You may actually encounter other actual human beings
May 17, 2018 2:27 AM   Subscribe

What? Why? Physical World Presale? NIN decides that their upcoming tour will use only actual physical tickets, no online ordering (except in special cases). "Everything about the process sucks and everyone loses except the reseller. We’ve decided to try something different that will also likely suck, but in a different way. We’re hoping many of you will be happy with the results, while some may do what they always do and bitch about it."

Reznor’s decision to sell tickets in this manner is obviously not without precedent, with scalpers and ticket resale websites coming together frequently to attempt to ruin the concert experience of many punters by jacking up the prices to obscene levels. Amazingly though, Reznor has had to take to social media to make fans aware of the fact that tickets to these shows that are already showing up online don’t actually exist, as the sale does not begin for another week. Nine Inch Nails are set to release their new album, Bad Witch, on June 22nd.

The issue has been back under the spotlight of late (although it has never really left), with Midnight Oil putting extensive measures in place in an attempt to prevent their hugely-anticipated tour, their first in 15 years, from being impacted by scalping.
posted by I_Love_Bananas (105 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
THE PROMISE OF A WORLD MADE BETTER BY COMPUTERS AND ONLINE CONNECTIVITY HAS FAILED US IN MANY WAYS
posted by thelonius at 2:32 AM on May 17, 2018 [65 favorites]


discovering and defining the boundaries of the positive and negative effects of computers and online connectivity and then working to integrate these technological artifacts into a society in a way that mitigates their negative effects while allowing their positive ones space is one of the central projects of culture in the twenty-first century


I used only lower case to provide a pleasing contrast to thelonius's comment, which I intend to bookmark and use infrequently, but perfectly, in future decades to indicate that I was hip to the non-utopic view of tech before such a view was as mainstream as it will have been by the time I so quote.
posted by Fraxas at 2:39 AM on May 17, 2018 [29 favorites]


it's a quote
posted by thelonius at 2:44 AM on May 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


So OTOH this is awesome because fuck the modern live music ecosystem.

OTOH,
This paranoia turns to fear
Just who was whispering in your ear?
Pretending, but I know you hear
is an actual lyric from his last album.

Dude might have been well-advised to hang up his career about twenty years ago and leave poetry like this in the capable hands of actual teenagers.
posted by 7segment at 2:54 AM on May 17, 2018 [10 favorites]


Here’s how it works: you (an actual human being) show up at the box office, interact with the ticket seller (another actual human being) and purchase up to four tickets that will actually be handed to you on the spot,” he continues. “The tickets will not be available online or anywhere else before or during that day. All seats (including the best seats) will be available first come, first serve.

This does not sound like a good plan to stop scalpers.
posted by The River Ivel at 3:24 AM on May 17, 2018 [15 favorites]


I remember "camping out" for tickets in high school and having scary scalpers basically just force their way to the front of the line by being menacing.

Hey, it was the Grateful Dead (or Phish or similar), what were we going to do?
posted by Literaryhero at 3:25 AM on May 17, 2018 [11 favorites]


Yeah, well
Head like a hole
Black as your soul
I'd rather die
Than give you control
was probably independently composed in the private diaries of at least eleven different unhappy fifteen-year-olds at the same time, yet the resulting song is an absolute classic. Can't judge NIN on the strength of lyrics alone.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:26 AM on May 17, 2018 [37 favorites]


Yeah, lyrics aren't poetry and shouldn't be judged as such. Maybe they're nonsense, maybe reading them is fucking embarrassing because if how bad they are, but that doesn't mean they can't sound awesome in a song.

That being said, this will do nothing to stop scalpers. Scalpers will be the only source of online sales with this model, and a lot of people will want to order a ticket instead of camping out. You want to stop scalpers, you need to do something that stops all resale, like require a name to be provided to be printed on the ticket, and only the person whose name is printed on the ticket can use it (to be verified with formal ID). There are many reasons why people don't generally go down that route. But that is the only real way to stop scalping (and you'll still have scalpers, you'll just end up with desperate fans trying to get in with a ticket that isn't 'theirs').
posted by Dysk at 3:36 AM on May 17, 2018 [11 favorites]


NO LINEUPS BEFORE 8AM

I wonder how they plan to enforce that rule. I also predict an informal queue forming about... 50 feet from the ticketing window.
posted by Laotic at 4:04 AM on May 17, 2018 [17 favorites]


> You want to stop scalpers, you need to do something that stops all resale, like require a name to be provided to be printed on the ticket, and only the person whose name is printed on the ticket can use it (to be verified with formal ID).

This is the process many smaller touring acts use, somewhat. First ticket sales are only available through the artist's website, are picked up at the window before the show and require the ID of the buyer whose name is on the card. Anything not sold on the first two days goes to general sale through the usual monopsony.

There are also problems with this model: It limits the audience to grown-ups with their own bank accounts and credit cards (admittedly kind of a non-issue for many performers, but a dealbreaker for some) or the expectation that your audience will have very patient parents or friends. It also means anybody who bought good tickets with the best of intentions take a loss if they can't make the show, and the seats stay empty.

I also suspect it's mostly viable for acts that do shows larger or smaller than a certain middling size. The technical and financial infrastructure will be cost-prohibitive for performers that are just starting out or only work small venues. For performers that do large arenas, scaling up in a way that can handle the high bursts of traffic when tickets are released is proportionally expensive too. There are turnkey services available to cover these scenarios but most of them are from the same companies that you, as a performer trying to maintain your fanbase, are jumping through these hoops to minimize the use of.
posted by ardgedee at 4:12 AM on May 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


That's actually slightly different to what I was describing, and still allows touting: the ID requirement is per sale, not per ticket, so a tout can buy multiple lots of four tickets, sell three of them at a huge markup, and enter the venue with his three customers (helpfully producing his card to verify that he was indeed the person who bought that group of tickets) and then step outside, and repeat. You need a system that assigns names for each individual ticket. And yes, any system that makes resale impossible will make 'legit' resale just af impossible as touting.
posted by Dysk at 4:18 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


(Whereas requiring you to just provide names at time of purchase does not require anyone to have back cards. You could pay cash and have the ticket made out to Mickey Mouse in this model, you'd just struggle to use the ticket for anything unless you had done form of ID in that name. You can buy tickets for your friends - buy three tickets, give us three names. One name printed on each ticket. Three IDs required to use the three tickets. I've seen it done by smaller DIY bands for very small shows, and it actually works alright, but it does prevent even the most innocuous ticket resale).
posted by Dysk at 4:22 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Another way to stop scalpers would be to sell tickets at actual market value. But nobody seems to do that. I'll understand some day. No doubt there are economics PhD dissertations on the subject somewhere.

As a fan your best bet is to steer clear of such shows entirely. Don't spend $100+ for a show in a big venue with poor acoustics where the musicians are virtually invisible without the help of video screens. Somewhere in your town this weekend there's likely an opportunity to experience a better performance up close for free or close to it.
posted by floppyroofing at 4:25 AM on May 17, 2018 [23 favorites]


Another way to stop scalpers would be to sell tickets at actual market value.

