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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday November 14, @08:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the no-wonder-I-couldn't-get-tickets dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

When Adele fans went online to buy tickets to the pop superstar's world tour last year, they had no idea what exactly they were up against.

An army of tech-savvy resellers that included a little-known Canadian superscalper named Julien Lavallée managed to vacuum up thousands of tickets in a matter of minutes in one of the quickest tour sellouts in history.

The many fans who were shut out would have to pay scalpers like Lavallée a steep premium if they still wanted to see their favourite singer.

An investigation by CBC/Radio-Canada and the Toronto Star, based in part on documents found in the Paradise Papers, rips the lid off Lavallée's multimillion-dollar operation based out of Quebec and reveals how ticket website StubHub not only enables but rewards industrial-scale scalpers who gouge fans around the world.

CBC News obtained sales records from three U.K. shows that provide unprecedented insight into the speed and scale of Lavallée's ticket scam.

Despite a four-ticket-per-customer limit, his business snatched up 310 seats in 25 minutes, charged to 15 different names in 12 different locations.

The grand total? Nearly $52,000 worth of tickets at face value.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/paradise-papers-stubhub-1.4395361


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @09:52AM (57 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @09:52AM (#596724)

    You want to see scalpers die off? The answer is simple - don't. buy. from. scalpers.

    Hell, I'd go so far as to say don't even buy from them if they're charging LESS than the going price for a ticket/toy/phone/whatever. Let them eat 100% of the loss and they'll fucking quit it before too long.

    Trying to pin the blame on anyone but the general populace is nothing but looking for a scapegoat.

    Hell, you get one "Sold out" concern have 10 people show up to it instead of 10,000 and I can assure you even the companies hosting the show will start to try to do something about it. (As you know they're losing a hell of a lot of money in the lost impulse sales for food and drink, etc.)

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Bot on Tuesday November 14, @10:20AM (4 children)

      by Bot (3902) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @10:20AM (#596729)

      If I did not want scalpers to exist, I would also do a simple thing: you buy the ticket with a document, only the document holder can enter.
      You get sick and cannot come? you sell the ticket back to me, at 70% of original price. The day before? 20% price. Else it is an invalid piece of paper.

      Are there scalpers for, say, airline tickets?

      Of course I would not buy from scalpers either. Let them attend the concert in 4 different seats.

      • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday November 14, @11:33AM (2 children)

        by bzipitidoo (4388) on Tuesday November 14, @11:33AM (#596750) Journal

        On the other hand, twice I got tickets to college football games by hanging around the gate waiting for anyone trying to unload their tickets. They were people who'd saved a little by purchasing a season pass bundle. I paid 50% of the price at the gate, which still had plenty of unsold tickets, so it seemed a decent deal for me. How much their tickets were discounted for being part of a season pass bundle, I have no idea. If they made money off me, it can't have been much.

        Both times, I found it tiresome. Maybe it's because I didn't go with a group of friends. Didn't buy and enjoy any beers or snacks. Or that I didn't know or care to know any of the football players, or study and understand the finer points of football. If singles meet at football games, I missed out on that too. Didn't know about tailgate parties then. The freedom to look at any part of the field I wanted, and not have my view controlled by the TV crew, turned out to be worthless to me. The crews are better than I am at focusing on the action and of course they have the best seats, so to speak. Not that I regularly watched the games on TV either.

        Whatever it is that drives fans to want in so badly to accept being scalped, I suspect the Nancy Reagan "Just Say No" approach to scalpers does not work. If it did, the business of cable TV companies would not exist. They wouldn't be able to scalp customers by forcing the purchase of huge and expensive bundles to get the few channels that were wanted. Nor would football teams be such money makers, with so many universities scrambling to cash in on them even to the point of neglecting education for the sake of more money from the games.

        • (Score: 2) by dry on Tuesday November 14, @10:56PM (1 child)

          by dry (223) on Tuesday November 14, @10:56PM (#597040)

          As a teenager living within walking distance from the stadium and coliseum, selling tickets was a way to make money. Friends dad, who worked out of town had season tickets, which when certain teams came to town, could be worth quite a bit of money, and even selling them for half price or less was still money. Used to even sell promotional tickets, for cheap. Also got to see lots of hockey games, football games and even world cup soccer. People would give away their tickets if no-one would buy them and of course we cheated. Send one kid in with a ticket who would pop an emergency door and in we'd all run.
          The problem isn't so much scalping, where people sell their tickets that they bought expecting to use and something came up or even occasionally to make money because of the team that was in town.
          What has changed is the professionals who can slurp up large amounts of tickets by basically butting into the line and are doing it for profit, and the ticket company, fucking TicketMaster, is implicit in it

          • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday November 15, @05:56AM

            by bzipitidoo (4388) on Wednesday November 15, @05:56AM (#597173) Journal

            Hmm, yes, perhaps the sellers did make enough money off me and whoever else bought to make it worth their while. Not having cared to watch sports much and having gone to few concerts, I have very little experience with gate crashing, scalping, looking over the fence or through a hole, and all the rest of that sort of thing, though money was tight for me too. Most of the time, I used the ultimate method to save money: just don't go. I rarely go to movie theaters, and even more rarely go to sports events. Have not ever even tried to see 2 movies at the theater on one ticket.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, @02:08AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, @02:08AM (#597101)

        Are there scalpers for, say, airline tickets?

        Yes - I bought a ticket from to Denpasar from a scalper at the Surabaya airport. He must have been in cahoots with the ticketing staff, because he got it issued in my name within five minutes.

    • (Score: 2, Troll) by Wootery on Tuesday November 14, @11:06AM (49 children)

      by Wootery (2341) on Tuesday November 14, @11:06AM (#596744)

      You want to see scalpers die off? The answer is simple - don't. buy. from. scalpers.

      Oh. I thought you were going offer a serious solution.

      Scalping exists for economic reasons. The market value of the ticket is greater than the vendor's price. If your 'solution' ignores this, and just hopes for universal cooperation, it's worthless.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by theluggage on Tuesday November 14, @03:27PM (48 children)

        by theluggage (1797) on Tuesday November 14, @03:27PM (#596822)

        Scalping exists for economic reasons. The market value of the ticket is greater than the vendor's price.

        Nice rationalisation... and if it was just a few tickets being re-sold to the handful of fans who would pay any price for a ticket it wouldn't be a problem. But in cases of large-scale scalping, the difference between the vendor's price and the market value is largely caused by the scalpers bulk-buying tickets, creating artificial scarcity and extracting extra money from people who had already decided to go to the concert based on the original price. If the original vendors upped the prices, the scalpers would respond in kind until the "sticker shock" decimated the number of people who even bothered to try and get tickets. Ultimately, the parasites will destroy the host and move on to the next one: of course, when the bough breaks, the scalpers will have made sure that they have all their assets in one limited company and all the unsold tickets belong to their creditors, so they'll live to fight another day.

        Now, in nature, when a parasite kills the host then it risks its own extinction, but 2008 and all that shows us that "free" market parasites walk away unscathed.

        • (Score: 0, Troll) by khallow on Tuesday November 14, @04:02PM (26 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @04:02PM (#596840) Journal
          Selling tickets in the first place is the creation of artificial scarcity and that in turn reflects the real scarcity of limited space for the audience.
          • (Score: 4, Informative) by sjames on Tuesday November 14, @06:17PM (12 children)

            by sjames (2882) on Tuesday November 14, @06:17PM (#596894) Journal

            The limited number of tickets isn't artificial, it's just a representation of the scarcity of physical space. Economically, the scalpers are rent seekers in fairly pure form.

            • (Score: 1, Disagree) by khallow on Tuesday November 14, @06:57PM (11 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @06:57PM (#596907) Journal

              The limited number of tickets isn't artificial, it's just a representation of the scarcity of physical space.

              A representation is artificial.

              Economically, the scalpers are rent seekers in fairly pure form.

              Not if you decide to buy a ticket right before a sold out event happens.

              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Tuesday November 14, @07:12PM (10 children)

                by sjames (2882) on Tuesday November 14, @07:12PM (#596923) Journal

                A representation is artificial.

                Let's skip the silly sophistry. "artificial scarcity" has a specific meaning and that ain't it.

                Not if you decide to buy a ticket right before a sold out event happens.

                Yes, even then.

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @02:06AM (9 children)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @02:06AM (#597100) Journal

                  Let's skip the silly sophistry. "artificial scarcity" has a specific meaning and that ain't it.

                  But such representations are a routine way that artificial scarcity manifests such as with digital rights management. Let's consider the title of this thread, "Stop Buying From Scalpers". Why do people buy from scalpers in the first place? Because they are the sellers of last resort when everyone else runs out of tickets. The problem here is that tickets are in artificial surplus when they're first sold and artificial scarcity by the time the last minute people want to get in on a sold-out concert. Most of the problem would go away [wikipedia.org] with dynamic pricing similar to how airlines do it combined with partial refunds after a certain point close to the beginning of a concert (a refund to encourage people to turn in unused tickets and partial to generate some additional risk for scalpers trying to corner the market).

