Between the public scrutiny concerning Ticketmaster's relationship with TicketsNow and Ticket Exhchange, and the Congressional investigation regarding the proposed merger with Live Nation, Ticketmaster's PR department has had their hands full. As the inquiries continue, the media seems to find more skeletons hanging in those Ticketmaster closests.
This week's skeleton: Scalped tickets on Ticket Exchange are sold by the artists.
An exposing article in the Wall Street Journal uses the recent Neil Diamond ticket sales as a study. According to the article, just minutes after the tickets went on sale through Ticketmaster, higher priced tickets were for sale on Ticket Exchange, a secondary ticketing website owned by Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster's former and current chief executives, Diamond's personal manager and a person familiar with AEG Live have all confirmed that the source of these tickets was in a deal between those three parties.
The article continues to explain that, although the site claims "tickets posted by fans," most of the tickets listed on the "Marketplace" are posted by the artists and their promoters. After the WSJ article was published, this claim was removed from the Ticket Exchange Website.
Almost all major touring acts make deals similar to that of Neil Diamond. The specifics are undeclared, but in an arrangement between artist, promoter and ticket agency (namely Ticketmaster), acts including Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Elton John, Van Halen, Britney Spears and Brue Springsteen scalp their own tickets.
This is flabbergasting. The acts that are built from their fans are taking extra dollars right out of their pockets. Unfortunately, it seems we can't just blame the big bad record labels anymore. This is the music BUSINESS. While many involved in the business love music, and I know they do, it is still a business and they are pressured to make a good buck. You can make your own judgments as to the ethics of how they do/did it. In my opinion, Green Day selling out is one thing. Green Day scalping me tickets is completely another.
For a nice summary of the WSJ article plus some other interesting tid bits, check coolfer.