Having first lashed out at scalpers upon seeing their sold out Melbourne gig going for exorbitant prices on resale sites, The Smith Street Band expressed further anger in a scathing interview yesterday with triple j.
But now Ticketmaster have taken an interesting route with their reply, claiming that tickets are actually – yes – “underpriced” before they are resold, and that artists should be charging their fans more to begin with.
“It just sucks!” The Smithies told triple j yesterday. “It’s such a scummy thing to do and the fact that it is this Ticketmaster Resale website. They take the $9 booking fee on the original ticket and then to put it up on the Ticketmaster Resale website – I think they’re making $18 from it just posted up on there.”
“That’s why we took to social media because an email from some independent band that no-one’s ever heard of, saying ‘hey 50 people got ripped off’. Like, no-one at Ticketmaster gives a shit about that…”
Ticketmaster, meanwhile, responded in a statement to triple j, claiming the protection of the free market and stating that, quite simply, “fans can then decide what they are willing to pay.”
“Ticketmaster acts on behalf of the promoter and venue, and doesn’t decide ticket prices for events,” the statement reads. “We invest more time, money and resources than any other ticketing company into technology, which means we do more than anyone to get tickets into the hands of fans when they go on sale at a primary level.”
This is where it gets particularly interesting, though, with Ticketmaster putting the onus on artists to up their prices before the scalpers do.
“Tickets are underpriced on the primary market, and resale will remain rife until artists price their tickets at what the market is willing to pay. We estimate that the resale market is worth $8bn globally, and as long as that kind of money is at stake and the use of bots is entirely legal, touts and bad actors will continue to be incentivised to cheat the system.”
“We do more than anyone to get tickets into the hands of fans when they go on sale at a primary level,” the statement claims.
While many are labeling resale sites as an encouragement of dodgy practices that benefit only scalpers and Ticketmaster itself, the outlet has a different opinion, pointing out to triple j that resold tickets make up a mere 1% of the market globally as of last year’s figures.
“Resale plays a useful role in the overall ecosystem when it’s done right and we are committed to working with the appropriate bodies to ensure fans have access to the best tickets.”
Ticketmaster has since expanded on its stance, affirming that the company “supports legislation and will continue to work with the appropriate bodies, as we do across all markets, to help protect fans when buying tickets,” as well as denying the various allegations from The Smith Street Band that the platform allows tickets to be placed on resale before they are even sold.
“We do not allow tickets to be sold on our ticket marketplaces before they have been made available to the public. We have a zero tolerance for speculative selling.”
“Ticketmaster does all it can to help artists get tickets into the hands of fans and we never place tickets on secondary market sites.”