Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ticketmaster US to auction tickets?

Slashdot is reporting on a story in the New York Times. Ticketmaster in the US is to start auctioning off the best tickets for concerts and events instead of selling them at a set price. The logic basically boils down to this, if touts can charge $1000 for a $50 ticket why cant we do that instead?
Once the auction service goes live, Ticketmaster will receive flat fees or a percentage of the winning bids, to be decided with the operators of each event, said Sean Moriarty, Ticketmaster's executive vice president for products, technology and operations.
You can see their logic. Everyone knows ticket touting is a big problem, especially for popular concerts like U2. Tickets can sell out in minutes and if you aren't one of the lucky ones you will be forced to risk buying a ticket on eBay and hope it shows up or buying a ticket on the day from a tout and hoping its not a fake. By doing this the tout should be cut out of the market, the promoter wins, ticketmaster wins but the concert-goer still looses.

Of course there are other ways to stop touting, like printing names on tickets and making them match some ID, or match a credit card to the ticket. There would be a technological solution if the companies put their mind to it but there is more money in auctioning tickets so the punter looses out. If touts could not sell on tickets there would be no point in them buying tickets then there would be more tickets available for genuine fans and supply might more closely match demand.

At the moment this seems to be only in the US but how long will it be before it gets moved over this side of the Atlantic?

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