Buying Concert Tickets Just Got Cheaper, Easier

In praise of NY’s new anti-scalping measures

By Kirk Miller

Buying Concert Tickets Just Got Cheaper and Easier ... Sort Of
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21 June 2016

In the shady world of buying concert tickets, we’ll take small victories.

And that’s what we have — real but small victories — with two new developments that concern you and your wallet, intrepid concertgoer.

First, Ticketmaster announced they’ll be providing “vouchers” as the result of a class-action settlement regarding those mysterious, exorbitant ticket fees. Second, New York is now criminalizing ticket-buying “bots” that gobble up all the good seats to shows you’d actually want to attend.

Let’s tackle these individually.

Thanks to the first settlement, if you bought a concert ticket through Ticketmaster between late October 1999 and February 2013, you’ll receive vouchers for free tickets to selected events and potential discounts to shows.

Now for the “However...”

However, those vouchers are worth about $2.25-$5, at most. No matter how much you were screwed during those 13 years, you’re capped at 17 vouchers. Plus, you’re still going to need to buy tickets to shows, and since we don’t know Ticketmaster’s fee structure, who’s to say they’re not just raising other fees to compensate?

Additionally, the “free ticket” shows are general admission only, according to Quartz, and capped at 100 first-come, first-served users.

The shows themselves? The list isn’t finalized yet — but the first crop of eligible shows leans heavily on so-so summer shed shows (Rockstar Taste of Chaos Tour) and nostalgia acts (Joe Walsh and Bad Company, Sublime with Rome, etc.) mixed in, randomly, with a couple of pleasant surprises (The Cure! Dylan! Not our thing, but the very up-and-coming G-Eazy!)

Still, $2-$5 or a free show that brings back your youth is still … something. If not a win, an acknowledgement. To figure out if you’re eligible and have vouchers to spend, consult Fusion’s handy checklist.

As for New York’s new law: thanks to a three-year investigation by the crusading state attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman (a man good on many things, if a bit overreaching on Airbnb), scalpers who use bots that snap up, say, 1,000+ U2 tickets in under a minute will now be subject to criminal prosecution instead of civil sanctions. Meaning, bigger fines and possible jail time.

In theory, great! In real life … don’t expect ticket buying to get any easier. Most of the ticket-buying issues come from greed perpetrated by multiple parties: promoters, artists, scalpers and ticket-buying agencies (legit or not).

It’s a fixed game. If a fixed game now $2.25 less evil.

Nota bene: Want to hack the ticket buying system? Use our “Six Ways to Score Cheap Concert Tickets” guide, which, sadly, is still a set of hacks you’ll need.

Main image: Timothy A. Clary / Staff (via Getty)

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