Market value is different to different people. Maybe 80% of your fanbase is willing to pay forty bucks for a ticket, but they're also willing or able to queue or stay on hold on the phone for half an hour at the appropriate time. Touts are relying on people with more money than time, who might not be willing or able to queue, but are willing to pay a hundred, two hundred bucks for a ticket. Maybe they make up 20% of your audience, say. So you can sell all your tickets at forty bucks (let's say there are a thousand tix) and make forty grand. Or you can price your tickets at a hundred bucks, and sell twenty percent of them for a total takings of twenty grand (and a less happy band and tour manager, who now only have one fifth the audience to play and sell merch to). The former is better business sense in a lot of situations, even if it does mean giving up the sixty bucks difference on the twenty percent of tickets to touts.
posted by Dysk at 4:40 AM on May 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


sell tickets at actual market value

I get the impression that some artists want their fans to be able to attend their shows without spending a week's wages on the tickets. The market isn't everything, and sometimes it makes sense to take measures to defeat it in favor of more important priorities.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:41 AM on May 17, 2018 [20 favorites]


*sigh.* Unsurprisingly, both the articles and the discussion are focused on absolutes - "stop" scalpers - when in reality the plans are about reducing the ease with which scalpers can conduct wholesale large scale operations. Because that's a huge problem - some dude with a bot and 10 email addresses and 10 credit cards snags 400 tickets online the second they go on sale without even having to get out of bed, ten guys like that and suddenly almost half the seats in a 10k arena are gone to scalpers, who have multiple "legitimate" outlets to sell the tickets for whatever they want to. Making actual humans buy actual tickets and (as in Midnight Oil's plan) reducing scalpers' outlets and time window to resell tickets are ways to attempt to get more tickets in the hands of fans at face value. NIN admit themselves that it's not a perfect solution, but seems to me like it's worth a shot.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:51 AM on May 17, 2018 [27 favorites]


For as long as there have been tickets, there have been ticket scalpers. (Citation omitted) The best anyone can do is limit the scalpers' access to tickets and limit the amount of scalp they can take. The small acts and their ticket practices described above are not the targets of professional scalpers and certainly aren't practical for arena sized shows. Big tours have faced this dilemma for decades. I applaud The Oils for taking extra measures in support of the average fan.
posted by MorgansAmoebas at 4:55 AM on May 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


I remember "camping out" for tickets in high school and having scary scalpers basically just force their way to the front of the line by being menacing.

That didn't happen around here, but the scalpers would, in order of preference, (1) Bribe the TM location owner to run off the first 40 or so tickets for him. (2) Hire people to stand on line, and (3) work the head of the line, identifying people who aren't maxing out, and ask them to get the extras for you.

As a fan your best bet is to steer clear of such shows entirely. Don't spend $100+ for a show in a big venue with poor acoustics where the musicians are virtually invisible without the help of video screens. Somewhere in your town this weekend there's likely an opportunity to experience a better performance up close for free or close to it.

We have a venue around here, The Egg. ( Center for the Performing Arts
at the Empire State Plaza ) Two theaters. 980 seats and 440 seats. You could have seen Melissa Etheridge, for example, solo acoustic a few years for face value $100 in the front row by just ordering when they went on sale
posted by mikelieman at 4:57 AM on May 17, 2018


"Market value is different to different people."

So you need some kind of price discrimination to maximize revenue. Airlines and scalpers manage it, why can't ticket sellers?

"I get the impression that some artists want their fans to be able to attend their shows without spending a week's wages on the tickets."

Has anyone actually figured out how to do that? Sounds like at best you manage to convert "can afford a week's wage" to "can afford to stand in line overnight" or "figured out how to automate the online ticket scramble". Which may privilege different demographics, OK. I wonder *how* different actually?
posted by floppyroofing at 4:57 AM on May 17, 2018


Yeah, this is definitely in the "make it a hassle and the criminals mostly stop" arena. Like locks on doors. If you've ever called a locksmith you know that a competent professional with basic tools can access a typical door lock in mere minutes at worst. However, leaving your door locked makes you many, many times safer from burglary than you would be leaving your door unlocked; the minor increase in difficulty and inconvenience dissuades huge swaths of bad actors (many of whom are not particularly interested in becoming competent or professional, which is why they became bad actors.)

Hell, you can see the effect right here on MetaFilter. The five dollar barrier to entry keeps out a huge amount of the typical Internet vermin, because the hassle of paying even that paltry amount is far too much trouble for them to go to get their jollies. (And the stellar moderation does the rest, obv. ;-) )
posted by Scattercat at 4:59 AM on May 17, 2018 [18 favorites]


Scalpers don't manage to do price discrimination as such. They charge one high price, and rely on scarcity. Price discrimination is generally super unpopular with customers, and is not likely to win a venue or ticketing company many friends or fans.
posted by Dysk at 5:01 AM on May 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


ID-attached tickets are the only way to completely prevent ticket scalping. That's how it works for discounted club member tickets for sports around here - Tickets are generally half than they are to the public, but you need the corresponding sócio card to enter the stadium. There were also student-discounted tickets you needed a valid school ID to enter. The only scalpers are on big games (although police has looked the other way with people selling at face value, they go hard after people trying to make a profit on the venue, so that has moved to facebook, although they have done stings there) or occasionally kids from the main Ultra group selling their unsold tickets on the cheap.

Of course, any industry-wide meaningful attempt to do this won't happen because the large booking/ticketing companies also run their own scalping operations on the low and recouping a lot of money by selling part of the venue's capacity in seconds to scalping bots is a good way of not being burned by anything less than ¾ capacity.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:16 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Another way to stop scalpers would be to sell tickets at actual market value.

The obvious answer is that the acts aren't looking to maximize revenue from any particular concert but instead, maybe, to maximize overall revenue from all streams over a long term. And publicly being dicks to your fans by transparently gouging them is not really the way to do that. Even beyond that, there are surely lots of already-successful acts that aren't even particularly looking to maximize revenue at all because playing to your actual fans while getting a decent profit is probably way more fun than playing to a bunch of especially-rich pinheads with nothing better to do that night.

As an external observer, it's also the case that many acts will face a problem (to us, not them) of fans whose valuation of the tickets is substantially higher than their ability to pay. The market only cares about ability to pay and will deliver tickets to whoever is willing to pay the most; this will be inefficient if there are people whose valuation is higher than the ticket-purchasers' valuation but who can't pay that price. The simple fact that lots of tickets don't get scalped implies that there are lots of people who bought $40 tickets who were unwilling to sell them for $100, so we can expect that this is common.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:18 AM on May 17, 2018 [12 favorites]


Well, you know, fuck StubHub. But I don't see this as a digital vs physical issue, except in the sense that StubHub Silicon Valley-"disrupted" regular-ass scalping by moving it off the street outside the venue and onto a website.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:19 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Just wanted to say that I’m delighted by the frequent use of the word “tout” in this thread because it always reminds me of one of my favourite lines from Archer.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:21 AM on May 17, 2018


I don't understand why they couldn't just have your name printed on the tickets like the last few tours and require photo ID and the credit card to enter the venue. Limit of 2 tickets per person, and if you left the venue you weren't allowed back in.

