What price is too high?
How much would you be prepared to pay to see your favourite band or singer? Would you buy a ticket just to resell it for an exorbitant price? Have you paid vastly inflated prices for a ticket just so you don’t miss out?
It’s a topic that has been argued time and again but once more has reared it’s head. This week came the surprise announcement that David Gilmour was going to do a short tour. He is my favourite guitarist from one of my favourite bands (Pink Floyd if you didn’t know) and I didn’t expect to have the opportunity to see him again.
I was lucky enough to see his last solo tour in 2006 and knowing he’s not a big fan of touring anymore I expected that to be the last time. I think I paid about £60 for a ticket which was a lot at the time and certainly the most I’d ever paid for a concert up to that time. The great clip below is taken from the DVD of the Royal Albert Hall shows from that tour.
So here we are nine years later and I was excited by the announcement until I saw the prices. Best seats would be just shy of £115. First thought was that’s expensive, though not as much as Kate Bush was last year. Second thought was that it could well be the last time I get to see my favourite guitarist play and despite the cost, this isn’t someone you get to see very often. It’s not like a band that tours every couple of years charging that amount.
However tickets were due to go on sale at a time I wouldn’t be able to get online so I resigned myself to missing out until, thanks to a friend, I got a pre-sale link. I decided to go for it and after a bit of battling with the system I managed to book myself a decent ticket near the stage for £104.
Main public sale started today and needless to say, sold out extremely quickly. Two new dates were added and these went too. Another friend of mine was unsuccessful so I felt very grateful.
Then the question becomes, how many tickets meant for fans have been bought up by people just to try and resell at ridiculous prices? There are a number of reseller sites, some even owned by the big ticket agencies where people who supposedly can no longer use the ticket they’ve bought can resell it. It is however quite amazing how many people buy a ticket and then minutes later realise they can’t attend and put it on these sites. Some tickets even appear before the concert has sold out.
There have been accusations of the agencies keeping some back themselves to go on these sites. I can’t comment on that but I found one site today (same day tickets went on sale don’t forget) that had tickets for the same block as the seat I got being listed at £999 each. What did I pay? £104. That’s nearly a 10x increase within hours. Obviously I don’t know if anyone will pay that but is it fair that people can do that?
In my view, that’s a big NO!! I have no issue with people being able to sell tickets they genuinely can’t use, after all you have to buy them months in advance and circumstances can change, but I also feel that you should just get your money back and not do it for big profit.
There’s been lots of arguments and ideas put forward about how to stop fans being ripped off by such high prices. Obviously if the prices weren’t paid then people wouldn’t be able to charge them but some people have more money than sense and will pay such ridiculous increases. But it’s just a band, is it really worth it? Even if I had the money spare there’s no way I’d pay that kind of price to see someone.
So they come up with ideas like printing the buyers name on the ticket and ask you to show photo ID to gain entry. This doesn’t work, people buy two tickets and arrange to meet the buyer, get them inside and then you go your separate ways.
My idea has always been to allow reselling at face value or maybe for a very small percentage increase so that the seller at least gets their money back but if you couldn’t sell at such huge profit maybe that would stop some of these people who are simply taking tickets away from true fans just to try and make money. Touting basically which I always thought was illegal but has been given legitimacy by these resellers.
The counter argument is that it would put the reseller sites out of business if they couldn’t take their cut from the high sale prices. Does that matter if they’re just facilitating touting? There will always be eBay for example, though they also claim they offer protection and a guarantee that you get the tickets you pay for. I don’t know I’ve never used them.
I don’t have the perfect answer but I hate to see people being ripped off and fans who try to buy tickets when they go on sale missing out because people who are simply in it to make a profit are buying up those tickets with no intention of attending.
I for one have limits. I’ve been lucky to get tickets for every concert I’ve wanted to go to and I’ve even purposely missed out on some when I’ve thought the price was too high but however much I wanted to go I would rather miss out than consider paying such high reseller prices and I just wish more people would take the same stance as this would stop the practice.
I can however look forward very much to what may possibly be the last chance to see someone I’ve admired for a very long time, without feeling ripped off.