Ticketmaster tests out new feature that groups resale and unsold tickets together
Ticketmaster is kind of like that uncle you never speak about at Christmas dinner. The company is both a necessary evil as well as the incarnation of evil itself.
We all know about the hardships of having to shell out an arm and a leg to see you favorite band play from the nosebleeds, the big-band small venue bullshit that is pulled yearly for better fan experience aka really expensive tickets (I am looking at you Tom Petty 2 weeks at the Fonda theater in Los Angeles) None of this is new to us. Blatant rip-offs have been a huge topic of conversation in the last decade. What irks us, the consumer, most is thinking about the pure amount of profit that is going to these companies and resellers and not to the bands we would like to support. It is downright disgusting.
While paying much more than your fellow consumer for the same product/ experience is nothing exclusive to the music industry, Ticketmaster today looks to transparency in hopes of limiting the large negative diatribes and press that surrounds its billion-dollar market stronghold. Toward that end, TM + is a new program that groups resale and unsold tickets together when you buying tickets for an upcoming event.
Not only will you now know you are getting ripped off, but at the next One Direction concert you go to you can literally look to the person left of you and know they paid $300 less than you did for this same awesome experience.
This program has already been tested this year on over 300 events including recent Black Sabbath shows as well as dozens of professional sporting events, the AP reports. Using a computer, ticket buyers can see where each available seat is in a stadium, how much it’s selling for, and whether it’s a marked-up resale seat or one that hasn’t been sold yet.
While it might piss you off when you overpay for an event you really want to go to, at least now you’ll be able to put a comparative price point on your experience, unlike other industries such as the airlines.
Transparency is inherently a good thing. It is good to be able to know more about your expenditures versus others in the same section at an event. While it might further frustrate you that you can now put an absolute price variation between your B12 seat and the man sitting in B13 who came in an hour late and talked on his cell phone the entire event, in the greater scope of things this is going to be a good thing… I think.
As long as you trust that Ticketmaster will be up front with all the information surrounding the ticket release dates and section prices, whether or not the ticket is being resold or sold for the first time becomes a moot point. It does not take an economist to understand the idea behind market power. If purchasing a ticket is a perfectly competitive market the price will ultimately rise and fall depending on demand, ultimately settling along the advertised price per ticket if the people behind the event thought it out correctly.
I tried with little luck to find a music event that is currently using the TM + model, ultimately settling on an upcoming Miami Dolphins game against the Atlanta Falcons that the Associated Press provided. You can see that a single resale seat in Section 122 priced at $146.05 is right beside an unsold seat selling for $85.
You get the idea. This new program will let you interact with stadium maps, theoretically benefiting you with this increase in knowledge on what the actual cost of attending is going to be. So why is Ticketmaster doing this? For one, it is to compete with Stub Hub in the resale market as well as bring about a better customer experience. Ultimately however it is the 20% (10% from the seller, 10% from the buyer) fee Ticketmaster receives from the transaction that really the push for implementing this new system.
At the end of the day TM + will not stop the fact that you are getting severely ripped off by the man, it will just bring about a clearer picture of exactly how much you are in fact over paying for the event in question.
What TM + actually does is move even more from the pay per section dated model of ticket selling to the pay per actual seat/row that should have been implemented a long time ago. In the end this will hopefully be something that gets the ball rolling to total price per seat (unsold or resold) that the market should have adopted a long time ago.