                  Or just sanction the activity and create a market where the ticket issuer auctions the tickets off and people can speculate on ticket prices to their hearts' desire. It's just not that big a deal.

                  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Wednesday November 15, @08:21AM (8 children)

                    by sjames (2882) on Wednesday November 15, @08:21AM (#597205) Journal

                    There's no such thing as an artificial surplus. There are N seats available and N tickets to go with those seats. No more, no less.

                    The part you're missing is that the scalpers CAUSE the seller to run out of tickets much sooner with the express purpose of causing prices to rise. They are an economic inefficiency. They are rent seekers because they get in between seller and the ultimate buyer and suck value out of the transaction without producing any value.

                    Do read up on rent seeking and why it is always (and I mean ALWAYS) bad for the market.

                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @02:27PM (2 children)

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @02:27PM (#597282) Journal

                      There's no such thing as an artificial surplus. There are N seats available and N tickets to go with those seats. No more, no less.

                      This is a counterexample. Scalpers bought underpriced tickets, thus in artificial surplus, well before the event, and sell them at market price later.

                      The part you're missing is that the scalpers CAUSE the seller to run out of tickets much sooner with the express purpose of causing prices to rise. They are an economic inefficiency.

                      They exploited the actual economic inefficiency.

                      Do read up on rent seeking and why it is always (and I mean ALWAYS) bad for the market.

                      You still don't get why it's happening - bad market design. The key factor is dumping a bunch of tickets well before the concert. Plans aren't always made that early. Plans change. In a sensible market, one could pay more to get tickets even to the last minute.

                      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday November 15, @03:40PM (1 child)

                        by sjames (2882) on Wednesday November 15, @03:40PM (#597314) Journal

                        Unless the band is taking a loss on the concert, the tickets are not underpriced. If there was a surplus, it was a natural one (more seats available than people who want to see the concert). In a perfect market, the tickets will cost not a single iota more than necessary to motivate the band to do the concert and pay the costs of it. That price will never be more than the price they freely offered the tickets at.

                        Inefficiencies in a market drive prices up. They're never a good thing, but they can't always be avoided.

                        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @03:47PM

                          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @03:47PM (#597320) Journal

                          That price will never be more than the price they freely offered the tickets at.

                          And when they freely offer those tickets.

                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @08:54PM (4 children)

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @08:54PM (#597449) Journal
                      Incidentally, a classic example of artificial surplus is printing money. If a party has monopoly control of the money supply and prints money when they need it, then this money is simultaneously in a state of artificial scarcity and artificial surplus.
                      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday November 15, @09:00PM (3 children)

                        by sjames (2882) on Wednesday November 15, @09:00PM (#597454) Journal

                        That's just a surplus,. Nothing artificial about it (in the economic sense).

                        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @09:09PM (2 children)

                          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @09:09PM (#597458) Journal

                          That's just a surplus,. Nothing artificial about it (in the economic sense).

                          It's artificial in the same way that it is artificially scarce.

          • (Score: 2) by theluggage on Tuesday November 14, @10:41PM (12 children)

            by theluggage (1797) on Tuesday November 14, @10:41PM (#597029)

            Selling tickets in the first place is the creation of artificial scarcity and that in turn reflects the real scarcity of limited space for the audience.

            There is a physical limit to the number of concerts a particular singer can put on. There is a limit to the size of a venue that you can reliably fill, and added value to smaller venues where the audience can see the star without binoculars. There is significant cost, and hence commercial risk, to putting on a large gig - and hence significant risk to over-charging for the tickets, not mentioning the long-term effect of having a half-empty theatre, or being perceived to be over-charging, on the star's reputation. That is real scarcity. Artificial scarcity would be only ever playing to a handful of millionaire fans...*

            The scalpers are siphoning off money while producing nothing and bringing no benefit to the market and taking on very little risk - if they wreck the concert by leaving the theatre half-empty, who cares? There are other artists out there... Yes, they have to buy the tickets, but since they sell them way over the face value, so what if they don't sell them all - and that's being generous and assuming that the capital didn't come from advance fees paid by suckers who answered "make $$$ in your spare time" ads...

