Last week I told you about a story in the Wall Street Journal about Artist approved scalping. Well over the weekend Trent Reznor of NIN posted in the NIN forum on his website a long explanation of the current situation from the perspective of some one in the middle of it. His explanation is brilliant, straight forward, to the point and nails the complexity of the problem in a way only he could.
"Now we get into the issue of secondary markets for tickets, which is the hot issue here. The ticketing marketplace for rock concerts shows a real lack of sophistication, meaning this: the true market value of some tickets for some concerts is much higher than what the act wants to be perceived as charging. For example, there are some people who would be willing to pay $1,000 and up to be in the best seats for various shows, but MOST acts in the rock / pop world don't want to come off as greedy pricks asking that much, even though the market says its value is that high. The acts know this, the venue knows this, the promoters know this, the ticketing company knows this and the scalpers really know this. So... " - Trent
This sums up the whole problem as simply as can be explained. later in the post Trent explains the stance NIN has taken on this issue.
"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.
I assure you nobody in the NIN camp supplies or supports the practice of supplying tickets to these re-sellers because it's not something we morally feel is the right thing to do. We are leaving money on the table here but it's not always about money. Being completely honest, it IS something I've had to consider. If people are willing to pay a lot of money to sit up front AND ARE GOING TO ANYWAY thanks to the rigged system, why let that money go into the hands of the scalpers? I'm the one busting my ass up there every night. The conclusion really came down to it not feeling like the right thing to do - simple as that." - Trent (emphasis mine not Trents)
It is understandable why other artist are not explaining to their fans how this works if they have decided to embrace this new scalping system, like the acts we mentioned before, it can be hard to come out and say that to the people who will never be able to buy the good seats. But there should be more transparency in the system. More acts should be honest like Trent with their fans.
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It is also noteworthy that Trent didn't issue this explanation through the press, through a publicist, he gave it straight to the fans on the bands own message board where all the fans could see it and comment on it directly. (As always we at Up On The Sun would love to hear your comments as well).