Opinion Piece: Re-Sale Culture in Australia.

This week, it’s time we addressed the elephant in the Music Industry’s room. I can’t speak for other countries around the world, but in Australia, I’ve been noticing a definite problem. 
That problem is our attitudes towards reselling concert tickets for a higher price, and furthermore, the scam artists that don’t even have the tickets to sell in the first place. 

I don’t get mad about much, but when I see an injustice, or something that is fundamentally unfair, it’s time for me to say something about it. We’re coming into festival season at the moment too, with Falls Festival and Beyond the Valley going on sale this week, and Grapevine, Spilt Milk, and Listen Out just around the corner, so it couldn’t be more relevant.

I first became super passionate about this problem in mid-2018. I had cared before, but this was the first time that it really affected me. Childish Gambino had gone on sale on the 29th of June, and sold out in one minute. I was trying for tickets, refreshing my browser over and over again, until I saw the dreaded ‘Allocation Exhausted’. Then, I decided to have a look on the Ticketmaster Resale facility. Sure enough, there were the tickets I was trying so desperately to buy, marked up by hundreds of dollars, minimum. People were selling up to 10 tickets for $300 and $400 a pop. 
My first thought, which I tweeted to the world, was this:

Ticketmaster has a fully legal facility that allows this to happen, right under their noses. I understand what they were trying to do; they were trying to stop scam artists. Because people know if they buy from the official resale facility, at least they’re getting a real ticket. HOWEVER, did no-one in any of the board meetings think “Hold on. Maybe we should insist that the tickets are re-sold at cost price? Maybe letting them choose their own price will end in disaster?” Obviously not. 

My second thought, was poor Donald Glover. The man thinks he’s sold out in 1 minute, but in reality, he won’t be playing to a sold out audience, as (hopefully) no one falls for the hiked up prices. I prayed that no-one would fall for this, and give these people money that they didn’t earn or deserve. But I also wanted Gambino to have an audience.
Luckily, his show was cancelled, and the next time around I didn’t notice a problem with this. I also got tickets, and went to the show last month. Win.

I sent out another tweet about the issue that was featured in a Music Feeds article at the time. Here it is:

Many ticketing services cap their limit at 4 tickets per person, which is a good first step to combatting scam artists. I’m not sure if Ticketmaster have brought this into their service yet, but I hope they have since June 2018.

This brings me to our next point. Where’s our sense of community? I know there are some bad people in the world but for the most part, we’re good guys. Most of us don’t cheat, we don’t steal, and we don’t hurt each other. But for some reason, when it comes to ticketing, our morals go out the window? Here’s a message I got from Dylan on Gumtree. Now, I’m sure Dylan is a nice person. I’m sure Dylan – aside from this instance here – hasn’t taken things that weren’t his. Or maybe he has, I couldn’t say. But here’s the response I got when I asked why he was selling his Spilt Milk tickets (he was selling 4) for $100 over asking price. 

See, for some reason, Dylan here has gotten the idea that because the event is “in demand”, he deserves almost double the price from some poor guy that might be willing to pay it. And he justifies it by pretty much saying “hey, there’s others being worse than me, so this is okay”. 

Yeah, I stole $100 from a girls wallet last weekend but John stole $500, so my thing wasn’t even bad, in hindsight. Yeah, nah.

MAYBE, if these jerks didn’t buy up all the tickets for the purpose of reselling them, the event wouldn’t be as “in demand”.
The people who actually want the tickets would have gotten them in the first place. Mind blowing.
Dylan then went on to say that he’d “already sold quite a few”, which told me that he was really just buying the tickets to resell, and then had the nerve to rate me 1 star on Gumtree with the comment “rude”. 

Dylan, mate, you’re projecting. 

Something I like to draw parallels from with this topic, is craftsmanship. If you go and buy materials to make a table, and spend hours making that table, using skills that you’ve spent years developing – name your price. People will be willing to pay hundreds – maybe thousands – for handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces like this. 
You don’t just charge what the materials cost, because you’ve worked hard to make them into something better.

Reselling a ticket, however, is a completely different story. You’ve done nothing in the process of making this item, so you don’t deserve a single cent more than it’s worth. It would be like buying a dress for $60, and then going on Marketplace and trying to sell it for $100. You would be laughed at. 
We don’t do it for other items we sell, so why is this acceptable for tickets?

In conclusion, we’re letting our artists down and we’re letting each other down. It’s a major problem that needs to be addressed, and the mindset around it needs to change. People know they’ll get more money from others who are desperate to see the show, so they take the piss, to be frank. 

I have faith in services like Moshtix and Eventbrite, as they’ve put things in place to stop this, such as the resale day for Spilt Milk. Also, the major festivals themselves are speaking out about it and urging people to not buy from anyone on Facebook. 

Hopefully, in the next couple of years, things will change. Until then, good luck with the Dylan’s of the world. 

As always, comment below with your thoughts, or email me at alex@marshallstreetstudios.com 

Catch ya


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