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The concert you want to go to is sold out because a ticket scalper bought all the tickets and is now re-selling them at 5 times the price.

Stashed in: Best Videos, Jerk Store, Dave Grohl, Price Is Right!, Freakonomics, Music Industry, Personal Finance, Rage Against the Machine

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The music industry doesn't seem to mind online ticket scalping.

Top Reddit comment:

If they wanted to prevent resale of tickets, they would have a photo and name on each ticket. Similar to what Rage Against the Machine did for their free gig in the UK.

I wish people would stop buying tickets from scalpers, or have a rule to never pay more than face value, so if someone can't go anymore, they can still sell their tickets.  It wouldn't take long for scalpers to move on, once they get stuck with tickets they can't move, or they only get face value for them, not very lucrative ;)

I agree with you.

If the music industry wanted to make this happen, they would make it policy.

Unfortunately they want scalping to exist. :(

"Unfortunately they want scalping to exist. :("

Marlene, clearly the do... but I think there is more than meets the eye here. 

Forget your idea of putting photo ID's on tickets for a moment... if the ticket companies were charging market prices this secondary market would not exist to anything like this scale.  Seeing that trying to police scalpers would be a substantial cost (increasing the cost of each transaction which is the ticketer's main expense) while raising ticket prices to market levels would be a revenue generator, capable of bringing most of the scalper's take to the ticketer, we should be asking what is going on here beneath the surface.

My gut tells me that ticketers (probably as a proxy for their clients) value a reputation of fairness more than they value maximizing ticket prices.  I would have to guess this is a *rational* bias, i.e. they fear a revolt by either ticket buyers or artists if they don't keep the prices down, and keep them more uniform.

Now, returning to the idea of photo ID's and such.  This might please people who cringe when they see articles like this, but I doubt most individuals who buy tickets (esp in the context of the aforementioned economic situation) would value losing their ability to resell.  In fact this would decrease the perceived value of an item that is apparently already well under-priced.  Artists probably wouldn't like it either, as the measure would reduce attendance (although it is more of a wash for artists financially).

This is an armchair argument... I have little knowledge about this.  I'd be interested to get reactions on it.

I think you're right that photo id's would be not preferred by the public nor most artists.

In an unregulated market prices will go to whatever supply and demand allow them to be.

If the industry doesn't want to manage the market then that's what they'll get.

Yes, maybe they are just too dumb (isn't Ticketmaster something approaching a monopoly?) to manage the secondary market themselves...but it still seems like a puzzle. 

They are near monopoly and you're right that they're leaving a lot of money on the table that they would have gotten if they managed the market themselves. 

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