:55 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, and because I do happen to know a thing or two about the music industry, "Just schedule more shows" is a ridiculous handwaving proposition to make.

Promoters do not have a crystal ball to predict demand, and it's very well possible that the scalping prices are massively artificially inflated. Similarly, booking a venue the size of MSG is fantastically expensive, and a very big risk to take on.

Because this isn't part of a larger stadium tour, they're also going to have to come up with a stage configuration, a set design, hire a large group of freelance crew members, and rent, deliver, and assemble a massive amount of equipment with an unfamiliar crew. None of this is cheap or easy to accomplish in a small timeframe. The availability of the venue and all these personnel must also be taken into account as well if you're doing more than one night. (And do you want those nights to be a Friday/Saturday, or a Tuesday/Wednesday, because rental costs, availability, and demand for tickets will also heavily depend on the days of the week you're doing the show). They're probably looking at a cost of $100-$200k per night, which is an awfully big risk to take on.

Similarly, if they can sell out one and a half times the capacity of MSG, they're stuck between a rock and a hard place. In that scenario, they can't profitably book MSG for two nights, because a show in a half-full arena won't be very fun, and will lose a lot of money (unless the tickets are expensive, which would drive demand down even further), and one also needs to consider that LCD Soundsystem aren't exactly an "Arena Rock" band -- there are probably about a dozen currently living/touring artists for which an arena is an actually appropriate setting.

Alternatively, all sorts of logistical and supply/demand considerations come into play if you want to schedule two shows in two differently-sized venues in the same week. Depending on how it's done, this could either increase or decrease overall demand, and would again be really difficult to estimate a potential crowd size. Scheduling multiple shows in one city or a "Farewell Tour" also tends to be viewed as crass and pretentious.

This is particularly difficult in New York, because the next smallest appropriate venue next to MSG (Cap:20,000) is Terminal 5, which can only hold 3,000 people. If you knew you had enough demand to profitably host more than one, but not two nights at MSG, how many nights at T5 would you want to book?

That said, now that they know the demand probably does exist, they should make a good-faith effort to schedule another show.
posted by schmod at 2:07 PM on February 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


What is it about the business end of the music business that attracts such a large collection of scumbag companies?


Dude, you don't think that if Apple was selling iPads for $50 a piece but only sold 5,000 per month or what have you that there wouldn't be some entire secondary market that involved paying people to stand in line or game or manipulate whatever system Apple put in place to allocate iPads so that the secondary profiteer could profit off of reselling the iPads to customers who valued them differently than Apple? It's simple supply and demand, there's nothing inherently evil about buying something for one price and reselling it to someone who values it at a higher price--it's how our economy works--people just have this like, personal, connection to concerts that makes them get all emotional about having to pay the "man" to see their favorite band.
posted by gagglezoomer at 2:10 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think there's a simple way to fix this: cancel this show and make the farewell concert free. Get a few corporate sponsors to cover operating costs. Get someone to live stream it and charge a tiny bit for that, and if you rrrreally wanna make a tiny bit more money, record it and sell the concert live album later.

If he wanted money he'd do a farewell tour, I think. That's what id do anyway. But this is a last concert ever and james murphy never struck me as a greedy type.
posted by hellojed at 2:12 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just have to say I've seen them twice and it's two of the best shows I've ever seen. I would suggest anyone in NYC should see them if able - I was contemplating flying out from Vancouver for this show.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:13 PM on February 11, 2011


people just have this like, personal, connection to concerts that makes them get all emotional about having to pay the "man" to see their favorite band.

Um... Well, I'd actually think that it's not about the price of the tickets, but it's about how the casual fan gets shut out of the market (through what looks like odd gaming of the system on behalf of the scalpers, in this case) and their ONLY recourse is to buy through a secondary seller.

If there were some percentage of the seats that went to scalpers, that'd be one thing. But in this case, it's like the scalpers decided to step in between the fans and the ticketing agency and take the whole kit and kaboodle to line their own pockets.

Using your example, it'd be as if Apple were selling iPads for $50 each, only there was a gang of thugs waiting at the port for the container to arrive and they drove off with it before a single Apple Store had one on their shelves.
posted by hippybear at 2:16 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think there's a simple way to fix this: cancel this show and make the farewell concert free. Get a few corporate sponsors to cover operating costs. Get someone to live stream it and charge a tiny bit for that, and if you rrrreally wanna make a tiny bit more money, record it and sell the concert live album later.

That's not really a very simple solution.

For this problem, there are no simple solutions; they all require cooperation with large corporations and complex logistics. I think Trent Reznor has been doing the most toward a fair solution, but I don't see any of the middlemen that are out for the big bucks adopting those techniques anytime soon.
posted by jabberjaw at 2:19 PM on February 11, 2011


Hehe. You wanna make it up to us, Murphy? I see an impromptu show on top of Santos, and a few arrests for inciting a riot. I mean all disrespect.

(pleaseohpleaseohplease.)
posted by functionequalsform at 2:25 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remind me why Ticketmaster has a monopoly on ticket sales again?
posted by jokeefe at 2:28 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The band should be mad that they weren't smart enough to charge market value to begin with so that they could have been the ones making the money.

Is that you, Jack White?
posted by dobbs at 2:28 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


If fans should pay what the market can bear they should put really high-demand tickets up for auction at Christie's and Sothby's.

"We are bidding on a pair of front row/centre seats at the Rolling Stones' final show. The bidding starts at $100,000."

*Paul Allen raises his paddle*
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:31 PM on February 11, 2011


Dude, you don't think that if Apple was selling iPads for $50 a piece but only sold 5,000 per month or what have you that there wouldn't be some entire secondary market that involved paying people to stand in line or game or manipulate whatever system Apple put in place to allocate iPads so that the secondary profiteer could profit off of reselling the iPads to customers who valued them differently than Apple?

