Ticketmaster Now In The Ticket Scalping Business?

Ticketmaster is directing fans seeking hard-to-find Radiohead tickets to a ticket-reselling partner website called “Tickets Now.”

From AtEaseWeb.com (a Radiohead fansite):

Radiohead purchased ads in print and on radio to promote the sales of their concert tickets on Ticketmaster, but after those tickets are sold out on Ticketmaster, customers using the Ticketmaster website see a page with options with the “Find Tickets” link directing customers to TicketsNow, which is listed as Ticketmaster’s “partner site.” However, TicketsNow is a secondary ticket seller owned by Ticketmaster.

Ticketnews.com reveals that a source close to the situation, who requested anonymity, a TicketsNow executive helped assist with the sale of more than $1 million worth of Radiohead tickets on the TicketsNow website, which at a margin of 25 percent allowed TicketsNow to generate a gross of more than $250,000 from the deal.

Radiohead fans aren’t too pleased about this arrangement, as you might imagine.

What do you think? Should Ticketmaster be profiting off of ticket reselling?

Ticketmaster scalps Radiohead tickets [AtEastWeb] (Thanks, Clayton!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. iMe2 says:

    If you can’t beat them, join them! …But morally, no, they should not.

  2. Parting says:

    Ticketmaster needs some anti-monopoly law. Not another hand in the cookie pot.

  3. yep, seems on par given that it’s TM we’re talking about

  4. TheBigLewinski says:

    Ticketmaster is a monopoly and the government should come down hard on them. I refuse to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster, if I can’t buy them at a box office I don’t go to the show.

    I find them to be one of the sleaziest companies around.

  5. WhirlyBird says:

    TicketMaster has *always* been a scalper – they just call it a “convenience fee”.

  6. Parting says:

    That’s a huge conflict of interest.

    How do we know, that Ticketmaster won’t keep tickets aside, to resell at scalper’s price?

  7. outinthedark says:

    This really has got to be illegal…I’m with TheBigLewinski I don’t go to the show unless I can by it from the box office.

    Then again my local radio station 96x somehow has “hundreds” of these Radiohead tickets that I couldn’t buy…

  8. AaronZ says:

    Holy crap! What a SCAM! Tickmaster “sells out” of a concert, and shunts a portion of the “sold out” tickets to its own subsidiary, which can then sell them for a percentage *higher* than they originally sold them at.

    If this isn’t the definition of ‘scam’ I don’t know what is.

  9. mac-phisto says:

    well, if we still had an anti-trust department that cared about anything other than microsoft, i think this would certainly catch their eye.

    i wonder if this will affect ticketmaster’s lawsuit against stubhub. while stubhub may be violating exclusivity contracts to obtain tickets, their lawyers could probably argue that ticketmaster doesn’t provide a method to obtain the tickets thru their system (while at the same time providing tickets for auction thru a partner). that certainly seems anti-competitive to me.

  10. AaronZ says:

    I don’t go to a lot of concerts, so Ticketmaster isn’t on my radar much. Even so, this ranks as one of the most dispicable things I’ve read on Consumerist in a while.

  11. mac-phisto says:

    @TheBigLewinski & outinthedark: generally, if ticketmaster is providing tickets to the show, generally they are also providing the tickets at the box office. so buying them in person doesn’t stop you from feeding the beast.

    you can tell if this is the case or not if you end up paying a “convenience fee” (despite sleeping on a curb for three days to see a show).

  12. hapless says:

    Why is it that they don’t just auction tickets off?

  13. Norcross says:

    NFL teams have been doing this for a few years now. Each team has a ticket “partner” who has single game tickets that are sold out. If I remember correctly, the Eagles had one where the “partner” was advertising the tickets before they even went on sale. On the Eagles official site, no less.

  14. mrafternoon says:

    I have sect 3 seats for the Charlotte, NC for purchase if you want to stick it to both ticket master and TicketsNow.

    Cut out these middle man gougers, and buy direct from a gouger!

  15. AmbiUbi says:

    Hmmmm. That’s why I went to Livenation.com to get my tickets, the actual promoters of the tour.

    I remember trying to get tickets for their show last year in Philly, seeing them sell out on TicketMaster in about 2 minutes, then finding them on StubHub 3 minutes later at 4 times the price.