            * Or trying to sell digital recordings at prices rooted in the days when they had to be expensively stamped out onto plastic discs in huge numbers and shipped around the world. Oh, wait...

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @12:01AM (11 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @12:01AM (#597065) Journal

              and bringing no benefit to the market

              Such as having tickets for those who didn't get them at the initial release. That is the benefit of scalpers.

              I agree that there is market failure here due to the poor design of the market, but it is not solved by ignoring why scalpers exist in the first place.

              • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @09:32AM (8 children)

                by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @09:32AM (#597227)

                That is the benefit of scalpers.

                To who? All it does is replace early-buying fans by high-paying fans, with the scalpers pocketing the difference. It doesn't benefit the people behind the event itself, and it disadvantages the would-be early-buying-fan when the scalper gets in first.

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @02:16PM (7 children)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @02:16PM (#597279) Journal

                  All it does is replace early-buying fans by high-paying fans

                  Ok, so why don't you think that is a benefit? High-paying fans who made last minute plans shouldn't be allowed to go to a concert? What you're willing to pay for a ticket is a strong indication of your desire for that ticket. My working example here is airline tickets which implements a system called dynamic pricing so that people who make last minute travel plans have travel options, but they pay for that with higher ticket prices.

                  • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @05:06PM (5 children)

                    by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @05:06PM (#597358)

                    High-paying fans who made last minute plans shouldn't be allowed to go to a concert?

                    It's zero-sum. I already asked you: where is the benefit in the high-paying fans being able to attend instead of early-buying (and possibly less wealthy) fans?

                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @08:23PM (1 child)

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @08:23PM (#597440) Journal

                      where is the benefit in the high-paying fans being able to attend instead of early-buying (and possibly less wealthy) fans?

                      They get tickets for things they want. And keep in mind that this whole mess started because early-buyers have access to all the tickets.

                      • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @09:45PM

                        by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @09:45PM (#597474)

                        That doesn't answer the question. Again you're ignoring that it's zero-sum. There's no reason to favour high-paying late-comers over ordinary customers.

                        There is no 'mess', there's just natural scarcity.

                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @08:37PM (2 children)

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @08:37PM (#597445) Journal

                      It's zero-sum.

                      This a strong indication something is broken. The additional revenue from the people willing to pay more could either be used by the parties who are running the concert (band or venue) or given back to fellow concert goers in the form of cheaper tickets. It should not be zero-sum.

                      • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @09:53PM (1 child)

                        by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @09:53PM (#597479)

                        Do you have a concrete scheme in mind?

                        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday November 16, @05:05AM

                          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 16, @05:05AM (#597589) Journal
                          Earlier, I mentioned embracing the scalpers by auctioning the tickets to a market and letting the speculators do whatever. If you happen to control the market, you can even charge transaction fees on the trading.

                          Another approach is to do as the airlines do, dynamic pricing, where tickets increase in price as more are sold and the concert date approaches.
                  • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Wednesday November 15, @05:34PM

                    by urza9814 (3954) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @05:34PM (#597370) Journal

                    What you're willing to pay for a ticket is a strong indication of your desire for that ticket

                    Now that's just complete bullshit. That would only be true in a world without any significant income inequality.

                    Bill Gates could drop ten grand for tickets on a whim because it's Friday night and he's bored.

                    Someone who earns $50k/year can't do that, no matter how badly they want to go.

                    A better metric of how badly one wants to go is when they buy, not how much they pay. If you want the people who most want to go, look for the people that are *waiting* for that particular show, that are watching the band's website and social media pages waiting to see tour dates, who are willing to block out their calendar months in advance knowing that NOTHING could come up that's so important it would keep them from attending.

              • (Score: 2) by theluggage on Thursday November 16, @09:39AM (1 child)

                by theluggage (1797) on Thursday November 16, @09:39AM (#597627)

                Such as having tickets for those who didn't get them at the initial release.

                ... only because the fucking scalpers got them all first!.

                TFA is talking about 300 tickets bought up by just one scalper, who is unlikely to be the only one working that concert... Jeez, the self-justifying bullshit is beyond belief.

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday November 16, @02:01PM

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 16, @02:01PM (#597690) Journal

                  TFA is talking about 300 tickets bought up by just one scalper, who is unlikely to be the only one working that concert... Jeez, the self-justifying bullshit is beyond belief.

                  Scalpers came first, then the manipulation of this market.

        • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Tuesday November 14, @04:57PM (20 children)

          by Wootery (2341) on Tuesday November 14, @04:57PM (#596859)

          Nonsense. If scalpers can make money with their reselling, and if they can sell out their stock, that means the legitimate vendors could have charged more. It's really that simple. All that stuff about artificial scarcity is for nought.

          If the original vendors upped the prices, the scalpers would respond in kind until the "sticker shock" decimated the number of people who even bothered to try and get tickets.

          No. Either the pricepoint is acceptable to the buyers, or it's not. There's no magic about scalpers that makes people more willing to spend big with them, compared to with legitimate vendors.

          If the scalpers are selling out, that means the legitimate vendors could have still sold out if they'd charged the scalpers' prices.

          It's the same thing with people buying iPhones from the Apple store on day 1, and re-selling them on eBay. It's just price-point.

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @06:12PM (5 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @06:12PM (#596890)

            Such a simple "logical" argument, but it fails so very hard. The price points set for any event are based on the average price people will pay. Scalpers make their money off desperate people who do not represent the average. Do you even realize that your brain operates like a marketers? That you're willing to do bad things for money and then try to justify it by victim blaming?

            Of course you don't

            • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Tuesday November 14, @10:31PM (4 children)

              by Wootery (2341) on Tuesday November 14, @10:31PM (#597022)

              Scalpers make their money off desperate people who do not represent the average

              And yet they still sell, so the distinction is meaningless. Anyway, sjames already posted a worthwhile reply re. the economics.

              Do you even realize that your brain operates like a marketers? That you're willing to do bad things for money and then try to justify it by victim blaming?

              Nope. I dislike scalpers as much as anyone, but go ahead and project away.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @11:01PM (3 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @11:01PM (#597042)

                Sadly it is people such as yourself that keep the whole insane ball rolling. "Corporations are required to show profits!" "If you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear!" Rationalizations for inherently irrational systems is the biggest problem we have today and it prevents people from changing things up. A small nudge into cynicism and derision for your fellow humans and you could easily switch sides, mentally you're already prepared to accept it. I wasn't projecting, but I was overly accusatory.

                • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @09:36AM

                  by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @09:36AM (#597229)

                  "Corporations are required to show profits!" "If you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear!"

                  You're going to make up quotes then assign them to me? Have you heard of a 'straw-man'?

                  A small nudge into cynicism and derision for your fellow humans and you could easily switch sides, mentally you're already prepared to accept it.

                  Some fine armchair psychiatry, even by Internet standards.

                  I should really stop replying to ACs.

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @02:22PM (1 child)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @02:22PM (#597281) Journal

                  A small nudge into cynicism and derision for your fellow humans and you could easily switch sides, mentally you're already prepared to accept it. I wasn't projecting, but I was overly accusatory.

                  I have to agree with Wootery. Sure sounds like you're projecting hard here. Sure, you have feelz. But you could have feelz some other way since you don't have a reason for why you have those feelz.

                  • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @05:14PM

                    by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @05:14PM (#597361)

                    I'm coming to believe ACs have twice as much original sin in them as the rest of us.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Tuesday November 14, @06:36PM (10 children)

            by sjames (2882) on Tuesday November 14, @06:36PM (#596901) Journal

            No. The scalpers are rent-seeking. The lower vendor price derives from an additional value the act derives from good will and having it's larger fan base able to afford the occasional concert. That includes the buzz created by concerts where there is a butt in every seat.

            The societal benefit of markets derives from keeping the seller's price low. When instead, the buyer is kept near the pain point, all of the benefits of a market are lost. Scalpers are a HUGE inefficiency in the market.

            • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Tuesday November 14, @10:28PM (9 children)

              by Wootery (2341) on Tuesday November 14, @10:28PM (#597021)

              That's more like it!

              If not price-point then, what technical measures could be taken? It's generally not well received to name-stamp tickets, but it would be effective.

              • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday November 15, @01:10AM (8 children)

                by sjames (2882) on Wednesday November 15, @01:10AM (#597079) Journal

                Price point can work several ways. For example, setting a maximum mark-up/sewrvice fee. Setting a limit on re-sales might also work. It should be possible to re-sell one's own tickets should plans change, and perhaps with mark-ups limited, a consignment re-sale should be acceptable.

                Inevitably, enforcement won't be perfect and loopholes will probably have to be addressed at some point, but it should at least take out the pros.