Hey, if my favourite bands did enough gigs to sell 5000 tickets a month I would fucking LOVE it.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:38 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and because I do happen to know a thing or two about the music industry, "Just schedule more shows" is a ridiculous handwaving proposition to make.

I don't think the point is scheduling more shows at MSG at the drop of a hat.

The point is that it's illogical to be surprised when there's a high demand and subsequent scalping activity when you have created the scarcity of announcing this as a single, one-time-only farewell show. Or when you have created a business model -- a few big shows at big venues in big cities -- that is by its very nature reliant on scarcity in the first place to maximize per-unit profit.

You don't want your fans feeling that they have to turn to scalpers? Then don't give them that feeling. Otherwise, shut up.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:39 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate ticket sales bullshit. My wife and I don't see shows because the extra costs are ridiculous. Used to be something like $25 for a ticket, which is $50 for a couple and that's a fun night out. Now there are inflated prices and handling fees and delivery fees and convenience charges and suddenly it's $200 to go to the show and fuck it we'd rather go out to a nice dinner instead.

Couple that with the utter impossibility of getting a good seat. People wait in line for ticket sales only to find out that the first 10 rows have already been reserved for promos and giveaways and all that BS. The average mortal can't get close to the stage any more. It's disgusting. The greed from the ticket people just make me sick.

I have no problem paying the band so I can hear them play and the people who do the grunt work getting the stage ready and all, but I am so sick of the rest of the scum parasites involved. Ticketmaster/Livenation owns the venues, the ticket sales and the acts... and people still wonder why prices have gone up.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:42 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


gagglezoomer: “It's simple supply and demand, there's nothing inherently evil about buying something for one price and reselling it to someone who values it at a higher price--it's how our economy works--people just have this like, personal, connection to concerts that makes them get all emotional about having to pay the ‘man’ to see their favorite band.”

It's actually not supply and demand. Supply and demand are ephemeral when a company gains fiat monopoly in a market. Ticketmaster is that company. Or didn't you know that?
posted by koeselitz at 2:45 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Me: The band should be mad that they weren't smart enough to charge market value to begin with so that they could have been the ones making the money.

Threeway Handshake: No, not everybody is an asshole.

So, let me get this straight: The assholes are the people suggesting that the artist should be paid the amount that people are willing to pay for the show? I mean, I get that you're calling me, specifically, an asshole because I think LCD Soundsystem should make more money if demand is high. But are you saying that about everyone who thinks artists should be the ones rewarded when the market will bear a high price is an asshole, or just me?

If people aren't willing to pay $10k a ticket, the prices will go down.

I wasn't aware that Ticketmaster is now like Ebay where you can bid on the tickets.

Or did you mean that they should mark face value at $10k? And if they did, you actually wouldn't call them assholes for doing that?


I didn't mean either of those things. And you're the one calling people assholes - not me. But you don't seem to care what I'm actually saying.
posted by The World Famous at 2:46 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I won't pay more than $8000 for a ticket.
posted by Mister_A at 2:48 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I bet the tickets are actually only $100, but there's $9,900 of processing fees, postage fees, booking fees, ticket printing fees, and cancellation insurance.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:51 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


From the link:

(Interestingly, Yahoo floats the possibility that this is all the result of a scalper conspiracy, with the entire scalping community banding together in solidarity vindictively to bring down the show after Murphy threatened them. If that's the case, you have to admire the shitbags' organizational skills.)

Uh, that seems really stupid. I'm pretty sure they'd prefer to make money.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:56 PM on February 11, 2011




For that price, they'd have to give me a kidney.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:02 PM on February 11, 2011


My wife likes mainstream and country music and often asks me to buy tickets to concerts for her. These are musicians that tour constantly and make BIG business of it - New kids on the block, Rascal Flats, Kenny Chesney etc. Tickets are expensive as hell but every show sells out every time even at $100 for the cheap seats. Living in Calgary doesn't help on pricing.

But one thing all these groups do that helps is that they sell official fan club memberships. I used to be fully against it because of the cost but at least you know you will get tickets every time. So you pay usually $50 for a year (which is really for one concert because they won't be back before the year is up) and then they organize with Ticketmaster for you to get a pair of primo seats.

Compare that to me trying to Pixies tickets where every alternative rock station had a generic presale code - that hit the internet and everyone knew - and you've got a show that was completely sold out in minutes.

I hate what Ticketmaster has done to the general concert experience and blame them for everything bad in yhe workd but if you want to go to something you have to play their game, for now.
posted by jeffmik at 3:24 PM on February 11, 2011


Fixing this problem is pretty straightforward — require accounts on ticket selling sites to be mapped to a real person, and then print their names on the tickets and require photo I.D. to gain admission to the venue. Given some of the hoops you already have to jump through, it's not exactly an unreasonable logistical burden to impose, and it avoids segregating popular bands by the size of their wallets. Glastonbury does this — pre-registration, photo I.D. required, etc — and as far as I'm aware, no scalping was practical (or at least not widespread).

Also, though of course it is possible to be surprised by demand, gigs like this — final shows, reunion gigs, etc — are always going to sell out in minutes, whether to fans or to scalpers. Picking people who've preregistered an interest in the gig at random and sending out an e-mail with a purchase code is much, much fairer than playing a game of 'who can hit refresh quickest'. The fact that none of this has been done already is surely attributable only to either incompetence or malice.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 3:24 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also agree with the calls for a "waiting room" with random numbers distributed to those looking to buy. Two years ago I bought tickets for the Chicago Cubs this way. Wasn't happy to have to wait online in front of my browser for 2 hours but was able to get the the date I wanted at a reasonable price without having to deal with a reseller that would have charged at least double.
posted by jeffmik at 3:29 PM on February 11, 2011


TWF, I think the issue is that when the band sets the ticket to a lower price than what the audience is willing to pay, they are choosing to offer that surplus to the consumers, not to rent-seekers.