    I hate people sometimes.

  16. NotATool says:

    Ha, I interviewed with TicketsNow a few years back. I’m glad they didn’t hire me, wouldn’t want to be part of the Ticketmaster monopoly….

  17. Ex_EA_Slave says:

    Just goes to show you why TM deserves to beat Wachovia for the worst company in America, [consumerist.com]

  18. silkyjumbo says:

    @AmbiUbi: i thought livenation was in cahoots with ticketmaster. i mean, that’s what happens when i check on tickets through livenation.

  19. FreeMarketGravy says:

    Ticketmaster is scum, but they are not a monopoly. They have cornered the market and made it nigh impossible for any company to gain any traction in the landscape, but they are not actively preventing any company from trying. Ticketmaster deserves the blame for their scummy practices, but blame the performers and venues that sign exclusivity agreements with Ticketmaster and make it so nearly impossible for any other company to compete.

    In that regard, Ticketmaster’s just trying to do business with any many partners as possible, which is what any company that wants to be successful would do.

  20. BuriedCaesar says:

    Doesn’t matter who holds the hatchet. Scalping is scalping.

  21. leejames says:

    Should Ticketmaster be profiting off of ticket reselling?

    Isn’t that their entire business model already?

  22. chrisjames says:

    Seems like the concert-goers are willing to pay the money. If that’s the case, then what has TicketMaster done wrong?

    What, should they not be allowed to set the prices for their tickets? Or maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate who they sell them to? Maybe TicketMaster shouldn’t be allowed to own secondary resellers that they use another outlet for their ticket sales? Are we so entitled to that Radiohead concert? Is it so unfair that I can’t make them charge me the price I want to pay? Of course, I want everything for free, so I’m not a good judge of things anyway.

  23. Mr. Gunn says:

    If that’s OK, why don’t they just sell ALL their tickets to ticketnow, for a cut of the deal? Then ticketnow can do the same thing to a fourth-party, and so on.

    Gouge the little kids spending mommy’s money.

  24. juniper says:

    I had to go this route with some Police tickets earlier this year – the $50 regular tickets were sold out, leaving only the $150+ ones. I bought my $50 tickets for around $100 each from TicketsNow.

    A week later, a friend tells me he got $50 tickets for the same show from Ticketmaster. I was fuming. Do they let tickets go in spurts to fuel consumption for TicketsNow?

  25. DrJimmy says:

    TicketBastard strikes again. I guess this makes them more Bastardous than Ever…

  26. puddleglum411 says:

    Ticketmaster must have exclusive agreements with all the major venues in the US or something? I’m not familiar with the state of things.

    I just can’t figure out why bands, sports teams, etc, haven’t figured out a way to directly auction tickets to fans. That way the first sale would already be at market value, drastically reducing the upside for prospective middlemen.

  27. puddleglum411 says:

    @chrisjames: Your question is valid, in the sense that no matter what people try to do, tickets are going to wind up selling for what people are willing to pay for them. (outside, say, an airline-security type system of photo identification of ticket buyers and prohibition of resale)

    The issue people have is that Ticketmaster isn’t creating the value. It’s the band/performer/team/etc that they are paying for, but scalpers (including Ticketmaster and it’s subsidies) are getting what is essentially a free lunch.

  28. satlos says:

    From what I’ve heard online, the real problem (besides the fact that Ticketmaster sucks in general) is that the day the tickets go on sale–even the FIRST MINUTE they go on sale–Ticketmaster lists them as “sold out” and shuffles you on over to TicketNow.

    As much as I disklike Pearl Jam these days, they sure had the right idea…

  29. alapapa says:

    They did the same thing for Major League Baseball tickets this year.

    I noticed while trying to buy tickets that large number of games were almost instantly “sold out” only to find out that TicketsNow had bought them all.

    C’mon US government! Stop protecting big business at the expense of the little guy :mad:

  30. InThrees says:

    Leave it to ticket master to find a way to bend people over even further.


    This is like a pharmaceutical company selling blister packs of percocet to Juan down on the corner.

  31. thrlsekr says:

    The only way to stop it is to quit going to concerts! Stop paying the premium these services are demanding and guess what there would not be an issue.

