What Sold Out Means Today

Outside of college my life has become much more spontaneous. My calendar is not run by my class schedule, club responsibilities or projects. Add to this a lack of 9-5 and you can see how the days are my own. A nice thought in theory but as an average overachieving American I find myself idle. Naturally I turn to my favorite hobby- live music- to entertain the hours.

Now Washington, DC is not really a music city, but fortunately we are placed geographically appropriate for bands to stop through on the way south or to NYC. Thanks for apps like Spotify and Pandora my knowledge of smaller music acts is growing. Artists no longer need Target to back their album in order to get air play or some ground support. The internet is every artist trying to break into the scene’s best friend. This puts people like me in a constant state of new music.

A friend introduced me to a band, Last Bison, luckily coming through to 6th and I this week. Since the band only had an EP online I took my time looking for tickets. Last week I go to buy and low and behold they are sold out. I check craigs list, nada, check stubhub, oh there are 6 for $79. That seems high so I return to 6th and I’s website to see what they were sold at- $13. Appropriate selling price stubhub.

Now I am sure that I am not the only one taking notice here. Music fans are being swindled by official ticket selling sites. The scalper is not gone as some industry officials say, he is now online with a Paypal account. Gone are the days of negotiating outside of a venue, today we get 3x the ticket cost- take it or leave it. To this end I have noticed more concerts are selling out. Not just eventually selling out, selling out immediately. Remember when both weekends for Coachella sold out in 4 minutes? Where are these tickets ending up? Not in the hands of the fans but on sites like stubhub with the prices gouged. You don’t hear the artists complaining, they are selling out shows city wide. You don’t hear record labels complaining, they are making back everything they put into tour support. You don’t hear venues complaining, the tickets are being purchased they don’t care by who.

The only person left is the fan with a credit card in hand being forced to pay to prove their love for a band.

Easy solution team: same name on the credit card, same name on the ticket. Maybe I am wrong, maybe there are more live music fans now and that is why shows are selling out.  I’m no business major, CFO or industry professional- just a 23 year old looking for a chance to buy a ticket to a rock show.

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