NIN isn't coming anywhere near where I live, but I still would have been able to purchase tickets using the old system.
posted by exolstice at 5:24 AM on May 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


It [no resale] also means anybody who bought good tickets with the best of intentions take a loss if they can't make the show, and the seats stay empty.

You could just offer refunds (minus a small handling fee) and resell the ticket yourself, at face value.
posted by Dysk at 5:38 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


"Scalpers don't manage to do price discrimination as such. They charge one high price, and rely on scarcity."

Huh. Maybe I just don't understand how the de facto ticket-selling system currently works. I had the impression the original ticket seller released tickets at a lower-than-market price, some bought by fans (either lucky or using some kind of automation), most bought up by some weird network of resellers, and those resellers then sold at prices that could fluctuate wildly by time and seat number. So, I lumped all those resellers together as "scalpers" (probably incorrect on my part as they may well be legal and/or even in some close business relationship with the original seller), and assumed they're doing some kind of price discrimination.

"And publicly being dicks to your fans by transparently gouging them is not really the way to do that."

If selling at below-market prices means predictably requiring most of your fans to deal with resellers then I don't see how you dodge the blame.

Even if you succeed, at best you've turned ticket buying into a lottery or something that requires a large time investment, and I bet a lot of fans hate those too.

"require photo ID"

Have you seen the lines to get into these things?
posted by floppyroofing at 5:56 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


> That's actually slightly different to what I was describing, and still allows touting: the ID requirement is per sale, not per ticket

That's how what I described works. When I buy tickets for myself and my partner, I'm the only one who has to present an ID at the window. Same would apply if I bought more than two tickets.
posted by ardgedee at 5:57 AM on May 17, 2018


I recall a company trying to do this in Scotland a number of years ago.

It didn't work for a number of reasons, but it seemed like a positive step. I myself remember going to a Malcolm Middleton gig in Sydney in 2008 and gaining entry by presenting the card I had used to buy the ticket online. Selling only physical tickets didn't stop the touts (scalpers) back in the day. I can't see that it will now.
posted by 1head2arms2legs at 5:58 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Have you seen the lines to get into these things?

Some of the larger shows I've been to required photo ID and searched everyone. Security confiscated an LED keychain flashlight from me at a TOOL show for some reason (while plenty of lighters, and pot, got through).
posted by Foosnark at 6:01 AM on May 17, 2018


I'm a huge Pearl Jam fan as some of you know (Hi Hippybear) and they sell fan club tickets thru their website. and they are able to do it at scale. Yes some people have a problem with the lottery system (you select what shows you want, enter your CC info and if they select you you get the tickets.) They limit 2 tickets per show and you pick them up at will call with a ID. I know Ive been pretty ok with this system and with the scale they are doing it seems best.
Ticket pricing on the other hand I have a problem with. They are doing 5 shows this later summer. All baseball stadiums, and tickets are well over $130 each. I actually had to bow out this tour. I just couldnt afford to do it. Its a shame too.
posted by ShawnString at 6:06 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


There was also a very good podcast on this topic on Freakonomics radio last December.
posted by Laotic at 6:08 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


This isn't the first time Nine Inch Nails have taken decisions to limit the damage done by resellers; back in 2009, Reznor explained what the deal was with their unusual pre-sales, and how they were deliberately not getting into the reselling market like many other acts:
...
NIN gets 10% of the available seats for our own pre-sale. We won a tough (and I mean TOUGH) battle to get the best seats. We require you to sign up at our site (for free) to get tickets. We limit the amount you can buy, we print your name on the tickets and we have our own person let you in a separate entrance where we check your ID to match the ticket. We charge you a surcharge that has been less than TicketMaster’s or Live Nation’s in all cases so far to pay for the costs of doing this – it’s not a profit center for us. We have essentially stopped scalping by doing these things – because we want true fans to be able to get great seats and not get ripped off by these parasites.
...
He gets a lot of respect from me for this.

PS the special measures for the 2018 tour are again about a limited number of presale tickets; the FAQ ends with him explaining:
What if I can’t make it to the physical world presale? Will I have any opportunity to buy tickets online?
Yes, limited quantities of tickets will be available for sale via all normal ticket purchasing channels, including online, at a later date (to be announced).
posted by vincebowdren at 6:08 AM on May 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


"Some of the larger shows I've been to required photo ID and searched everyone."

Fair enough! So, I guess it's possible. I wonder if it's just a matter of policy, or whether there's some physical or other limitations that make that difficult for some venues.

"The simple fact that lots of tickets don't get scalped implies that there are lots of people who bought $40 tickets who were unwilling to sell them for $100, so we can expect that this is common."

That's an interesting observation! But wouldn't that also be consistent with the hypothesis that they'd be willing and able to pay the higher ticket price and are just happily pocketing the $60 windfall?
posted by floppyroofing at 6:09 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


GCU Sweet and Full of Grace: As an external observer, it's also the case that many acts will face a problem (to us, not them) of fans whose valuation of the tickets is substantially higher than their ability to pay. The market only cares about ability to pay and will deliver tickets to whoever is willing to pay the most; this will be inefficient if there are people whose valuation is higher than the ticket-purchasers' valuation but who can't pay that price.

Yep. Markets can maximize utility if everyone has the same wealth. The more inequality there is, the worse the market does.
posted by clawsoon at 6:09 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


(2) Hire people to stand on line

This was a very common way to make a quick $20 or score a free ticket when I was in high school (late 80's-early 90's.)
posted by Cyrano at 6:11 AM on May 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


Security confiscated an LED keychain flashlight from me at a TOOL show for some reason (while plenty of lighters, and pot, got through).

TSA at Logan Airport, about 2003, was very concerned about mine. You squeezed it, and it lit up. Called another guy over to look at it and all. Finally I said, look, it's a $2 flashlight I bought at CVS, just take it, and then they let me keep it. I wonder what it is about this gadget that arouses the distrust of the petit authority figure?
posted by thelonius at 6:23 AM on May 17, 2018


some may do what they always do and bitch about it."

Reznor talking about people whining? Pot, allow me to introduce you to Nine Inch Kettle.
posted by haileris23 at 6:27 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Another way to stop scalpers would be to sell tickets at actual market value. But nobody seems to do that.

So you need some kind of price discrimination to maximize revenue. Airlines and scalpers manage it, why can't ticket sellers?

It feels like you're kind of misunderstanding the problem, here. Original ticket sellers, whether the venue box office or Ticketmaster (arguably) or the local record store, are selling the tickets at "maximum revenue", given the reality that if you start out by offering nosebleed seats at a thousand dollars nobody's going to buy tickets in the first place. The question of "how many people will realistically pay how much to see this band?" is a factor in every single show everywhere, even for the $5 local show at the nearest hole in the wall. People are paying a thousand dollars a ticket because scalpers have bought so many tickets that there's nothing left, so a fan can either pay through the nose to a scalper or just not go to the show.

