Can electronic ticketers help keep the scalpers at bay?
This past March, First Avenue announced that it would be parting ways with Ticketmaster in favor of its new ticketing outlet, eTix. The switch was met with overwhelming joy from Twin Cities concertgoers, especially those fed up with paying exorbitant (and still rising) Ticketmaster fees. Lately, the downtown club has been making it even easier for fans to pay face value for their tickets, by requiring that some of the bigger shows are will-call-only, meaning that the fans who purchase their tickets during the initial on-sale will be the fans who actually attend the show.
For some, this extra hoop-jumping might seem like a nuisance -- if you buy electronic tickets for the just-announced James Blake show, for example, you have no way of knowing whether something else will come up over the next four months, with no way of re-selling the tickets -- but it's also an admirable attempt to keep the scalpers at bay, and an intriguing test for our concert market.
To examine this issue further, we did a quick search to see just how much ticket prices are being inflated by scalpers for some of the hottest sold-out shows this summer. Below are some of our search results. Warning: The mark-up on the Adele tickets might make you pass out.
Janet Jackson at the Orpheum
Face value: $67.50-$97.50
Scalpers want: $175
Rock the Garden at the Walker
Face value: $46
Scalpers want: $190 for a pair
GLEE at the Target Center
Face value: $51.50-$91.50
Scalpers want: $700 for a pair
Adele at First Avenue
Face value: $27.50
Scalpers want: $1000 for two tickets
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