As for artificial scarcity, well, if they want to break up, they have to play a final show at some time (Freddie disagrees) and they may not want to play multiple shows, especially if they are sick of each other.
posted by ersatz at 3:31 PM on February 11, 2011


Using your example, it'd be as if Apple were selling iPads for $50 each, only there was a gang of thugs waiting at the port for the container to arrive and they drove off with it before a single Apple Store had one on their shelves.

I agree that that would be B.S. if that happened. I have no idea what happened in the LCD soundsystem case. Scalpers should not be able to hijack the primary marketplace for profit. I was just defending the fundamental economics behind arbitrage, not what happened in this specific instance.
posted by gagglezoomer at 3:32 PM on February 11, 2011


But are you saying that about everyone who thinks artists should be the ones rewarded when the market will bear a high price is an asshole, or just me?

No, I'm really just saying that not everybody sleeps with a copy of The Fountainhead under their pillow.

Look, I get that Murphy isn't Ian MacKaye, but the dude is clearly not out to charge people five hundred bucks to see his band's show. What are his motives? I don't know. But he clearly got played by the system, and seeing his twitter feed, they ain't exactly happy about it.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:45 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Supply and demand are ephemeral when a company gains fiat monopoly in a market. Ticketmaster is that company. Or didn't you know that?

That's irrelevant to the scalping discussion, though. Ticketmaster isnt the one setting prices at 10,000 or whatever. They actually sold them at the low price. The supply/demand issue is what motivated and enabled the scalpers, and drove the "real" price to consumers up.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:55 PM on February 11, 2011


TWF, I think the issue is that when the band sets the ticket to a lower price than what the audience is willing to pay, they are choosing to offer that surplus to the consumers, not to rent-seekers.

That's only true if the bands (or whoever is making the decisions regarding pricing) are somehow so clueless that they don't know about rent-seekers. If the band were consciously choosing to offer the surplus to the consumers, it would not have done so by playing a Madison Square Garden show billed as the final show and with tickets sold through Ticketmaster. Seriously.

The problems inherent in the current system are not inevitable. But I wonder whether this is a situation where the band simply is not the one calling all the shots or not making fully-informed decisions. Or maybe they're just not thinking it through.

Yes, if they're going to break up, then some show must be their last. They do not, of course, have to announce that the show will be their last. And they don't have to have that last show be at Madison Square Garden. Nor do they have to have that last show be in New York City.

My own pure speculation is that the band simply didn't think the whole thing through. The statement that this will be their last show was likely not a thoroughly-considered PR move. And they probably didn't think about wanting to avoid scalping until after the die was already cast. If they really were interested in making sure that their fans got to see the final show for a fair price, there were plenty of ways they could have done that - but they didn't do any of those things, which suggests to me that the ticket pricing was not a well-thought-out plan designed to be cool to the fans.

I get that Murphy is unhappy about the situation. And I don't blame him. I would probably feel the same way if I were him. But just a little bit of foresight and planning could have avoided a lot, if not all, of the problem. What really sucks is that deciding to break up a band and play a final show is a big emotional deal and this fiasco probably strikes right at a time when he wishes he could just not have to worry about a bunch of crap surrounding the show. Then you involve all the legal implications of the thing, the obligations to Ticketmaster, to ticketholders, the venue, etc. and it's a huge gordian knot that Murphy genuinely does not deserve to have to figure out how to cut.

But I maintain that the artist is the one who should be paid what the market will bear for the art. If the artist is not willing or able to do what's necessary to facilitate his fans paying what they want to pay for his art, I think that's a shame. Because somebody's going to make that money and it ought to be the guy who made the art.

And I also maintain that it is highly unlikely that the market will bear $10k per ticket rates for all those tickets and market forces, being what they are, will ultimately result in the tickets being sold for something much closer to what the market will bear but likely much higher than face value - which should have been set higher.

The real shame of it is that, because of the nature of scalping, there will certainly be empty seats in the venue and fans who would love to go and would have paid face value who don't get to go. That's a lot worse rip-off than whoever the moron is who willingly pays $10,000 for a floor seat.
posted by The World Famous at 4:04 PM on February 11, 2011


The supply/demand issue is what motivated and enabled the scalpers, and drove the "real" price to consumers up.

I think the unfairness come in though, as someone else pointed out above, when a scalping agency takes advantage of the band's decision to offer their tickets at less than market value to their fans because the band is trying to be awesome. I don't think that ticketmaster gets to set the prices.... yet. Look, if Joe Blow wants to buy a couple of LCD Soundsystem tickets and resell them on eBay to make a few bucks, that's fine. If some company deploys a bunch of bots to overtake Ticketmaster, then I think Ticketmaster needs to do something about that... or bands need to stop using ticketmaster.
posted by gagglezoomer at 4:05 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


still get caught in the fee trap now and then, but since moving to san francisco i'm pretty much spoiled by smaller acts in smaller venues. probably the largest in 15 years was gaga in 2009 at bill graham--probably the last time i see her, since i won't go near an arena show.

the bonus is that eight of my top ten favorite musicians are friends of mine, and i get to bake them cookies for the shows. (you never go wrong taking care of your musicians.)

so i say embrace your local music scene; if you don't have one, start one.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 4:10 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


LCD is our local music scene.