                • (Score: 2) by arslan on Wednesday November 15, @03:04AM (1 child)

                  by arslan (3462) on Wednesday November 15, @03:04AM (#597118)

                  Yea.. using pure digital tickets and setting a limit on the resale value or an outright ban on increase in resale value (not the number of times one resell it) should work. If the ownership tracking and transfer is tied to the payment system then enforcement is done digitally. This will rule out direct cash payments of course.

                  On the lighter side of things, here's how to get this implemented.. find a VC near you and mention blockchain!

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @02:56PM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @02:56PM (#597293) Journal

                    If the ownership tracking and transfer

                    Do we really want concert venues to be tracking people to the point that they're confirming who goes to concerts? Maybe we can have a "No Listen" list to ban the wrong people from going? I'm sure someone is doing that on a small scale.

                    But imagine what a disaster it would be for bands like Insane Clown Posse [wikipedia.org], which already has the problem that the FBI thinks their fan base count as a crime gang and that has legal consequences [rollingstone.com]:

                    Since 2011, the Juggalos have been branded by the FBI's National Gang Threat Assessment as "a loosely-organized hybrid gang" in four states – Arizona, California, Pennsylvania and Utah. The report, which was collected from data submitted by state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide, recognized that subsets exhibited "gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity and violence" in at least 21 states. In 2014, ICP, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the FBI. Though the initial suit was dismissed for lacking "legal standing," an appeals court reinstated the case in 2015, on the basis that the gang designation has brought significant harm to Juggalos. (Oral arguments on the appeal are set to begin October 11th.) "You might not give a fuck about ICP, but how are you not going to give a fuck about the situation that's going on?" Shaggy says.

                    Whether you sip the Faygo or remember ridiculing the kid in high school who wanted to wear a Hatchetman shirt, one thing about this case has united people: The move to designate ICP's fan base as a gang is unprecedented. Never before has the U.S. government targeted a fan base of an artist or music genre, and labeled anyone associated with it, as part of an organized gang. Though the Juggalos were not specifically named in the FBI's 2013 or 2015 National Gang Reports, the gang label is the stain they can't remove. That's why they're marching.

                    [...]

                    One by one, Juggalos of all kinds – military veterans, registered nurses, fast-food cooks, government employees – step up to tell their stories to this family of misfits and outcasts. Despite never receiving a negative work review, Jessica Bonometti says she was fired from her job as a Virginia probation officer last year for showing appreciation on Facebook for ICP. Because she saw an ICP show, Crystal Guerrero says she lost a custody battle for her two children in New Mexico, now only seeing them six hours a week. Ashley Vasquez recalls instances in which she was almost kicked out of the military for her tattoos and wearing clothes supporting ICP's music.

                    [...]

                    The possession of a concealed weapon charge got him 14 months in jail. When he was getting booked, he says police saw his tattoos and asked him if he was a Juggalo. He says he confirmed he was, and saw the official at the jail mark down that he was a gang member. Brown says he didn't care about the label at the time and that he hasn't let it impact him since then, but one thought has stayed on his mind: What the fuck?

                    [...]

                    Initially, they joked that the FBI's gang classification of their fan base was yet another reason why they proudly own the title of "most hated band in the world." But the group's outlook would take a sharp turn from glee to despair. When they'd hit the road for meet-and-greets and in-store signings across the country, they found that the FBI's gang label had real-life consequences for Juggalos: Longer terms in jail for offenders. Parents losing kids in custody battles. People getting fired from their jobs. Potential recruits not being able to get into the military. And on and on.

                    Even with the increased attention on their cause, the duo say that it's hard to do those meetups with fans nowadays, as the stories they keep hearing from loyal Juggalos affected by the gang label are heartbreaking. Yes, there are probably a few fans who are gang members, but, they argue, why isn't that same flimsy standard of blanketing an entire group applied to people in gangs who like other artists?

                • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @09:28AM (5 children)

                  by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @09:28AM (#597225)

                  What do you mean by service fee? Scalpers aren't official resellers.

                  If it's possible to sell your ticket, that means it's possible for scalpers to stockpile and resell. I don't see that a limit would help - a scalper only needs to re-sell once.

                  Even pure-digital tickets (so that they can only be sold through the official online marketplace) aren't a panacea, as the scalpers will just take their fee outside that marketplace.

                  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday November 15, @03:44PM (4 children)

                    by sjames (2882) on Wednesday November 15, @03:44PM (#597319) Journal

                    Typically, the ticket vendor (nearly always ticketmaster) charges a service fee. Another eaxmple would be a concierge service thet buys the tickets for you because you're busy, like to sleep late, whatever.