And bands want actual warm bodies in the seats over a "sold out" show with half the seats empty because, 2) otherwise, what's the fucking point? - touring can kinda suck even if you're NIN or Midnight Oil and it's way more fun to play for a packed house; and 1) merch sales are a huge (no, HUUUUUUUUUUUGE) income stream for live acts, often the difference between making a profit on the tour or not. Part of this is because of how live show contracts work - a band gets a guaranteed fee plus a percentage of the ticket sales over a certain dollar amount/number of tickets sold, and even if you get into points the money is almost certainly less than you'll make selling T-shirts at $35 a pop.

Maybe I just don't understand how the de facto ticket-selling system currently works. I had the impression the original ticket seller released tickets at a lower-than-market price, some bought by fans (either lucky or using some kind of automation), most bought up by some weird network of resellers, and those resellers then sold at prices that could fluctuate wildly by time and seat number. So, I lumped all those resellers together as "scalpers" (probably incorrect on my part as they may well be legal and/or even in some close business relationship with the original seller), and assumed they're doing some kind of price discrimination.

Yeah, no. What's being talked about is that scalpers are buying tickets from legitimate sources at face value - they're paying the same price as "regular" fans - and then using middleman websites like StubHub (it used to be ebay or Craigslist, probably still is to some extent) to resell those tickets at whatever price they can get. They're kind of gambling, hoping that ticket scarcity (which is often largely caused by these scalpers buying up tons of tickets, which can be easy to do with online ticket sales) plus enthusiastic fans means a face-value $60 ticket will sell for $100 or more. (Numbers pulled out of my butt.) Yes, the prices will fluctuate by time and seat number, but that's a decision made by the individual scalper.

Scalping is often illegal or borderline illegal, depending on your jurisdiction. And there are some legitimate situations where the promoter or venue will offer tickets at a discount to be resold at a higher than face value price; like a charity non-profit getting a batch of tickets for a discount and then selling/auctioning them off, but that's a small percentage of tickets and almost always clearly explained by the reseller and understood by the buyer. And there's also often a small scalping market where bands/promoters/venues set aside a certain number of tickets for free distribution to friends and family, and those tickets often wind up getting sold even though they're not supposed to be, but, again, that's a tiny percentage of total tickets.

The problem that these bands are trying to address is that online ticket sales from original sellers (who put little to no effort into determining if the buyer is a scalper or not) plus middleman websites like StubHub (who are all "¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Who, us? We're just helping to connect fans to other fans, man. It's not our responsibility to regulate the market; if someone wants to sell a ticket for a thousand dollars and someone else wants to buy it that's on them." equals ticket scalping can now happen at a sort of industrial scale and with massive profits in a way that wasn't really possible not all that long ago.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:40 AM on May 17, 2018 [11 favorites]


I wonder what it is about this gadget that arouses the distrust of the petit authority figure?
Making sure it's not a laser pointer?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:44 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


FYI, this is how we did it back in the day...
posted by mikelieman at 6:46 AM on May 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


soundguy99: But why doesn't the band just put them on ebay? Say 6 tiers from front row seats to nose bleed. Some minimum price and let the people go at it.

Has any band tried that?

If they went way over their target revenue they could handout merch at the door.
posted by bdc34 at 6:50 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


What sucks about this from my perspective is that I live in Eastern WA and so most of my bigger concerts involve traveling to another city. Trent is sort of demanding that I schedule TWO trips to see him in concert this time around -- once to buy tickets and once again to attend the show.

I was just in Vegas to see U2 and they had a system that involved signing up with a verified identity before buying tickets and then either using an app on your phone or swiping the card you used to buy the tickets to get in. It seemed simple enough to me.

NIN has, in the past, done the "print your name on the ticket" thing. They would require you show an ID at will-call on the day of the show and then show that ID again when entering the venue. Anyone who was coming to the show with the ticket purchaser had to enter with the purchaser. That also seemed simple enough.

I don't know if I'll be seeing NIN on this tour (sadness!) because i'm not sure what the logistics are for someone who might fly 1000 miles to see a show to get tickets.
posted by hippybear at 6:50 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I get that there could be a tradeoff between maximizing revenue and filling every seat and can see why it could be to the band's advantage (for both monetary and non-monetary reasons) to choose the latter. (The merchandising factor is interesting, thanks!)

But I don't see how a marketplace dominated by a lot of smaller-time scalpers would end up on the "maximizing revenue" side. With one single seller, you've got monopoly power and could opt to hold out for a revenue-maximizing price at the risk of leaving seats empty. If you're one smaller seller among many, you don't have the power to drive scarcity and ticket prices and I bet you'll always be better off selling your last ticket at whatever price you can get.
posted by floppyroofing at 6:57 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


soundguy99: But why doesn't the band just put them on ebay? Say 6 tiers from front row seats to nose bleed. Some minimum price and let the people go at it.

Sorry, I don't quite get what you're asking here. Why doesn't the band put what on ebay? Do you mean, like, sell a certain number of tickets themselves at auction to maximize revenue?
posted by soundguy99 at 6:59 AM on May 17, 2018


ID-tagged tickets is one way to limit scalping. I know that some events do this and if you want to sell your ticket, you can only sell it back to the issuer, who can then put it back in the pool of available tickets.

Another way to reduce the effects of scalping is to issue tickets gradually, so that at least a few face-value tickets are (more or less) always available for sale. There are obviously problems with this when demand greatly exceeds supply.

Perhaps the most effective way is to require payment in cash or cash-equivalent. The basis of large-scale scalping is buying tickets on credit and selling them before you have to actually pay the bill. Obviously this creates a lot of additional work for buyer and seller, but is not impossible.
posted by adamrice at 7:02 AM on May 17, 2018


As a regular concert-goer, scalpers are the bane of my existence, and I know they’re a bane for a lot of medium to medium-large bands and artists. LCD Soundsystem, for example, has been very cross about scalpers and resellers, and they’ve done a few things to make it easier and saner for fans to get tickets. At least when I’ve gone to see them at Brooklyn Steel (a venue which James is an investor in) they’ve booked multiple nights, insisted that the face value of the tickets include all fees, and on their recent stand, did e-ticketing only, so you only got your ticket the day of the show.

The only problem I have with Nine Inch Nails’s plan is that some of us have day jobs, damn it, and can’t get in line to buy tickets.
posted by SansPoint at 7:06 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


In the early-mid 90s, there was actually a hack you could use to get great concert tickets for relatively little money. In those days, the idea was that when a concert like NIN went on sale, you were supposed to call in to the local Ticketmaster office, or maybe visit a record store or grocery (yes, grocery) that was authorized to sell Ticketmaster. So either you hoofed it out to the store to wait in line, and hoped there decent seats by the time you made it to the front. Or you called the local number over and over hoping to get through at one of those magical seconds when it wasn't busy and then you got tickets.

Except that wasn't what I did. I had a trick that used to work perfectly. Any Ticketmaster office could sell tickets to any Ticketmaster event. And most big name college sports teams sold their tickets via Ticketmaster and thus had their own offices. So when the NIN tickets went on sale at 9 am, you could skip the lines at the counters, bypass the busy signal at the local number, and make a single long distance call to the bored clerk with his feet up at the Ticketmaster office at some random college arena. Your call would go right through, they'd get you the best available seats, and oh yeah, at 9:01 am, those were pretty freaking good.

That's how, with minimal effort, I saw NIN from the fifth row of a show that sold out in minutes in 1993.