Or a great deal of it.
posted by functionequalsform at 4:20 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


functionequalsform: LCD is our local music scene.
Or a great deal of it.


Yeah, when I think of New York City I think "one or two break-out acts, but otherwise dead-as-shit, musically."
posted by paisley henosis at 4:35 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's the talk of "well the artist should just charge the upper limit of what fans are willing to pay" ... and logically and business-wise it makes sense. However, you have to realize what kind of artists LCD Soundsystem are. They aren't the types that just wants to maximize their profits. If they were, they'd be selling the things straight up at $100+ already. They are also successful, the band probably has made decent amounts of money.

So why do artists charge 20-40 instead of 2x/3x the cost? Accessibility. Just because a fan has more money they are willing to shell out for a ticket, doesn't mean they are a bigger or better fan, it just means they have more money. They make most of their money on other associated profitstreams anyway (merch, for example). They don't want to be seen as "selling out," either, so sometimes image has a portion to do with it.

But mostly, it gives a chance for all sorts of fans being able to afford the show. And an artist like LCDS is very concerned about good customer service (as noted them with trying to "fix" the scalping issue) and connection with their fans.
posted by xtine at 4:42 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the artist is not willing or able to do what's necessary to facilitate his fans paying what they want to pay for his art, I think that's a shame. Because somebody's going to make that money and it ought to be the guy who made the art.

Ehhhhh... I mean, I get what you're getting at, and it's a cute little package but it seems a bit naive of the context.

It seems to me, a resale agency is taking a much different risk than a promoter is. The promoter has to guess the final market value per ticket ahead of time, whatever the balance is between selling the most tickets at the highest value. The promoter/band are also creating a show that includes a certain-sized crowd for whatever additional marketing power it might have — they don't necessarily want to play for just 5 people, even if the upfront profit of playing for 5 people is greater than playing for 10,000. The reseller can adjust the price as they gauge the demand live: they can also recoup their investment off a few high-price tickets and just fill in their profits at the actual market price, which might be what the promoter guessed. They can also not sell 3/4 of their tickets and make money.

Basically, the resellers in this case are preying on the hardcore LCD Soundsystem fans who would want to fly in for the show and dicking over everyone in the process. LCD Soundsystem ain't Radiohead: the original pricing and quantity of tickets is pretty fair considering who they are.
posted by pokermonk at 4:43 PM on February 11, 2011


"one or two break-out acts, but otherwise dead-as-shit, musically."

What do you expect? All of our venues closed, and rent here is so astronomically high, you basically have to make six figures to move here.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 4:43 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


He added: "I pretty much guarantee 'fans' aren't pricing these tickets," calling the website "barely legal".

I think that's a different web site.

Also, I thought that this James Murphy had reinvented himself before I looked it up.
posted by ignignokt at 4:46 PM on February 11, 2011


Now I regret not seeing them at Big Day Out last month, though I did skip Rage Against The Machine to see them at another BDO. And i'm an unrepentant rockist. They're that good.
I often have extra tickets due to buying them and then getting review tickets. I never sell for more than cost price. It's out of respect for fellow fans. You love Gaslight Anthem enough to pay $100? You're my bro, and you should have the same opportunity to see them for $50 that I did.
I don't like non-transferrable tickets. Plans change.
Bands can't predict demand for tickets. It's an inexact science.
And seeing shows isn't a logical decision. I go to 3 gigs a week and I'm still going hungry this weekend 'cause of another festival. Sometimes you NEED to see a band
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:53 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Man. He's really losing his edge.

To better looking people, with better ideas, and more talent, but who were actually really really really nice.

It saddens me that in Losing My Edge, the song that basically launched LCD, James Murphy establishes his credibility as a musician by reeling off concerts he was at and scenes he was a part of. Whether he was actually there or not, I doubt a young emerging James Murphy could afford to attend LCD's final show, and it sounds like that fact is tearing him apart and he wants to make it right.

Maybe he'll make a joke about it at a reunion show a decade from now.
posted by clearly at 4:55 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


"will call is pretty tough @ a place that size is what i'm hearing. we're not used to such big venues, or selling out. sorry. workin' on it."

Grasping out straws, wonder how this will play out...
posted by Exchequer at 4:57 PM on February 11, 2011


All this talk of market value for tickets... It somehow strikes me as a bit off base.

It's not like artists charge "what the market will bear" for tickets because they are seeking to maximize their profits. There is a pretty long-standing social agreement about what concert tickets "should" cost. Remember when The Eagles went on their "Hell Freezes Over" tour, and it made headlines everywhere that they'd broken the $50/ticket barrier? I sure do.

Concert tickets are a strange thing. They are priced below market value, I think because there's an odd understanding in place between bands and fans that the evening will be something remarkable, and it will be had at a price which the Average Joe can afford, and it will still deliver despite the low price.

Some bands play with this formula. While a lot of acts charge huge amounts for SRO floor seats, other bands (U2, Pearl Jam) charge LESS for those tickets because they know that's where their fans want to be, and leave the higher priced tickets for those who are less rabid for the experience.

On the U2 360 tour, GA tickets were being sold for just over $50 ($70 after fees), while there are whole sections of the arena which are being sold in the $300/ticket range. And those who get the GA tickets are exactly the people that any band would want to have up close and reacting during the show, while those who pay more get great seats, but aren't really part of the small bit of audience which the band interacts with directly during the show.

I've read numerous concert reviews over the years where "industry standard" practices rule, and the first 10 rows of the floor are reserved for giveaway tickets or media, and I've read band reactions which are nothing but bitching about how the parts of the arena nearest them were nothing but people who really couldn't care less, while the truly enthusiastic were relegated to seats a long way from the action.