    Only buy my tickets at the location the event is being held at otherwise I will not put one of my hard earned dollars in the hand of someone who does nothing but transfer the ticket from one place to the next!

    When it comes to music I want to insure my money goes to the artist and not someone shaving some off the top!

  32. maztec says:

    This is why a third of the seats at concerts, theaters, and small venue events are always empty. People refuse to buy this crap and the seats go unused. Unfortunately, these companies manage to sell enough of the seats that they stay in business.

    For example – Apocalyptica was playing in Seattle last week. A friend of mine bought a ticket a day after they went on sale and told me about it. I tried to get tickets the next morning, none were available. But every scalp site around was selling the tickets for nearly four times the original price. As a result, I did not go.

    Now my friend, he comes back and says that nearly half of the seats were unfilled. The club had to get people off the street to fill it up, selling tickets half price at the door.

    I think this type of scenario amounts to scalping which to me is another word for theft.


  33. buenafe says:

    Ticketmaster has aggressive business practices. I’m still upset that I got scammed by Ticketmaster and Entertainment Rewards.


  34. chrisjames says:

    @puddleglum411: Getting a free lunch? Could you explain that?

    The resellers (not the street scalpers) are providing a service to the band/performer/team/etc and the venues. Those whose decision it is to sell through TicketMaster are not being forced to do so. They likely choose to because they can profit from it; reach a larger customer base and advertising scope. Should TicketMaster not be allowed to profit from this service they are providing?

  35. uricmu says:

    Ticketmaster lobbied to have scalping laws repealed in most states

  36. ronnyg says:

    CBC Marketplace just did a segment on this very topic:


  37. Triterion says:

    This is more fuel for the fire to get everyone to stop using Ticketmaster. One day… one day.

  38. lesspopmorefizz says:

    Yep…Ticketmaster specializes in highway robbery. I hate them so much, and never buy tickets from them otherwise…but what can I say, I wanted to go to Sasquatch. So I sucked it up and paid FORTY DOLLARS in service charges because they don’t sell three-day passes anymore; just individual tickets for each day, each with a hefty 10 dollar fee.

    Guess how much money Kroger/Fred Meyer gets for every ticket they sell via Ticketmaster? TWENTY-FIVE CENTS.

  39. puddleglum411 says:


    I completely agree that a company dedicated to managing the sale and distribution of tickets is valuable for event holders. The free lunch comment was specifically in reference to this article. If this article is to be believed, Ticketmaster is essentially finding ways to sell the tickets for a higher price (through TicketsNow), without having to pass any additional money on to Radiohead.

  40. DwightIsMyCopilot says:

    Around this time last year I remember buying tickets to numerous Tori Amos shows, and even on days that they were only doing the presale that was supposed to be reserved for fans with the “password” (usually a week or two before the regular on-sale date), I could get on ticketsnow website and find seats to those shows right in the areas that the presale tickets were being sold in for twice the price. I had heard then that Ticketmaster owned Tickets Now and I knew that they were taking whole chunks of tickets that were supposed to be reserved and putting them up for twice or more the price on Tickets Now. And this happened again and again with every show I was buying tickets for. SOOOO infuriating.

  41. chrisjames says:

    @puddleglum411: That’s a legal question of whether they violated their agreement with Radiohead, and whether Radiohead actually gets a percentage of the price of each ticket or just a flat rate per seat/section. Actually, it may be the venue that this applies to, not Radiohead.

    Either way, a sold out show even at base price is probably just what the venue and Radiohead want from TicketMaster (they’d be idiots not to agree to at least that), and that’s just what they got: an instantly sold out show. So I still don’t get why TicketMaster can’t find ways to profit here. Or why they have to share those profits if that’s not part of the agreement, which is beyond my knowledge.

  42. valthun says:

    @chrisjames: The biggest issue with tiketmasters fees is not so much that there is a fee, but the high price of that “convenience fee”. However its understandable that the convenience is that I don’t have to drive to the venue and purchase my tickets.

