Ticketmaster raises white flag to scalpers

A new platform called TM+ merges original and resale tickets, giving customers the option to buy either.

By Julie K Balise Aug 14, 2013 3:53PM

Ticket scalpers are unlikely to be friends with such big businesses as Live Nation (LYV) and Ticketmaster.


But a new ticket-selling platform may indicate that the big guys are ready to get along with resellers, Bloomberg reports. The TM+ platform merges primary and secondary ticket sales, giving customers the option to buy original-issue tickets or ones being resold.


"It's . . . bringing your enemies closer to . . . manage that process a little bit, and it all comes down to dollars," said Paul Sweeney, the U.S. director of research for Bloomberg Industries. "Ticketmaster wants to get a cut of the fees that the scalpers are now getting."

There are several ways Ticketmaster will benefit from reseller sales on TM+, according to The Wall Street Journal. Scalpers will pay a fee with the original purchase and a fee to use the reselling software. Customers will have to pay a resale commission and a final fee with their purchase.


Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010. The combined company is responsible for 80% of the live event ticket market in the U.S. Ticketmaster sold more than $143 million in tickets last year, according to the report.


Reselling concert tickets is a $4 billion-a-year business.


File photo of a Ticketmaster ticket (© ANDREW GOMBERT/epa/Corbis)Scalpers are a rising problem for normal ticket buyers. Their ability to bypass Ticketmaster's online security allows them to buy large blocks of seats quickly, oftent blocking casual fans, according to Sweeney. After the concert is sold out, many fans turn to resellers like StubHub for seats.


Tickets from resellers will be clearly marked on TM+. Resellers interested in the platform will have to be verified by Ticketmaster.


In order for TM+ to work, resellers will have to buy into the idea. They have a history of friction with Ticketmaster and Live Nation officials, who have failed in their attempts to quash scalping. Ticketmaster has also tried to create rival websites to StubHub.


"I think what's really different this time is they are actually inviting the ticket scalpers . . . on to the Ticketmaster platform," Sweeney said.


TM+ would prevent tickets from being sold for less than face value. The Wall Street Journal reported that brokers criticized the amount of pricing control that gives Ticketmaster. They also accused the company of holding back tickets for VIPs and corporate sponsors.


It's going to be tough for Ticketmaster to compete with established resellers like Stubhub, according to Porter Bibb, a managing partner at Mediatech Capital Partners.


"The consumer reaction is going to be it just costs me more if Ticketmaster comes into the picture," he said.


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Aug 14, 2013 5:50PM
Ticketmaster created this seperate company just so that they could scalp tickets themselves and leave out the little guys.  Their agreement with songwriters and event hosts were for them to make a small percentage off of each transaction.  Ticketmaster got around that by selling the tickets to themselves (their secondary company they created) to resell the tickets.  Ticketmaster is the mofia of the ticket business.  I'm a ticket broker and I'll never sell my inventory thru their site in order for them to make even more money.  Go to hell ticketmaster.
Aug 14, 2013 5:56PM
Just another way for TicketBastard to screw over the common fan.
Aug 14, 2013 5:40PM

Dallas, TX   Sold out show for "Book of Mormon"      Well not really..   All the tickets are on Stub Hub at DOUBLE face value.    Suck it scalpers, not paying you to be a fat middle man.    


(Stub Hub is a  eBay owned company)

Aug 14, 2013 5:15PM
Aug 14, 2013 5:52PM

RE: TM+ would prevent tickets from being sold for less than face value.


So that means if you bought a ticket in good faith then could not attend the event, you couldn't use Ticketmaster to sell it?


Sounds like price fixing.