I don't really know how to solve this problem, but it's not something which is new. I've always treasured how concert tickets are priced. They're within my reach, and offer me an experience which is, for a concert fan such as myself, outstanding value for money. If $10K tickets become the standard "market value", I'll end up missing out on one of the main joys in my life, and people who regard concert attendance as a money-based status symbol rather than being fans of the band in question will be all that is left in the audience.

There are plenty of VIP packages offered for concerts these days which jack up the ticket price and add supposed value to the experience that can be purchased by the wealthy without shutting the little guy out of the experience. The little guy is, and has always been, the soul of the concert fandom experience. Excluding them will ultimately only cause the entire system to collapse, as people will cease to care about the shows at all. We'll finally be left with concerts being only the domain of the elite, and those of use who worship at the church of rock and roll will just be locked out in the cold.
posted by hippybear at 5:02 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


I would hardly call that grasping at straws. The band doesn't usually play venues this large (true), they don't usually sell out this quickly (true), and while this isn't really objective, I can't imagine that it'd be easy to organize a will call at a venue that fits 20,000 people.
posted by JimBennett at 5:02 PM on February 11, 2011


I think someone should build a ticket lottery system, if it hasn't been done before.

You mean the kind of lottery where you spend all night drawing trippy pictures on a bunch of envelopes, pop in money orders, and drop them in the mail to San Rafael?
posted by weebil at 5:04 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think someone should build a ticket lottery system, if it hasn't been done before.

Some festivals in Australia do this. They have multiple ballots, some for people who've been to the fest before.
Ironically, the second Sydney Big Day Out (with LCD) sold so badly they offered 2 for one tickets. This was literally two weeks ago
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:08 PM on February 11, 2011


I'm not sure how to feel about so many people on Metafilter favoriting someone calling me an asshole.
posted by The World Famous at 5:23 PM on February 11, 2011


They just posted this on their Facebook:
LCD Soundsystem
ok. this is happening. terminal 5 shows added before MSG show. link: http://tinyurl.com/fuckuscalper best i could come up with.

Love the url love.
posted by xtine at 5:28 PM on February 11, 2011




New York, I love you but you're bringing me down.
posted by clearly at 5:42 PM on February 11, 2011


New York, I love you but you're bringing me our webserver down.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:43 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The World Famous writes "I'm not sure how to feel about so many people on Metafilter favoriting someone calling me an asshole."

Turn favourites off and never feel ambivalent about them again.
posted by Mitheral at 5:53 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


There has got to be a special place in hell for TicketMaster. There cons are legion. Frankly, I have no idea how they get away with it.
posted by Skygazer at 6:33 PM on February 11, 2011


I'm not sure how to feel about so many people on Metafilter favoriting someone calling me an asshole.

Feel world famous, bro.
posted by Avenger50 at 6:35 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


More on the long goodbye.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:47 PM on February 11, 2011


Just to drop some positive ticket-selling-vibes into the thread, http://www.brownpapertickets.com/ are fantastic for small to medium venues.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:03 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


there cons are legion

Just like Sin City.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:20 PM on February 11, 2011


Yes, I love Brown Paper Tickets. I've only purchased through them once, but it was low fee, and part of the purchase went toward charity. I'd love to see them win more business.
posted by hippybear at 7:24 PM on February 11, 2011


I think someone should build a ticket lottery system, if it hasn't been done before.

You mean the kind of lottery where you spend all night drawing trippy pictures on a bunch of envelopes, pop in money orders, and drop them in the mail to San Rafael?


I got my 3x5 index card, and I'm already on the way to the post office. That'll be one postal money order for 181.25, please. Yes, just like the other 3 people in here this morning. Thank you...

Oh, and "Taper's or Anything"
posted by mikelieman at 7:26 PM on February 11, 2011


I used to work with a guy in the 90's whose band was on the rise - they sold out local venues, they got a gig to do a soundtrack for a locally produced science fiction movie (straight to DVD, but still...), they had their own label that was doing sorta-OK, and were working their asses off to be noticed by concert promoters, as that's where the real money was. It happened, and they were booked as the headliner to an open air concert with major sponsors.

Now, this guy was hard core Bob Dylan, and believed with all his heart Nirvana changed everything, and their music was this intense, moody, classic rock inspired and informed by grunge and industrial and early electronica. So, yeah, the promoter thought he could sell them as an awesome Darkwave band. My buddy and his bandmates show up in their t-shirts and jeans and sneakers, and are confronted by a sea of goths. Just, wall-to-wall Halloween. They were being railroaded by their promoter, shoved into a niche they wanted no part of, and they knew exactly how to handle it.

They played a long-ass set of Beetles, Zappa and Arlo Guthrie covers, until the Goths all rioted.

That's why he was working with me as a Windows admin, instead of touring with Type O Negative... "But man, it was worth it."

So, LCD Soundsystem has options if it chooses to use them.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:12 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure how to feel about so many people on Metafilter favoriting someone calling me an asshole.

I hate to say it, but you kinda were. James Murphy already makes enough money and he knows it, and it's kinda awesome that he isn't charging U2 prices for the concert. Saying stuff like:

The band should be mad that they weren't smart enough to charge market value to begin with so that they could have been the ones making the money.

Is simply acting like money is the most important thing, when Murphy thinks is more important that he charges a price he is comfortable with. Thats kinda assholey. I wouldn't begrudge Murphy if he charged what these tickets are actually worth (cause that would also be assholey), but I respect the fact that he doesn't.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:39 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who cares about LCD Soundsystem playing the Garden.