    The issue in regards to this article is that ticketmaster has an affiliate that resells tickets. Wherein they are withholding sales to fans that would want to see the show then reselling them at a higher price. While true the show is technically sold out. The truth is Ticketmaster purchased tickets from themselves and are selling them to the fans at an inflated price. At this point the price is being set by ticketmaster above the agreed upon price by the venue and band. What ticketmaster is doing here is scalping, and not providing an honest, or as close as they can get to being honest, service to the fans, band, or venue.

  43. puka_pai says:

    @BuriedCaesar: “Doesn’t matter who holds the hatchet. Scalping is scalping.”

    And that the truth!

    I haven’t been to a concert in years. The few artists that I might want to see all cost too damn much. But our whole family wanted to see Eddie Izzard, so I figured I’d suck it up and deal with TicketMaster. Alas, the show was sold out, but I could get plenty of the $35 dollar tickets via TicketsNow. As long as I was willing to pay $605 dollars each. Yes, SIX HUNDRED FIVE bucks!

    Love ya, Eddie. I’ll be the first to buy the DVD the day it’s released.

  44. TechnoDestructo says:

    @NotATool: but if you had worked for them you might be able to get us the home addresses of Ticketmaster executives.

    The schools their children attend would be even more useful information.

  45. darkmstr says:

    This is most definitely double dipping in violation of the standard practice.
    Ticketing for large events, such as a Radiohead show, is pretty convoluted.
    Generally, the act gets paid a flat rate by the event promoter. The promoter also rents the venue and pays some of the other costs associated with the event. After figuring those costs, they decide how many tickets and at what price they need to sell to break even and/or make a profit. That is generally the face value of the ticket.
    TM has exclusive ticket sales arrangement w/ most large venues which cover things like fees (and how much of each fee gets kicked back to the venue). By sending the tickets over to a partner, they are able to make money well in excess of the agreed fees for their serevice. Unfortunately, as long as the venue gets their money, they’re very unlikely to raise any red flags.
    None of this extra cash gets rolled to the promoter, who took all the risk in the first place.

  46. TicketsNow’s 15% “service charge” is precious. Cleverly, you have to give them your email address to get the total.

    I previously said “scalpers make Ticketmaster look ‘ehhh… not so bad’ by comparison”. I take that back.

  47. deserthiker says:

    If you can’t pay the price whatever it is don’t go to the concert. If idiots weren’t willing to pay for these shows then the demand would dry up and ticket prices would be reasonable.

    Save you money and take guitar lessons if you want live music.

  48. lincolnparadox says:

    Jesus, folks. Sue or boycott. Write your favorite bands and ask them to use an alternative (like self promotion ticket sales on their website OR playing smaller venues).

    Ticketmaster has every fan by the coconuts (or by the teaberry, if you will). This is all the proof that you need. They want to push a lawsuit. Rise up and revolt.

  49. tixter says:

    Ticketmaster is way too big and way too in the spotlight to do anything this stupid. Plus, they dont control the tickets – the venues and promoters do. Ticketmaster just provides the sales platforms. It does look like a conflict, but there’s no way Ticketmaster would step in that pile by taking tix away from the public at face and marking them up on Tnow.

    The secondary sites are so commonplace now that fans dont think twice about going there if they cant get tix at face. Since they own TicketsNow, once the shows sell out, why would they want fans to go to any other site – ebay, razorgator, etc?

    Free market at work. No way to stop it.

  50. bex_01 says:

    I really don’t understand Ticketmaster. I bought Panic at the Disco tickets 2 days ago for the 5/24 show, that has supposedly been sold out FROM Ticketmaster.

    Is it because it’s closer to the venue, and they’re releasing the rest of the tickets?

    I wish they would make things more clear.

  51. lightaugust says:

    @deserthiker: Sorry, but there’s a difference here. Allowing people to go a different route to get a product/ service (and here, one that is usually one time only and unavailable elsewhere) is one thing. My understanding is that bands/ promoters agree on the ticket price. For TM to charge for the access to that product is just their job, I get that. But to turn around and ‘resell’ these tickets at another premium so they can circumvent their agreement with Radiohead/ the Blue Man Group/ Doug Henning/ Whomever would be illegal in any other business.

  52. Anonymous says:

    TICKETSNOW: I purchases BCS championship tickets from ticketsnow at approx 9-930pm on 12/7/08, as soon as OU won and was heading to the BCS championship. On 12/10/08 we received an invoice stating our tickets will delivered appron 1/6/09. I immediately called and voiced a concern that if this date had been made aware to me prior to my purchase, i would have went with one of the sellers who stated tickets were in hand. at no time was i ware that the vendor ticketsnow allowed to post their tickets for sale didnt even have their tickets in hand and ready for sale. the ticketsnow agent called the vendor. the vendor assured the rep that they would have their tickets in hand and ready for shipping in the next two weeks and if they came in earlier they would ship immediately. so i waited. two weeks went by, didnt hear anything. called ticketsnow again, who in turned called the vendor… the vendor told the rep that i would recv the tickets in the middle of the following week. i ask
    ed the rep to call back the vendor again for didnt believe they had the tickets yet. i be darn,they didnt have the tickets yet. at the end of this call, the vendor guarenteed that they would ship my tickets 1/2/09. between the rep and i we figured since ups/fed ex was closed on 1/1 that they had to have tickets in hand by 12/31. i called 12/31.. no tickets in hand and they denied speaking with ticketsnow stating i would have my tickets shipped on 1/2/09. so as i contine with this back and forth issue, here it is 4 business days before the game and the vendor still doesnt have the tickets. so we are expected to board an airplane for florida with no tickets in hand. i told ticketsnow that they charged my cc for the tickets and was only suppose to have been done when they secured by tickets. since the vendor doesnt have the tickets, how did they secure them. i have requested to that ticketsnow hook me with a vendor who has their tickets in hand… i am waiting to hear from a m
    anager… not corporate for when you call the 815#it goes right back to the call centers… i have a feeling i will be praying for my tickets to show up. i will let you know what happens next…

  53. Anonymous says:

    Not only is Ticketmaster jacking up prices unfairly, but are also guilty of false advertisement. STS9 is playing two nights at the Wiltern in LA. I searched for tickets on Ticketmaster’s site, and it came back with three listings, one for each night, and one for a two-day pass. I clicked on the two-day pass option, and was redirected to TicketsNow. This was the first I’d heard of them, but since they said they were a ticketmaster company, I didn’t really think twice. and proceeded to order. A little while later I got an order confirmation in my inbox with only one night listed. I e-mailed customer service and was supposed to get a response within 24 hours. This was their response two days later:

    Thank you for your inquiry. After reviewing your account it seems like you will be receiving only for the one day. I don’t see anything on your invoice mentioning that it will be a two day pass. I do apologize for the confusion, but it looks like it will only be for the 16th of January.

    If you have any further questions, please contact our Customer Service Representatives at 1-800-927-2770 during our business hours. Service Representatives are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 8am until 9pm Central Standard Time. We are also open Saturday from 8am until 5:30pm CST, and Sunday from 9am until 5:30pm CST. Thank You.

    Ruben Ruiz
    Sales, Customer Care

    The tickets just arrived today, and surely enough, they were only for a single night, and I paid way more than face-value. for them. I understand that TicketsNow tix are sold through “brokers”, and I read the disclaimer that said that tickets may be sold for more than face-value. The price didn’t seem too high though since I thought I was paying for two nights.
    Needless to say, I’m pissed. I was misled into thinking I was getting tix for both nights, and now I’m only going to one and paying much more than I should’ve for that single night ( the face-value on the tickets with service charge is $39.50, got charged $210 total for two tickets). I should’ve gone to Live Nation where they were still on sale at regular price, but the fact remains that Ticketmaster/TicketsNow is decieving and ripping off it’s customers.

  54. Anonymous says:

    1. TicketNow sells tickets right on the ticketmaster page
    2. how do we know ticketmaster is selling tickets to the public first befor they put them on ticketsNow
    3. Ticketmaster says check back as the event nears as tickets may available. Sounds like TM will resell all the unsold tickets from ticketsnow
    4. Technical difficulty on Ticketmaster that impaired us from making a purchase, and if you were lucky to get on the site you found out it was soldout
    5. LIVE NATION AND TICKETMASTER TO COMBINE IN MERGER. Live Nataion owns most of the venues . This a monopoly. . aren’t there laws against this !!!!
    I say enough is enough so I started a website with #’s and addresses of congressmen to complain to
    do your part and call congress and complain.