(Originally published on Grateful Music)
Russell’s Round Room
On Friday morning, August 14th, at 10:00AM a virtual hand slowly slithered out of my computer screen, ripped my heart out, and slapped me in the face. I imagine many had a similar experience, and were left ticketless and despondent in their quest for permission to attend Dead & Company at Madison Square Garden. Don’t worry deadheads; you’ll get your chocolate bar with the coveted gold foil. There are plenty still out there in ticket purgatory and on the secondary market. Regardless, we should not be having these experiences. There is something seriously wrong with this system.
While what I am referring to is the most perplexing first world problem I could think of, a quandary we are all very fortunate to have, it still sucks, and is a hardship we have to go through for every major show that we attempt to attend. Ticketmaster has a problem. Strike that, Ticketmaster has no problem whatsoever. It is an extremely successful company with limited to no competition, and makes out like a bandit with every major concert or event it puts on sale. If countless businesses in this country were to follow the model of Ticketmaster, they would not stay competitive very long, because they exist in a marketplace with competition. As did Ticketmaster once, but that hasn’t been the case since the world was proven circular. When it comes to most major events, they are the only game in town. While Ticketbastard (as many of us endearingly call it) is not fully responsible for our woes, they are the easiest target by far. And while they are not to blame for the bots that suck up tickets for the secondary market in milliseconds, they are complicit in not figuring out a way to stop them from stealing tickets from living and breathing beings. They put up those bot preventing coded barricades, but that does not thwart them. In fact, those stupid security boxes often prevent fans from checking out in the allotted time because of their ridiculous complexities. Ticketmaster, you might as well get rid of those enigmas because they don’t serve their purpose, and only piss off your sentient customers more.
What really bothers me about all of this is that it’s 2015. All these years of selling tickets, all this technology at our fingertips, and this is the best system we’ve got?! No, that’s ludicrous! It’s the most profitable system Ticketmaster can muster, and that is deplorable. I would love to ask Ticketmaster some questions: Who are you really serving? The bots and your bottom dollar, or your valued customers? Obviously you must not value the consumer very much because they HAVE to do business with you if they requisite seeing their favorite acts at face value. You have concertgoers stuck squarely between a scalper and a hard place, and you don’t even have the common courtesy of giving your clients a reach around.
It’s a lack of options for us, and a crime of convenience for you. Only in America your business practices are perfectly legal. In the world where moral fiber matters and karma is a bitch, you are committing misdeeds on a daily basis. While I appreciate that your proceeds matter, because after all you are a corporation, with a proper system for Friday’s general public sale of MSG tickets, you would have gotten every red cent you received from bots, but from real humans. After costs on an overhaul and reconfiguration of your network, your profit margins wouldn’t be affected in the least, and you’d do a great service to the show going community by virtually putting the online scalpers, such as Stub Hub, out of business.
In respect to solving this dilemma. I may have some notions, but I don’t have any answers. Yet you should have the solutions because this racket is your area of expertise! Wouldn’t it feel nice to provide a quality service as opposed to giving folks coronaries every time they decide to spend their hard earned money to attend a show? While from your perspective everything looks hunky-dory, your shit is all fucked up! I’m sure you’re comfortable letting business continue in this manner, but one day your company will face its reckoning. A few of the popular bands in the country have tried to go up against you, but they’ve failed miserably, because a monopoly is expensive to diminish, especially when you have already toppled most alternatives. Yet if you allow this business model to continue, one day in the not so distant future an institution will come up with a plan to put you out of business. All the while an army is forming to assure they succeed.
So wouldn’t it be better to innovate from within, do something constructive, please your customer base, and set your company up for perpetual prosperity by way of helping to get tickets into the hands of those that really desire them? It seems like a win-win to me. And while it’s not directly your system that is creating this virtual bottleneck every time we try to get tickets, you sit idly by and let other people, computers, and vampires disguised as companies suck the joy out of all you do. If it’s just about the balance sheet for you, what’s the bloody point?
It shouldn’t be all about the Benjamin’s, it should be about pleasing the consumer as well and if it’s not then why bother, because all the money in the world won’t dig your company out of its karmic pit. You may not be solely responsible, but you are the only institution currently in the position to make a difference. So please attempt to address this glaring phenomenon already! Throw a bone to the people that put the food on your tables. No one has a problem with you making profit. But don’t only be a cost-effective business, be a good business too. And if you change your act, the next time we have to fork over our hard earned cash for something we love, we won’t even bitch about your inexplicable fees. I promise.
Words: Russell S. Glowatz
Editor: Kevin Long