Daft Punk is Playing at My House
posted by Skygazer at 2:59 AM on February 12, 2011


And TicketMaster and StubHub can suck my big Daft Punk is Playing at My House cock cos they ain't getting one more penny from me.
posted by Skygazer at 3:13 AM on February 12, 2011


Card Cheat: In college, I used to get paid by a friend of a friend of a friend to stand in line for a wristband to shows I would have been caught dead at. I forget what he paid $20? $40? I'd get my wristband; he'd pay me; and when the tickets went on sale, he'd give me cash for tickets and sometimes lunch.

I've been really lucky, the last few years, that only one of the shows I've really wanted to see has been a Ticketmaster sell out in minutes clusterfuck. We got tickets (via stubhub) for only a couple hundred a piece, but the guy was quite late and the tickets were not in the 2nd row but the 8th. He gave us a portion of our cash back, but it was stressful. Luckily we were able to keep the unpleasantness of that interaction from ruining the evening and it was good show.

In contrast, we accidentally got great balcony seats the week before the XX show when we happened to walk past the Chicago Theatre and see their name on the marquee. We'd had no idea they were touring and didn't expect there to be tickets left. The old guy in the ticket booth was lovely to chat with, let us peruse the seating chart for a good long time, even knew the names of the opening acts (Zola Jesus and Warpaint) who were not listed on the tickets.

These are my anecdotes. They offer no solutions and have nothing to do with LCDS.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:55 AM on February 12, 2011


Slap*Happy, hmmm. I heard a similar story from a DJ friend of mine, this was way back in the 80s, he was known for beatmixing new wave and electronic dance music with old funk, and he was suddenly booked into the "wrong" crowd. As he looked out into the venue, he realized everyone was a skinhead. He wanted no part of a group of racist fans (considering his debt to James Brown), and spent the evening playing music they really would not like, like Sarah Vaughan and the aforementioned king of soul until..... they all started dancing.

See, he loved music and just wanted everyone else to love it unconditionally too.
posted by dabitch at 7:22 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The solution is to love bands very few other people do. Next month I'm going to see my very much adored Trash Can Sinatras, LITERALLY PLAYING AT SOMEONE'S HOUSE.
(take that, Daft Punk)

I'm paying an unheard of (for me) price of $100 per ticket, but only 50 tickets are being sold, and that includes a pre-show cocktail party the band is attending.
posted by the bricabrac man at 7:45 AM on February 12, 2011


Arbitrage happens.

I wonder if big acts could distribute tickets by lottery? Maybe pay $30 for a prerelease CD, along with a 10% chance of getting the opportunity to purchase a ticket to a show? This would be one way to raise the prices to market value without appearing greedy.
posted by miyabo at 10:11 AM on February 12, 2011


Ticketmaster is the master of ticketing bullshit. And they're the ones that the NY State Attorney General's office needs to go after and investigate like they've never been investigated before. But they're crafty as hell and there's a very small tight group who figures out all the strategy for each ticket con before hand and then presents it to it's organization minions (the poor fucks on the other end of the 800 line just doing their jobs).

They're like the mafia, and I wonder if the RICO Act could be used against them, I bet you it could, but they know rock fans aren't exactly a very important voting group for anyone in office, and I bet they've already given generously to any pol who has oversight into this.

From what I've seen over the years it's two main scams they pull, one is the most obvious and is their bread and butter and that's the imposing of ambiguous fees of varying crazy random amounts upon their service. That's "service." Not plural. They sell tickets if you can't get to the box office. Period. But they've somehow been able to create out of whole cloth all sorts of extras and special handling and shipping charges, not to mention they NEVER GIVE REFUNDS, EVER. They only way they'll give a refund is a band cancels and I'm pretty sure in that instance they rape the band(s) with all sorts of fines. What other service do you know of is that insistent on not giving refunds? They can re-sell the tickets to someone else right, take their fee (Twice even), but NO NOT TICKETMASTER. They answer to no one and they don't have too.

I don't know how many times I've gone to the Box Office at a place in NYC like Irving Plaza only to be told that there are "no more tickets," and to try online. So I go online and of course there are tickets. TM has them, they've only allowed a very small % of tickets to be sold from the box offices on the very first day or so, after a band announces a show. So I buy tickets through them and get charged a fee for the "premium service" or some vague shit like that, which means they gave me, the music consumer, the convenience of buying tix online. But if tickets were no longer being sold at the box office, and TM was the only option, what "premium service" are they talking about exactly? I've called and asked that question and have never received any sort of logical answer (because there is none).

So how can they do this? Well, they buy up any and every small company that is set to give them competition. Case in point LIVE NATION a ticketing and show promotion company that was started by Madonna. She set it up, let it run for a while and then fucked TM by making them buy her out, so they could retain their monopoly. Nice job Madonna, I'm sure she made a killing, but I don't exactly see her giving that money over to the millions, yeah millions, of music fans that have been ripped off by TM since the frickin' 70s.

One look at their history shows a pretty predictable picture of their main business strategies, which amount to swallowing up and neutralizing any competition to their domination of the ticketing industry and the their bread and butter: Scamming and raping rock and sports fans any and every possible way imaginable as frequently and thoroughly as is possible. (And that's not even hyperbole. I wish it was...)

Their main fears obviously and to some extent understandably are that the Web might make their services somehow redundant and cut them out of the loop (Oh, and they so...so...so deserve that. Please Lord, let it be so.) and the other, somewhat secondary, but still a biggy is that they, again due to the internet (i.e.: Services like StubHub), get cut out of the legal scalping of rare and prized tickets that reaps FABULOUS wealth when tix are marked up and resold for up to (any insane profit percentage will do here) 1000% the price on their face.