So yeah, the internet ruined ticketing in my opinion, too. But only because it killed my hack.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:07 AM on May 17, 2018 [21 favorites]


My old TicketMaster trick was to call at 8:45 and ask for tickets for a different show that was pretty much sold out. You spend 15 minutes on the phone with the agent asking for different impossible combinations ("could I get 5 on the floor? No? How about 3 together in the 200s? Nothing there either?").

Then at 8:59:59 you say "you know what, I give up. Forget the Rolling Stones. Is there anything available for U2?"
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:11 AM on May 17, 2018 [17 favorites]


My old TicketMaster trick was to call at 8:45 and ask for tickets...

Also, office phone systems with multiple outgoing lines. Just hammer the fuckers from T-10 until you get through.
posted by mikelieman at 7:15 AM on May 17, 2018


So it will be more inconvenient for a regular concertgoer to acquire the tickets, and that will cut down on scalping? Yeah, I'm not sure about that.

Price control for scalping is pretty straightforward. You charge a very high price, and people who think the experience is worth the cost will buy the tickets. Scalpers might still buy some for reselling...but if you've priced correctly, they will be in a high risk/low reward position on moving those tickets. Isn't that a big part of why Hamilton is so expensive? They jacked prices way, way up when they realized scalpers were grabbing everything anyway. And then they added extra lottery seats. It's very depressing to think that that's the best path forward, but at least the "correctly priced tickets" model sends the extra money to the people who are creating or funding the show...

The problem is that most people depend on their audience to also be fans, and fans don't like it when you seem transparently greedy by suddenly tripling your concert ticket prices. WSJ had a piece on Taylor Swift's not-sold-out, very profitable tour. (I seem to recall that she limited buyers by forcing them into the sort of time-wasting activities that only 13-year-olds have time for.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:18 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


NIN are one of those that decided to give their music away for free. Like Radiohead and U2, and all those other tiny indie bands that get to the gig in their mom's minivan.

It's the same kind of empty gesture you can only do if you're a squillionaire that DGAF about money.
posted by adept256 at 7:35 AM on May 17, 2018


Midnight Oil's plan is illegal in Virginia, where you can't prevent people from reselling tickets on the platform of their choice, but it doesn't look like they're playing there anyway.

I only know this because I teach legal research and I've used researching state and local ticket scalping laws as an assignment. It's a good assignment, everybody is interested in ticket scalping. Plus the laws are always changing.
posted by interplanetjanet at 7:36 AM on May 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


"It's the same kind of empty gesture you can only do if you're a squillionaire that DGAF about money."

More likely your business organization (which *does* care even if you don't personally) has figured out that there's more money in that strategy.
posted by floppyroofing at 7:38 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


could opt to hold out for a revenue-maximizing price at the risk of leaving seats empty.

You charge a very high price, and people who think the experience is worth the cost will buy the tickets.

Because there's a point at which your "revenue-maximizing price" is still less money than you would actually collect selling lots of tickets at a 10% (or whatever) profit, and there is a point at which the price is so high that no-one will actually think the experience is worth the cost. And there is absolutely no rule for what that price is. Probably some economists have come up with some theoretical equations to describe where that point might be, given a bazillion variables.

All this theoretical price maximizing does no good if people don't actually plunk down money. This is pretty basic capitalist economics - selling a lot of units of something for a small profit per unit is totally a standard and legitimate business practice. Sure, Ford could try selling just two Explorers a year at $50 million apiece, but they're doomed if no-one actually buys them, and (supposedly) they were making $4000 profit per Explorer back in 2001. In 2017 they sold 271,131 Explorers and 271,131 times $4000 is holy fuck a lot of money.

If you're one smaller seller among many, you don't have the power to drive scarcity

Individually, no. Collectively? Yes. And that's the situation at hand.

With one single seller, you've got monopoly power

This was the basis of the Ticketmaster wars back in the 90's, and the monopolistic powers of Live Nation and AEG are the topic of much grumbling in the industry and also lawsuits. Somewhat a different topic.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:40 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Another way to stop scalpers would be to sell tickets at actual market value.

It is obviously true that there's no way for a band selling tickets to overcome societal economic inequality where a small percentage of your fanbase has buying power of over 100x that of the majority of your fans. I doubt any band would disagree, whether they're trying these various schemes or not. I also think many of these bands would suggest that just because none of the schemes will work all that well is a good argument for instead using a scheme where nobody but the upper top percent earners should be able to get into a venue and see them live.

Also, as floppyroofing mentions, they may be aware that their overall success would be lower if they maximized their return in this one area.

tl;dr: Rage Against the Machine doesn't want to play shows where only their Paul Ryan type fans are in attendance.
posted by phearlez at 8:02 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I only buy my tickets from Rousseau
posted by fallingbadgers at 8:18 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ticketmaster has ticket resellers on its own site, which is sure something.
posted by palindromic at 8:34 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I can see surrogate ticket "holders" hired by resellers for the primo front row seats. Show up and walk you in past "security" check with their ID, disappear.

Grump: A local venue used to release all tickets for the entire "season" of concerts at a specific time via the internet. I'd pick three acts I wanted to see, log in right to the second, and get great front area seats. I did this for years and would take various friends and family.

But the last time I did it, all of the decent seats were gone right when I attempted to purchase online. I found out later that the venue had "pre-sold" seats to the scalpers/resellers. In other words, they had sold out. I can see how tempting that would be for the venue/band/company: "Hey, we will buy all the seats, pay right now, you won't have all this messy online charge and fees and printing/sending tickets, no ticketmaster/middleman costs, just sell us all 500/1000 seats now!"

Compare that to what it must cost to do the method mentioned in this article....
posted by CrowGoat at 8:47 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I wonder if a staged sales model would work.
T-2 months: tickets go on sale at 2X the reasonable ticket price.
T-1 month: remaining tickets go on sale at 1.5X reasonable price.
T-2 weeks: remaining tickets go on sale at 1X reasonable price
T-1 week: remaining tickets go on sale at half price

The only way to make money scalping would be to ensure an initial sellout; otherwise, the venue undercuts you as it progresses through the sale. I don’t think you’d have to reserve any tickets through the first phases; I think telling everyone what the pricing is would probably prevent hoarding, but I’m not sure.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:58 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I seem to remember for U2's Zoo TV tour, the venue had us all line up by a certain time on a Saturday or Sunday, and then we were assigned random numbers or something like that. Maybe they gave us numbers and then picked a number to start with. It didn't matter that you were first in line. Whatever it was, it felt fair at the time.
posted by eckeric at 9:00 AM on May 17, 2018


I was looking for an article I read a few years ago (about Obama's anti-ticket bot push, and I didn't find it, so uhh never mind) and I found this gem from 1994 that warns: "Concert promoters have seen the future of rock 'n' roll . . . and it's a $100-ticket." I have never lived in a world where $100 would get you a good seat at a large venue. It sounds amazing and I understand why people miss it.

