There are few things more frustrating than waiting in an online queue to buy tickets for an upcoming concert the moment they come on sale — only to be met with the news that tickets have completely sold out within seconds of going on sale.
That’s because huge swaths of tickets are typically snapped up by scalpers, who will then resell them to desperate fans who have no choice but to pay exorbitant prices to scalpers.
While this practice takes place with tickets to see artists of all musical genres, country star Eric Church is fighting back, and has put his money where his mouth is by cancelling more than 25,000 tickets for his spring tour that were purchased by scalpers, putting them back on sale for fans.
“They buy thousands of tickets across the U.S., not just mine, and they end up making a fortune,” Church said in an interview with Associated Press. “They use fake credit cards, fake IDs. All of this is fraud.”
According to the “Springsteen” singer, the new tickets will be released on Tuesday at noon local time for all remaining dates on his 60-city tour. Previously purchased tickets for his tour dates in Canada — which begins with a Feb. 28 show in London, Ontario — have already been released, while more tickets for shows in Washington and Oregon are slated to go on sale on Feb. 27.
This isn’t the first time Church has used this strategy to battle scalpers. “We’re getting better at identifying who the scalpers are,” Church said. “Every artist can do this, but some of them don’t. Some of them don’t feel the way I feel or are as passionate.”
According to AP, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office issued a report that cited a single broker responsible for scooping up more than a thousand tickets to a U2 show at Madison Square Garden within one minute of tickets going on sale — “despite the vendor’s claim of a four-ticket limit. By day’s end, that broker and one other had 15,000 tickets to U2’s North American shows.”
The average mark-up that consumers are paying to these third-party resellers, notes the report, are about 50 per cent above the actual ticket price, and can sometimes jump to more than 10 times the ticket’s face value.
Last year Congress passed legislation that would make the computerized software used by ticket brokers an “unfair and deceptive practice” under the Federal Trade Commission Act, but Church argues that this law isn’t being enforced.
“They are not really backing it up with prosecuting these people,” Church said. “I don’t believe they will anytime soon.”
However, Church remains adamant in ensuring his fans won’t have to pay inflated scalper prices to see him perform.
“Our fans know that as long as we tour, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure they pay face value for the ticket,” he added.