With this latest royal clusterfuck, they may have screwed the pooch. There is no way in hell, STUBHUB could have acquired as many tickets as it did in as short a time, without the complicity of either TM itself from the top brass working through a shell company (which would mean they've either already acquired STUBHUB, or are in the process of merging it into the TM in some manner that has a front to it, so as to keep from getting hit with an Anti-trust Laws), or someone in the IT department at Ticketmaster is working with StubHub, and gave it a golden key to it's servers for five minutes and just royally fucked over Ticketmaster, coming and going as they've never been fucked before. Oh that would be beautiful beyond words, truly it would. I'm a huge LCD fan, and I would forfeit seeing the band to see something like that happen. Is that evil of me??

But knowing TM and how EVIL, they are, I say there's fat chance of that. This is a smart company that plays it's cards absurdly close to its chest with a disciplined and thoroughly watched and scrutinized IT department, who would probably break the legs of someone who worked for them and pulled a beautiful scam like this, and throw him/her (or have their organized crime owners, yes, I think that's part of this), feed the dude or dudette to their pet lions.

So the only other option is StubHub, is history in every way but as a trademark at this point and is indirectly under the control of Ticketmaster, and they needed to test the system, test the boundaries of what they can get away with, and LCD got the winning "shit ticket" in the latest business move by the always despicable Ticketmaster Co.

And heck, I hope James Murphy stays safe and doesn't get fed to lions, cos that would suck, and he would seriously...very seriously...be losing his edge.

Anyhow, other big names have gone up against Ticketmaster, with the famous anti-trust suits brought by Pearl Jam in the early 90s, and Janet Reno the AG at the DOJ at the time dismissed it.

Honestly, who gives a fuck about the rock fans anyway?
posted by Skygazer at 12:29 PM on February 12, 2011


I am no defender of TicketMaster, but I am not sure this is 100% their fault. Yes, I stipulate that they charge bullshitly high fees for bullshitly low "service". But what if you knew that for this LCD show, only 1,000 of the 13,000 seats available actually went to TM? First, there was the band pre-sale which was handled poorly, although with good intentions. Then, they give American Express cardholders a shot at the tickets. Then, there are what they call the senate holders or season ticket subscribers. Before James Murphy goes all batshitinsane blaming everyone else for this fiasco, he should publish how many seats went on sale to the public through TM. Then publish the seats available in the house.

When bands tried to stop the scalping, they found that for most of them, they need the scalpers to buy up tickets. Some bands went paperless. Need to show up at the show with the credit card used to make the purchase and you are in. No, scalpers unless they were there escorting in their patrons. What did paperless prove. That a lot of these bands cannot sell out seats to just fans. Nope, they need the scalpers. If the band sells seats for $40 and a scalper buys op 10 of them, it costs him $400 and the band and promoter get their gate. But the scalper only has to sell 2 of them for $200 to breakeven. So the scalpers have taken over the risk of carrying the tickets.

Or the band could use a dutch auction method to sell tickets. Clear them at the price where every seat in that category would get sold. But maximizing ticket prices is not always in the band's best interest. As pointed out above, the band may have a guarantee so it does not care how many seats are sold or they may get a percentage of the gate. But most bands make a lot of money on the merch. Buying a $25 t-shirt may be worth more to the band than buying a $50 ticket. Depends on the negotiated percentages.

Another thought in the industry is to go to an all in ticket price. Damn disclosure of fees and just charge $70 all in instead of $50 plus fees. The consumer feels better about nor paying all the fees and the promoter can divy up the receipts as he sees fit.

But the real truth of the matter is is that few bands can sell out venues and get fans in the seats. I cannot tell you how many shows at SPAC I have been given tickets to that are good seats for free. Being friends with people in the business and their knowing I am willing to put my fanny in a seat along with a handful of my friends to help make the band look more in demand is a good thing for me. You would be surprised that the box office will negotiate ticket prices down in the hours before shows. I have been able to trade (about 45 minutes before showtime) lawn seats for the 8th row just so that it looks more sold out than it is. I have offered $40 for $200 seats when the show is about to start and had to wait for "manager approval" but gotten the seats for my price.

You want to go to that LCD show, the 'final' one at MSG? Here is how. Go to the Garden about an hour before show start time. Walk around near the front where the bug sign is. When scalpers offer you seats, ask how much? Whatever they say, say no thanks, but I am a $30 bid for those seats in case you cannot sell them. Tell them you will be right here in front until you either get seats or the show starts. I am willing to bet big money that the top dollar you will have to pay if you are patient is face value without the service fee bullshit. Or, look for the "fans" who have seats that their buddy from NJ bagged on them and asked them to sell and "get whatever you can". Bid them a little bit below face and tell them that is all you can pay. If you look like a fan and not a sleazy scalper, they will not want the hassle of trying to maximize profits by finding a higher buyer. I have even been given seats this way. The only way I pay a bump for seats or get them through TM is if I have to guarantee a seat to someone. Like if I promised to take my kids to a game or show. Then I cannot take the risk of being shut out.

Btw, this also works for sporting events. Want to go to Yankee Stadium and sit in a good seat in the bleachers or a good seat in the first few rows of the upper deck? It will cost you about $15-20 on stubhub.
posted by AugustWest at 3:05 PM on February 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Case in point LIVE NATION a ticketing and show promotion company that was started by Madonna. She set it up, let it run for a while and then fucked TM by making them buy her out, so they could retain their monopoly. Nice job Madonna, I'm sure she made a killing, but I don't exactly see her giving that money over to the millions, yeah millions, of music fans that have been ripped off by TM since the frickin' 70s.

Not disagreeing with the general point of your post, but I'm pretty sure this isn't true. Live Nation was spun off from Clear Channel, I thought. They didn't sign their deal with Madonna until a couple years after they were started.