Bad ticket-pricing makes sense to me from the perspective of not wanting to alienate your fans -- dynamic pricing drives everyone crazy, just look at travel websites to see that -- but I think bands are kidding themselves if they think they're limiting Paul Ryan types by keeping prices lower. (Presumably the politics of Prophets of Rage accomplishes a lot of gatekeeping against conservatives, if not necessarily against rich people.) If you are already selling your absolute worst seats at $75 a pop and your best seats at $500+, you've already excluded a ton of people. Prices are already high. If your most desirable seats are relatively cheap, that just means a bunch of people are going to turn around and sell them to the people with the most disposable income.

(That said: now that I think about it, I'm a little charmed by the grumpy old dadness of insisting that we kids go outside for some fresh air and talk to people.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:00 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


How about running an online lottery for the tickets, and charge less than the theoretical market rate for them? You must enter your name when you buy the ticket and they will check your photo ID at the door.

The company I work for uses this process to ensure that developers (instead of CEOs) can attend their developer conference.
posted by Triplanetary at 9:23 AM on May 17, 2018


But the last time I did it, all of the decent seats were gone right when I attempted to purchase online. I found out later that the venue had "pre-sold" seats to the scalpers/resellers.

Yes, my understanding is that this exact thing is where StubHub gets the majority of its stock. I honestly didn't even know that they even resold tickets from anybody but themselves. But maybe the legality of that practice varies by locality, I dunno.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:32 AM on May 17, 2018


METAFILTER: *sigh.* Unsurprisingly,
posted by philip-random at 9:36 AM on May 17, 2018


At first I wish my favorite band, Radiohead, did this...but then I remembered I've tickets to see them 9 times in four cities (yes, it's called an 'uber fan') over July and you just can't be that amazingly ridiculous if you have to show up in person at the venue to buy tickets.
posted by Windigo at 9:39 AM on May 17, 2018


The cost of tickets is why, with all the teenagers I know, the only ones that have been to concerts are shows where their parents took them. When I was my son's age, I saw the Stones for like $20, in an arena type outdoor stadium. I mean it seemed like a lot of money when ringing up groceries paid 2.50 an hour or whatever, but comparatively, the inflation of ticket prices is kinda crazy pants.

It's the same with theatre, opera and symphony performances. Those events have become sacrifices, as in well, we can go see Hamilton, but that's the summer's fun budget gone. Touring companies are charging 250-500$ for crap seats in huge venues, for old shows like Book of Mormon. There are just so many middlemen between artist and audience, and all of them have their hands out.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:07 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Back in the early 90s I ended up being a line-stander for a while for a genuine old school scalper back before internet ticketing was even a thing. I'm not super happy about it.

The usual procedure was that he would get together as many people as he could (generally younger stoners) and disperse them to various ticket locations. He had a big church-style passenger van with a driver and operated out of boxes full of cash in the trunk of his sedan.

Each line-stander would either be issued cash or you'd get your wristband for the lottery start and then be issues a wad of cash. Sometimes it was hundreds/thousands of dollars per line-stander.

You usually had specific instructions about what you were trying to buy, and then you were usually instructed to buy as much of it as you could. So, on some ticket buying trips fully half of the line would be his line-standers, thus totally defeating the lottery wrist band system. I never saw him have a line-stander be anything less than 2nd or 3rd in line via lottery.

On big shows he'd be doing this at half a dozen locations or more at the same time. He might have 50-100k in cash on hand in his trunk. It was utterly ridiculous.

My pay was pretty good, and depending on the show it could be 100-150 in cash plus breakfast for standing around for a few hours, plus I also often got to buy tickets to shows I personally wanted to see.

The scalper? Yeah, he was a tremendous dirtbag and piece of human garbage. Probably one of the greasiest, most unsavory and unpleasant people I've ever met - practically a comic book criminal. In hindsight someone probably should have put a dent in his head and walked off with his giant bankroll.

Anyway, physical tickets aren't necessarily going to prevent scalping. Scalpers know how to find and hire broke stoners, and now prepaid cards (even with names on them) are easily available, so requiring a card with matching IDs isn't a surefire stop to it, either. A savvy scalper will just outfit their crew with reloadable cards that match their IDs.
posted by loquacious at 10:31 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


To allow online sales without letting scalpers set up 10 email accounts through VPNs to look like they're a swarm of different people: Require online sales to involve video chat. Talk to a person. Maximum of 2 or 4 tickets, whatever. Limit your sales personnel to a handful, so there is no "just call back and get the next of a hundred telemarketing staffers;" there are 6 people, and you might call back and hang up and so on to get tickets from all six of them (or one more than once; they don't recognize every face), but you won't be able to buy hundreds of tickets that way.

Record the conversations & videos; staffers may not recognize repeat scammers, but software can be set to look for those and track them down later.

Of course, all of that inconveniences the legitimate buyers as well. There is no security measure that doesn't come with increased hassles for some of the people involved, and often, this kind of security hits people with disabilities the hardest. :(
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:26 PM on May 17, 2018


I always thought that Burning Man has a pretty well thought out system for reducing the number of scalped tickets. Some aspects of it are probably not feasible for other communities to adopt (for example, the tight-knit community makes it easier to identify trusted buyers, the remote location means they don't need to worry about scalpers at the door, and the high ticket price means they can put more effort into verifying each ticket) but there are some aspects that could with more or less effort be adopted by others:

* Selling tickets in tiers where the most expensive tickets are released to the market first. These have no value to scalpers but do have value to True Fans who want to ensure they can attend.

* Having the cheapest (most below-market) tickets be non-transferrable

* Selling a portion of tickets to the "fan club" (consisting of people who they know have actually attended in the past) first

* Using a lottery rather than a first-come first-served system, to make bots less valuable.

* Enforcing a policy where any ticket found to be scalped will be voided. Advertising this fact prominently on the ticket itself. Deputizing the fanbase to identify ticket scalpers and report them.

* Effectively offering to buy back tickets at face value from any person who bought tickets, which gives a seller who genuinely can't attend a zero-effort way to participate in the legitimate resale market. These tickets are then resold to people on the lottery waiting list.
posted by phoenixy at 12:28 PM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Require online sales to involve video chat. Talk to a person. Maximum of 2 or 4 tickets, whatever. Limit your sales personnel to a handful

https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6890347/live-nation-2015-earnings-7-6-billion-revenue
"Live Nation’s Ticketmaster division moved more than 530 million tickets in 2015"
posted by floppyroofing at 12:54 PM on May 17, 2018


I think some in this thread don't really grasp why some musicians tour. For many, the goal is not to maximize profits. It's to play music in front of people who enjoy their music. It's to be out among the type of people that you see in this ask. You want to do it without losing money, but that happens sometimes. Hopefully you make enough to cover costs, and some big bands on large tours sometimes just about break even.

I know a platinum-selling band, and we've discussed this at some length. They want to play shows in front of their fans. You usually play the biggest place you can get away with, because usually big venues are more fun. 30000 people singing along with you is better than 5000. Sometimes you play a long run of tiny venues because you want to feel that intimacy, and be all sweaty and grimy when you're done because the AC couldn't keep up with a packed room.