Aug 14, 2013 6:26PM
We need to go back to the old days. Ticketmaster outlets where you wait in line and are limited to four tickets per person. No more online or telephone sales. That is the only way to be fair to everyone.
Aug 14, 2013 6:17PM
Ticketmaster are SCALPERS already charging outrageous fees to buy tickets! No wonder they want to get in on the FEES! Anything that hurts them I love! I just wish I could afford to go to a concert any more thanks to Ticketmaster and the rest of them.
Aug 14, 2013 6:07PM

Every time I tried to buy tickets thru Ticketmaster I felt like I was being scammed.  Just can't do business with them and feel good about it.  At least when you buy from a scalper they admit they are scalping you!

Aug 14, 2013 4:49PM

Wow - Re-selling beats the crap out of Ticketmaster - who knew. Consider these two quotes from above:

"... responsible for 80% of the live event ticket market in the U.S. Ticketmaster sold more than $143 million in tickets last year..."

and of course:

"Reselling concert tickets is a $4 billion-a-year business. ."


Since virtually ALL concerts are live events, and Ticketmaster's 80% share only came to $143 million, yet the scalpers got $4 billion -Ticketmaster must be giving away tickets!

Aug 14, 2013 7:38PM
Ticket master is a scalper! The venue should be responsible for their own ticket sales. If the Georgia dome runs an event in their stadium they should be the brokers for the event. If T.D. Bank North (Boston garden) runs an event they should broker their own tickets. I find legal scalping much more disgusting than I do the guy on the corner trying to make a buck!
Aug 14, 2013 6:58PM
I stopped buying tickets when the whole process started feeling like one big scam to me!  I now don't care who sales tickets...I don't buy any!  Sounds like it has become an even bigger scam since I quit buying tickets to events!  How much does it cost to go to a concert these days?  I remember when it was just $20 bucks a head.
Aug 14, 2013 9:25PM
FU Ticket master, as if prices and fees are not high enough now they want to Double Dip and likely push them higher. They get a fee when they sell the ticket, the Scalpers get to buy the big blocks of tickets that are now not available for the rest of us to buy, so now Ticket master wants another fee from us if we want to resort to paying an over inflated scalper price, what a bunch of BS!! 
Aug 14, 2013 7:26PM
Don't go to concerts anymore due to the outrageous prices..still have my 2 unused Led Zeppelin 1977 Philadelphia concert tickets with face value of       12 BUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!     Eff you! Tmaster and all the other scalpers...Im done with all concerts
Aug 14, 2013 7:59PM

... and not only do greedy Ticketmaster and other re-sellers like StubHub get commission from both the buyer and seller, their percentage is based on the total price of the re-sell transaction, not just on the amount that is above the original buyer's purchase price.    

Aug 14, 2013 7:02PM
micro ticket agencies are just a scalper with an office, day of big events they close early to sell what they couldn't by game / concert day.
Aug 14, 2013 9:36PM

Sounds like the Ticketmaster CEO has gotten in bed with the Cedar Fair CEO. Ticketmaster-Scalping Not Allowed, Pay a Fee now it is OK. Cedar Fair-Line Jumping Not Allowed at our Amusement Parks, Pay a Fee and go ahead to the Front of the Line. Corporate Greed never ceases to Amaze me.

Aug 15, 2013 1:13PM
I think I stood in line for about 32 hrs to get tix for Pink Floyd's 'Division Bell' tour back in the 1990s.  I was something like 15th in line.     By the time I got up to the counter, the best seats I could get ( so I was told ).....were way the hell out in the stratosphere.    A few years ago I walked into some record place to buy tix for another show ( thru either BASS or Ticketmaster.  )    I just wanted ONE ticket.   I had cash.  The guy wouldn't take cash....ONLY a credit card.   It was a pretty good seat close to the front.    I headed out to my car, figuring I'd try the next day, when I could return with a credit card.   The concert was a few months off.....NO big hurry.   I remembered I had my ATM card with a MasterCard logo on it, so I turned around & headed back into the store to pay using THAT.   Not only did I pay an outrageous 'fee' to the merchant, but suddenly I was told....there was a 'mistake' and the only available seating was toward the back of the venue.            
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