Note that this probably makes them worse than it just being some random thing Madonna started!
posted by sparkletone at 7:15 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


A few people have mentioned putting peoples's names on tickets, like Glastonbury. This is fine, but if you suddenly find you can't go to the show, you're out of luck - there's no method to transfer tickets. (In the case of Glastonbury they put your photo on the ticket; so it's great in one sense - no touting - but it actually costs some real fans, if they can't go).

Seems like the best thing to do would be to allow returns (maybe with a cutoff point a few days before the show, to give the vendor time to sell the returned tickets). Or implement a face-value exchange website (there are a couple of authorised re-seller sites in the UK, but the prices are invariably three times face, or more). I have successfully used sites like last.fm and songkick.com (and fan websites) to buy/sell unwanted tickets, and prices tend to be face value.

(As an aside: I thought it was well known that LCD were splitting up? I'd seen Murphy talk about it for quite a while, and I was certainly under the impression that their London shows last year would be their last ever, here).
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:07 AM on February 13, 2011


(As an aside: I thought it was well known that LCD were splitting up? I'd seen Murphy talk about it for quite a while, and I was certainly under the impression that their London shows last year would be their last ever, here).

Not exactly. Murphy was always clear about it in interviews, but everyone always used the obvious over-dramatic headline. LCD isn't "breaking up" because in large part, it's the work of just one dude in the studio. He's pulling a Reznor, basically. There will be more LCD 12s and stuff, but he's done with the album-tour-album cycle. He wants to do more producing other people's records and dial LCD back to being a fun/casual side project.

The lesson: NME headlines are not to be trusted.
posted by sparkletone at 1:40 PM on February 13, 2011


It seems weird to bring up a toddler's group, but many years ago The Wiggles were very hot among kids and parents (the largest money makers of any entertainer from Australia--they may still be--my kids are older so I don't know). They announced a tour that included one day in San Jose. It quickly sold out and the tickets showed up on the corporate scalper sites for many hundreds of dollars (for a toddler's group!)

The Wiggles were disgusted, so they changed their schedule to include Sunday, and the following weekend in San Jose, thus making all these scalper's ticket values drop back to the original price, which made the tickets worthless for scalper profit.

They reworked the supply-demand equation.
posted by eye of newt at 9:40 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


A few people have mentioned putting peoples's names on tickets, like Glastonbury. This is fine, but if you suddenly find you can't go to the show, you're out of luck - there's no method to transfer tickets. (In the case of Glastonbury they put your photo on the ticket; so it's great in one sense - no touting - but it actually costs some real fans, if they can't go).

I see your point, but the number of gigs I have been unable to go to due to the tickets being sold out (like, a bazillion), far outnumbers the number of gigs I have bought tickets for but had to miss (zero), so this would not really be an issue for me.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:45 AM on February 14, 2011


I hate ticket sales bullshit. My wife and I don't see shows because the extra costs are ridiculous...

I don't know. I've always hated it. It's inevitable. You like a plucky little band, you see a bunch of shows and become a big fan. Then they move up to bigger venues and TicketMaster and what do you do? Sucks.

For me, I don't use TicketMaster (unless it's a gift for someone or something). I'll buy tickets directly from the box office when possible, buy from scalpers, or go to Bottom of the Hill.

No one has mentioned Stubmatic yet, but I suppose it's only viable for small venues that can check IDs.

At Bottom of the Hill, there are no paper tickets and no extra fees. You buy electronic tickets online, and then access the show with a photo ID. Works great. I can't see how scalping would work. (I'm also not sure how you'd give tickets as a gift ...)

Good points by AugustWest on the necessity of scalpers for some of these bands and venues. but...

I am willing to bet big money that the top dollar you will have to pay if you are patient is face value without the service fee bullshit

Start at $10 less than face value and do not budge (if the person is a professional). He will try to negotiate with several prices, each lower and lower, but just keep saying, "Sorry, I can only do $X.) Over 90% of the time I either get it at that price or come back in a few minutes to get it at that price.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:06 AM on February 14, 2011


Also, I originally pegged this comment as sarcastic, but maybe not ... ?

Yeah, when I think of New York City I think "one or two break-out acts, but otherwise dead-as-shit, musically."

There's plenty of good music coming out of NYC. Maybe I'm too old and/or less critical than you experts, but just looking through my digital library ...

Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Javelin, Akron/Family, Black Dice, Das Racist, Oneida, Japanther, Gang Gang Dance, Sleigh Bells, The Walkmen, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Xylos, Anamanaguchi, Liars ...

And that's just mainstream, commercial music. Jazz, funk, country, musical theater ... c'mon. I don't even like New York City, but somebody has to stand up against nonsense...

Rethinking again, the original comment has to be sarcastic. Well played.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:22 AM on February 14, 2011


It obviously was, but some people decided to come in and amplify it as though it was serious. Which is not a bad comico-rhetorical play, actually.
posted by grobstein at 8:57 PM on February 14, 2011


I see your point, but the number of gigs I have been unable to go to due to the tickets being sold out (like, a bazillion), far outnumbers the number of gigs I have bought tickets for but had to miss (zero), so this would not really be an issue for me.

Haha, irony alert: I have come down with a horrible chest infection and cannot go to a gig I had tickets for this evening. So, uh, put that "missed gigs" count up to 1, I guess.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:56 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The lesson: NME headlines are not to be trusted.

NME headlines? That's fighting talk sir! (OK, seriously - point taken. I realise LCD is basically just James and can't "split up", but I was certainly under the impression back last year that I wouldn't be able to see them again. Shame that their last London gig was at the most horrible venue in the city, the only one I've vowed never to visit again...)

EndsOfInvention: on balance I think your point still stands. Get well soon.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:03 PM on February 16, 2011


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