It's not about market value, and making sure that you get the money the scalpers are getting. It's about playing in front of your fans, and while I'll grant that some of the people who can drop $500 on a ticket are fans, some of them are just rich assholes who tell the people around them to sit down.
posted by curiousgene at 1:15 PM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


The only problem I have with Nine Inch Nails’s plan is that some of us have day jobs, damn it, and can’t get in line to buy tickets.

Yeah, I was planning to go to this tour but doubt I can get tickets now. Oh well.

Especially since he's playing a tiny venue in LA (Palladium, whereas I last saw him at Staples Center which was almost 10x the seats). Its going to sell out in a minute.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:39 PM on May 17, 2018


comparatively, the inflation of ticket prices is kinda crazy pants.

Then again, people used to buy albums, so touring is pretty much the only way musicians make money these days.
posted by Automocar at 1:45 PM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


"Especially since he's playing a tiny venue in LA"

(Googles...) Capacity 3,700. That's an unusual use of the word "tiny"!

I get that it may be smaller than others on that tour.
posted by floppyroofing at 1:54 PM on May 17, 2018


Well, technically it won’t, since it takes longer than a minute to ring up several hundred people individually.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:59 PM on May 17, 2018


3700 is pretty small. The Myth in MN holds 5000 and it used to be a shoe store.
posted by Autumnheart at 2:00 PM on May 17, 2018


The cost of tickets is why, with all the teenagers I know, the only ones that have been to concerts are shows where their parents took them.

Luckily, our Daughter's Mom is a deadhead with Extremely Advanced skills in ticketing and accommodations.

We're in Albany, and she's schlepped our 14 year old to Prudential Center/Barclay's arena for a bunch of shows that "Kids These Days" care about.

I have a potato-quality phone picture of her side stage at The Wiggles like when she was 6, that's one of my favorites.
posted by mikelieman at 2:01 PM on May 17, 2018


"Shoe store" doesn't mean much to me.

I think of the venues I've been with capacities of several thousands, and remember what it looked like from the cheap seats, and the performers were already pretty small.

If you're going to use "tiny" for those venues, then what are you left with for the (many) places that hold a few hundred or less?
posted by floppyroofing at 2:15 PM on May 17, 2018


Small Venue: < 1,000
Mid-size Venue: >= 1,000 < 5,000
Large Venue: >= 5,000 < 20,000
Stadium/Arena: >= 20,000
posted by SansPoint at 2:36 PM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


By the way, I do intend to be in line at the Palladium on Saturday morning, so if there were anybody here that wanted to come to one of the LA shows, but can't make the trip to Hollywood on a Saturday morning, let me know. I was only planning on buying one ticket for myself, so I've got room for 3 more.
posted by curiousgene at 4:21 PM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


By the way, I do intend to be in line at the Palladium on Saturday morning

Which of the 4 shows are you planning on going to? I could possibly make the Friday show and could definitely make the Saturday show. Mid-week shows are right out, though, because vacation time is limited.
posted by hippybear at 5:52 PM on May 17, 2018


I'm torn. I usually prefer seeing the final night of a tour, when the option is available. That's when the interesting things often happen. On the other hand, that's a Wednesday night. Also, I think I would rather see Death in Vegas than HMLTD. So, I don't know. I'll probably make up my mind when I get to the box office window.
posted by curiousgene at 6:43 PM on May 17, 2018


Unless, of course, you wanted me to pick you up a ticket (he realizes, belatedly), in which case I could totally do Saturday.
posted by curiousgene at 6:46 PM on May 17, 2018


curiousgene: check your MeMail.
posted by hippybear at 7:10 PM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Nine Inch Nails are set to release their new album, Bad Witch, on June 22nd.

The first single is out today: God Break Down The Door -- featuring Trent Reznor jamming on his baritone tenor and alto sax that he says he used to play better.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:58 PM on May 17, 2018


It's more an EP than an album. It's the third in a trilogy, or so they said a while back. NIN changes its mind about things a lot, but they seem to be following through on this (albeit much later than they'd originally announced).

So if they do conglomerate this EP in with the previous two to make a full-fledged album, that'd be cool. Not The Actual Events definitely feels like it leads into Add Violence.
posted by hippybear at 9:30 PM on May 17, 2018


(and then Add Violence has an ending that feels like it completely unravels space and time while still keeping a structure amongst the chaos that is disturbingly recognizable even while it is basically just noise)
posted by hippybear at 9:32 PM on May 17, 2018


Nine Inch Nails are set to release their new album, Bad Witch, on June 22nd.

I will, of course, throw far too much money at them than I should, but fuck that $175 package.
posted by hippybear at 9:39 PM on May 17, 2018


DIGITAL FORMATS AND STREAMING ARE GREAT AND CERTAINLY CONVENIENT, BUT THE IDEAL WAY I’D HOPE A LISTENER EXPERIENCE MY MUSIC IS TO GRAB A GREAT SET OF HEADPHONES, SIT WITH THE VINYL, DROP THE NEEDLE, HOLD THE JACKET IN YOUR HANDS LOOKING AT THE ARTWORK (WITH YOUR FUCKING PHONE TURNED OFF) AND GO ON A JOURNEY WITH ME.
-TRENT REZNOR
I keep getting NIN vinyl, all of it is great. The vinyl for Not The Actual Events has side two being the last few tracks of The Downward Spiral only recorded so you have to play it in reverse from the inside out. That was surprising to discover. Add Violence was spread across two sides, I think because of that 11 minute final track. I wonder what Black Witch will be like...

Also, c'mon Trent, give us the vinyls for With Teeth, Year Zero, and The Slip! Jeebus! YOU'VE BEEN DANGLING THIS IN FRONT OF US FOR SO LONG LET US THROW MONEY AT YOU!!!
posted by hippybear at 9:47 PM on May 17, 2018


The first single is out today: God Break Down The Door -- featuring Trent Reznor jamming on his baritone tenor and alto sax that he says he used to play better.

Yeah, and the impression that I get from this tune, particularly the second half, is homage teetering dangerously close to the edge of parody of a certain iconic musician who passed a couple years back and who had collaborated with Reznor in the past. I like the approach at the start of the song, and I like the saxophones, but...
posted by Existential Dread at 10:03 PM on May 17, 2018


The forthcoming release was expected to be an EP but grew into a full-length album.

This full-length album has six tracks listed. *raised eyebrow* This lead single is 4 minutes. How long are all the other tracks???
posted by hippybear at 10:12 PM on May 17, 2018


I have never lived in a world where $100 would get you a good seat at a large venue. It sounds amazing and I understand why people miss it.

When I was my son's age, I saw the Stones for like $20, in an arena type outdoor stadium.


When I first starting going to concerts in the late 70's it was $5-$8 for an arena show, pretty much the same price as an album, and creeped up to about $30 in the early 90's, and I'm pretty sure I've never paid more than $50 for a ticket to any event, rarely even close. I can't imagine going out with someone else and thinking "we're going to have $300-$600 worth of fun tonight" involving anything that would be allowed in public or didn't have odds.

It's too bad, one of the effects of that was my friends and I would go see a lot of shows, pretty much everyone. I've seen lots of acts I can't stand, some of them multiple times, just because someone I knew liked them, or just for something to do.
posted by bongo_x at 11:07 PM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


IIRC, the first >$100 ticket I knew about was The Eagles' "Hell Freezes Over Tour," or whatever their first comeback tour was called.

