It’s hard enough to buy tickets on Ticketmaster when tens of thousands of people are trying to secure perhaps only 5,000-10,000 tickets at major musical and/or sporting events, but it’s made much harder when the company providing those tickets is obscenely obsessed with profit.
According to an undercover investigative report conducted by CBC News and Toronto Star, Ticketmaster knowingly operates an approved secondary seller market within its own company with the aim of doubling or tripling its own profits.
A pair of reporters posing as scalpers was sent from the outlets to Ticket Summit 2018, a ticketing and live entertainment convention at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. During their time at the convention, they spoke with many representatives for Ticketmaster who told them about their “professional reseller program.”
Utilizing proprietary software called TradeDesk, users could manipulate prices and amounts of tickets on secondary markets at will, creating a mostly-unregulated marketplace for tickets. Nearly all of these users used multiple accounts and bots.
“I have brokers that have literally a couple of hundred accounts,” one sales representative said. “It’s not something that we look at or report.”
“If you want to get a good show and the ticket limit is six or eight … you’re not going to make a living on six or eight tickets,” said another.
Alan Cross, a veteran music journalist and host of the radio program The Ongoing History of New Music, called the investigation a “public relations nightmare” for Ticketmaster.
He said there have been “whispers of this in the ticket-selling community, but it’s never been outlined quite like this before.”
This all benefits Ticketmaster because of its fees.
According to CBC, “if Ticketmaster collects $25.75 on a $209.50 ticket on the initial sale, when the owner posts it for resale for $400 on the site, the company stands to collect an additional $76 on the same ticket.”
Ticketmaster has declined requests for an interview.