                    • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @05:09PM (3 children)

                      by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @05:09PM (#597359)

                      Would that help stop scalpers? I don't see that it would, it just tweaks the way the price-point works out.

                      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday November 15, @08:50PM (2 children)

                        by sjames (2882) on Wednesday November 15, @08:50PM (#597447) Journal

                        With mark-up limited, there's a lot less money to be made and a lot less damage to be done. Requiring agency rather than simply buying a stock of tickets prevents the creation of artificial scarcity.

                        • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @09:50PM (1 child)

                          by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @09:50PM (#597477)

                          But it doesn't limit mark-up. The scalper will just insist on cash to initiate the transfer.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @02:30PM (2 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @02:30PM (#597285) Journal

            Nonsense. If scalpers can make money with their reselling, and if they can sell out their stock, that means the legitimate vendors could have charged more. It's really that simple. All that stuff about artificial scarcity is for nought.

            For some of the tickets. The key here is not that all the tickets could be sold for more, but rather that some can. This is the whole reason for dynamic pricing of tickets in airline flights. As the date of the flight nears, the price of the remaining tickets for sale increases.

            • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @05:12PM (1 child)

              by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @05:12PM (#597360)

              But if that really was 'best for the event' as it were, wouldn't the event arrange for high-price last-minute tickets?

              Similar to as I was saying in my other comment, it seems the way events are run favours non-wealthy fans who by their tickets early. Why change this? I see no reason to favour last-minute buyers over early buyers, and no reason to think the scalpers are helping anything by pocketing the difference.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 15, @08:26PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @08:26PM (#597442) Journal

                But if that really was 'best for the event' as it were, wouldn't the event arrange for high-price last-minute tickets?

                You already have your answer, no. Scalpers wouldn't exist in the first place, if there wasn't a demand for them.

    • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday November 14, @02:36PM (1 child)

      by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @02:36PM (#596801) Journal

      I suspect the attraction of the concerts is not the headliner but the collective experience itself. You can get a better technical experience by watching televised coverage of the performance. In fact, unless you have really great seats up front at a concert you're gonna be watching the damn thing on jumbotrons anyway. So why go? It's the mass of people all focused on the same thing at the same time. It pushes limbic buttons that few things do.

      If you realize that, you don't have to shell out big bucks to scalpers. Find other mass events that are free or pay-as-you-go. Taste of Chicago is one. Summer Stage in NYC is another. Best concert I ever saw was a free one we stumbled upon in Central Park by Ricky Skaggs, opened by Tuvan throat singers.

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday November 15, @09:42AM

        by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday November 15, @09:42AM (#597232)

        I suspect the attraction of the concerts is not the headliner but the collective experience itself.

        Surely it's both - attendees want both the buzz of the crowd and their favourite stars.

        It pushes limbic buttons that few things do.

        Indeed, but a shared enthusiasm for the performance helps too. A big crowd in front of a performer they don't like, won't have that good a time.

        Find other mass events that are free or pay-as-you-go.

        But surely this subtracts from the 'collective enthusiasm', no? (I'm sure there's a less awkward way of phrasing that...)

  • (Score: 2) by Geezer on Tuesday November 14, @11:04AM (9 children)

    by Geezer (511) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @11:04AM (#596742)

    Scalpers are just another iteration of the monopolistic rent-seeking and extreme profiteering that dominates modern capitalism, not very different from Microsoft, Walmart, or Comcast.

    Profiteers would not exist if there were no market, but there is. There is no shortage of enablers.

    As the fictional Dr. Gregory House so pithily put it, "People are idiots."

    --
    Scruting the inscrutable for over 60 years.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Wootery on Tuesday November 14, @11:13AM (4 children)

      by Wootery (2341) on Tuesday November 14, @11:13AM (#596746)

      not very different from Microsoft

      Well, no. For all their many sins, Microsoft do actually make something.

      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday November 14, @12:31PM (3 children)

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @12:31PM (#596762) Homepage Journal

        But, like scalpers, what they make is useless!

        --
        --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
        • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Tuesday November 14, @01:16PM (2 children)

          by Wootery (2341) on Tuesday November 14, @01:16PM (#596775)

          I like SN snark as much as anyone, but, no.

          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:19PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:19PM (#596818)

            Proprietary software is inherently useless. People who defend proprietary software are inherently without value.

            • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Tuesday November 14, @05:04PM

              by Wootery (2341) on Tuesday November 14, @05:04PM (#596863)

              Proprietary software is inherently useless.

              Reality strongly disagrees.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Gaaark on Tuesday November 14, @12:32PM

      by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @12:32PM (#596763) Homepage Journal

      Or like the non-fictional Gaaark, "Peoples is dumb!"

      --
      --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday November 14, @04:05PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @04:05PM (#596843) Journal

      Scalpers are just another iteration of the monopolistic rent-seeking and extreme profiteering that dominates modern capitalism

      You can also get that in the monopolistic rent-seeking and extreme profiteering of socialist and welfare state projects. Black markets are a thing.

    • (Score: 1) by mmarujo on Wednesday November 15, @06:08PM (1 child)

      by mmarujo (347) on Wednesday November 15, @06:08PM (#597392)

      Allow me to disagree.

      Yes there is a market, but that only means there is someone willing to pay for it.

      The same thing happens with, for instance, hit-man: there is someone willing to pay for it.

      In either case I blame those who buy AND those who sell the "service".

      • (Score: 2) by Geezer on Wednesday November 15, @06:59PM

        by Geezer (511) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15, @06:59PM (#597410)

        You have a point, but all business transactions are binary: a buyer and a seller. It takes two to tango.

        --
        Scruting the inscrutable for over 60 years.
  • (Score: 2) by opinionated_science on Tuesday November 14, @02:24PM (5 children)

    by opinionated_science (4031) on Tuesday November 14, @02:24PM (#596795)

    it is simply artificial scarcity to drive up the price.

    If the tickets were only face value, they could be like currency right up to the event.

    Imagine getting a ticket for Taylor Swift for $30 and you can't go, so it's still worth $30.

    The code gets deregistered online and someone else gets it.

    Scalping is because the early actors in the game locked out the modern tech that solves this problem.

    • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Tuesday November 14, @05:06PM (4 children)

      by Wootery (2341) on Tuesday November 14, @05:06PM (#596865)

      No. Whatever scarcity you think the scalpers are introducing (none, as far as I can see), the legitimate vendor could do the same. Scalpers have no magic power to make their tickets more valuable than legitimate ones. All they have is a price-gap that they can exploit.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @06:52PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @06:52PM (#596905)

        The scarcity is extremely evident. Tickets available to a sold out concert! When the concert is sold out due to scalpers, then the scarcity is artificially created. Let us extend this logic to something else. Why don't all the billionaires get together and buy out the majority of food supplies? They can then double the prices and make a killing! Answer is at least twofold. 1. Food is so widely available such a scheme is difficult, although megacorps are already doing a decent job of it and 2. people would riot.

        There is a reason why humanity created morality and ethics. Actually it wasn't quite humanity, even many animals have their own sense of right and wrong. This modern age of nihilism and horrors for the sake of profit is disgusting and should not be defended. Such explanations / defenses should only be conjured up when trying to figure out how to fix the system to prevent unethical actions.

        • (Score: 4, Touché) by Osamabobama on Tuesday November 14, @07:26PM (2 children)

          by Osamabobama (5842) on Tuesday November 14, @07:26PM (#596931)

          It seems like you are against monopoly power in a market when it comes to scalpers setting prices high, but you don't recognize the same power in the concert organizer. The first round of ticket sales represent a monopoly, where the price can be fully controlled (to the extent there is a market demand at that price or higher). The scalpers then buy the tickets and mark up the price. The scarcity is there the whole time, but it isn't priced into the first round of ticket sales.

          The problem with finding an efficient price point (where the supply and demand curves intersect) is that it typically prices normal people out of the market entirely. A pop star has to cater to her fans by allowing them into her concerts. Playing concerts for only the wealthy isn't compatible with the marketing plan.

          --
          Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @07:34PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @07:34PM (#596938)

            I never said there wasn't a monopoly from the original ticket sellers, but there is a big difference between the production level monopoly (more natural) and a middle man retailer who corners the market so they can artificially pump up the price and profit while providing no added value. I guess we're calling it "rent seeking" these days, but at least actual homeowners need to keep the homes they rent in decent condition so they provide at least some value.

          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, @02:14AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, @02:14AM (#597102)

            The problem with finding an efficient price point (where the supply and demand curves intersect) is that it typically prices normal people out of the market entirely.

            So what? As if it is a human right to attend a concert. Plus the scalpers have an incentive to get butts in seats too, if they price too high, unsold seats are worthless.

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