I have almost all of my ticket stubs in a binder. Bob Dylan in 1989 for 15-20K ppl was $19.50 with a $2.85 service charge. Twenty years later, Bob Dylan in 2010 at a venue 1/10th the size: $67.50 with a $13.40 service charge.
posted by rhizome at 12:47 AM on May 18, 2018 [4 favorites]


The first $100+ ticket I ever bought was to see DEVO at Irving Plaza. I had to buy two of them, one for each night, as they were doing a two night stand, performing a different album each night.

The second (and, so far, last) $100+ ticket I ever bought was also for DEVO, but that was a VIP ticket for the Hardcore DEVO tour, purchased largely because part of the proceeds were going to Bob Casale's family, and I figured a more expensive ticket would mean more money for the Casales.
posted by SansPoint at 2:05 PM on May 18, 2018


IIRC, the first >$100 ticket I knew about was The Eagles' "Hell Freezes Over Tour," or whatever their first comeback tour was called.

That's right! I seem to remember that too. One more reason to hate The Eagles.
posted by bongo_x at 11:21 PM on May 18, 2018


I think my Who tour tickets in the 80s may have been edging towards $100, but my ticket scrapbook is still in a box somewhere. (And those were front row seats. It was amazing.) I do remember that my Frank Zappa tickets were $4.20. (Late 70s/early 80s, iirc.)

Like Bongo_x was saying, I spent my youth, from 13 or so on, constantly going to concerts. It was something I could easily afford with babysitting money. I saw so many bands. And there was a lot more free concert action happening back then too. I mean, maybe not the Stones, but I think I saw Emerson Lake and Palmer at a free concert in the park. The Cars, Moody Blues, Ramones, all bands I think I saw at community sponsored concerts. If they weren't free, then it was a nominal charge per car sort of thing.

I dunno, I hate to be all "We wore an onion on our belt, because that was the fashion back then" about it, but I'm sad that my kid can't have the same experience of music and crowds and all the things that concerts are without it being a big enough financial hit that it takes some of the fun out of it. I mean, if you've spent a week's salary (again, teenager too young to drive, so mowing yards and whatnot) on a ticket, then the experience is already pre-loaded with expectations, and if the experience isn't a week's worth of amazing, then they're unlikely to want to do it again.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:40 AM on May 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


Back in 1984 when I was still in high school a whole group of my friends camped out for two days sleeping on concrete outside the local arena to get tickets for the Purple Rain tour. It was actually a lot of fun. Board and card games were played, pizza and subs were brought, strangers were talked to, and generally camping on a sidewalk is shitty but the sense of community that was built across those 48 hours was great.

We'll see if I come out of this with a ticket. Also I guess I need to keep checking the website because it's possible that I can get one online at some point if this particular experiment in Internet Stranger Interfacing doesn't work out.
posted by hippybear at 9:32 AM on May 19, 2018


I think my Who tour tickets in the 80s may have been edging towards $100

My 1982 ticket was stolen out of my hand two people away from the turnstile (they let me in with some pleading anyway), but I doubt it was more than $15. In 1989 (big year for classic acts in rhizome's life), my ~15th row Who ticket was $25.
posted by rhizome at 11:37 AM on May 19, 2018


Yeah, it was 82 when I saw them. I may be internally adding the cost of driving to Houston, and hotel and stuff.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:42 AM on May 19, 2018


If I remember correctly, the big news at the time was that The Eagles had broken the $50 ticket barrier for the first time on their Hell Freezes Over tour, which I think means that was the cheapest they were selling seats for.

I've seen so many shows across the years. I've never paid more than $200 for a ticket* but it seems like $150-175 is the sweet spot for a lot of sort of "these are reasonable seats" seating.

I admire bands who make GA the least expensive. Pearl Jam and U2 have both done that.

I will say, as far as the ticket price thing goes... Prince was doing a small venue tour that was going to Seattle several years ago. My concert buddy and I had a serious conversation about seeing him, but we'd only just recently seen like 19 concerts in one year and the Prince tickets I believe were $375. After much discussion we decided not to go see him. And then the tour started and we started reading reviews of the shows, and we've both commiserated that perhaps that should might have been worth that, just once in a lifetime.

And now Prince is gone.

John Lee Hooker came through Phoenix in the early 2000s and I couldn't get anyone to go to the show with me and so I didn't go and 3 weeks later he was dead.

What I'm saying is, there is complicated math to do with some of these things, and sometimes dollars need to be spent and sometimes you have to go alone, and yeah.

Concert-going is a big part of my life, so this math is something I have to do a lot.
posted by hippybear at 2:10 PM on May 19, 2018


*Okay, yes, I only paid $170 for the ticket to see U2 play the last ever show of their Vertigo tour in Honolulu, but then I had to actually get to Honolulu and then get a hotel room on the same weekend as the anniversary of Pearl Harbor AND the Honolulu Marathon. Like, 150,000 extra people in Honolulu aside from the U2 fly-in crowd.

But hey, Pearl Jam was the opening band... how could I possibly NOT have been there?
posted by hippybear at 2:13 PM on May 19, 2018


Oh yes, so many people I had the chance to see and didn't, and now can't. Prince is at the top of that list. I had many chances.

and sometimes you have to go alone,


When I was a kid I went to see The Police with XTC and literally no one would go with me. I'm sure it was super cheap, just no one wanted to see them.
posted by bongo_x at 6:17 PM on May 19, 2018


I was the Nine Inch Nails presale at the Palladium today, and I have to admit, it was a great experience. There was (for the most part) a great sense of community among the people in line. There was a merchandise booth, and there was a listening station where you could hear two as-yet unreleased songs from the new album. In Los Angeles, there were food trucks and porta-potties (both of which were heavily used), but I'm not sure if that was the case everywhere. It was a good time, though it wasn't without some hiccups. The venue started up a "mobile (i.e. non-paper) tickets" line, and a bunch of people hopped out of the main line into that one. Once people who had been there for 4 hours realized that newcomers were buying tickets, there was an outcry. Once the NIN camp realized what was going on, they apparently told the Palladium to shut down the line.

I don't know how much it did to deter scalpers. There were definitely some hired line-standers, and a lot of venues reported people immediately trying to re-sell tickets. At least one place took back the scalper's tickets.

As to ticket prices, I dug out just my NIN tickets stubs to see how the prices changed over the years. (I still have every one of my ticket stubs.) Almost everything from 2008 on was a fan club presale, and didn't have Ticketmaster's usual service fees.

1994: $24.50 + 5.50
1995: $28.50 + 4.50
2000: $39.50 + 5.75
2005: $49.50 + 8.40
2008: $55.00
2009: $65.00
2013: $99.00
2017: $33.00 + 12.00
2018: $85.00

The prices and service fees mostly show a pretty steady increase. The oddball in 2017 was a preview show in Bakersfield, where they were rehearsing. I was surprised, when looking back through these stubs just how little shows cost 25 years ago.
posted by curiousgene at 9:16 PM on May 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


« Older "If I go to bed before the hunger hits then half a...   |   The Waning Crescent Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments