In an exclusive interview with Ticketmaster North America President, David Butler, Hidden Track journalist Luke Sacks explores the Phish presale mishap, TicketsNow, how they battle scalpers and the passionate following of Phish. In Short:
The presale was the total fault of human error at Ticketmaster for which an "I'm sorry" in the form of a $50 gift certificate was sent to all affected purchasers. Butler made it clear that they are "working to improve..." the system every day to avoid situations such as these, but also wanted to point out that out of last year's sale of 100 million tickets, this didn't happen once to his memory. Understandably frustrated, one mess-up (or 1700, depending how you count) out of 100 million was turned into a major media scandal. Then again, when you have a semi(?) monopoly on ticket distribution and make $4 per ticket just for this service, it better be flawless. And honestly, what fan base could have been worse for the .01% error than Phish? Butler said himself that "there are few acts that have the passionate following that Phish does," not to mention the sheer volume of ticket sales. Perhaps this would have been a lower scale ordeal with Peter, Bjorn and John fans...
Butler also explained the relationship between TicektsNow and the sale of the tickets themselves, in an attempt to clear Ticketmaster's name a little bit:
"...We don’t own the tickets on TicketsNow. We simply provide an e-commerce site for buyers and sellers to meet and have a safe transaction between them. The tickets that are listed, typically, for resale on TicketsNow as an example, are owned, some by fans and most by brokers. Brokers get their tickets either by going in the on sale and buying tickets; many times they have season tickets for events so they get them that way. They may have a relationship with a promoter or a band but they don’t get any preferential treatment from Ticketmaster whatsoever."
The interview provides a different perspective to the whole debacle that is mostly believeable. Listening to a grown man act solely as a personal damage control manager is an added bonus.