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Black Keys Ticket “Fiasco”

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“Why the Black Keys shut out hundreds of fans, causing chaos at the Wiltern”:

This is the best thing that ever happened to Safetix.

Now most people know.

Technology solves problems. It enables a step forward. But something is always lost in this transition.

For years, the touring industry discussed “paperless” tickets. Now, everybody going to a concert has a smartphone, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to afford the ducat. So, just like in recorded music, physical has gone by the wayside, enabling the act to control the ticket.

Who controls the ticket? That’s another thing debated for decades in the business. Is it the act, the promoter, the ticket-seller or the building or..?

Now I’m not saying brokers have not provided a service. I’m also not saying that acts don’t take advantage of the secondary market. But if the acts want to control who gains entry, isn’t this their right?

Never forget, Ticketmaster always gets the blame. It’s got to be somebody’s fault that little Trevor and Madison can’t see the show. But the acts are revered, it can’t bet their fault, so the blame is shifted to Ticketmaster, which is paid to take the heat. Ticketmaster just does what the acts tell them to do, but no matter how many times this message goes out, no one seems to believe it.

Then there’s the problem getting the message out to begin with.

How big a Black Keys fan could these excluded buyers be if they didn’t know this was a non-transferable ticket show?

Oh, maybe Ticketmaster and the Black Keys didn’t make the message clear. But next time they will.

But now that it’s news, more people will know how Safetix work. That’s how hard it is to get the message across these days. In a world where Fox and the rest of the media are arguing whether the whistleblower is a bad actor.

Acts hate the secondary market because they don’t get the uplift.

Unless they sell directly to the secondary market to not only gain more profit. but guarantee sales.

But concerts are different from other products for sale, the customer is not always right, even though an ignorant press often says he is. In a world where if you complain, someone’s afraid to speak to the veracity of such a claim, where you can return stuff with impunity at Costco, enabled customers think they can beat the system. But when demand exceeds supply, the tables turn. Those who get tickets are thrilled, and those left out just can’t wait to go the next time. As for those complaining today, do you think they’ll stop seeing concerts in the future? Of course not! They’ll become more informed, the same way they learned about Stubhub, et al, to begin with. And now the secondary market will have to police its wares. Shouldn’t resellers know what can and cannot be resold, isn’t this their business?

Then again, the purveyors have screwed up ticketing to begin with. You’ve got to join the fan club, get a credit card…by time of the public on-sale date, oftentimes fewer than 10% of the tickets are available. Why do acts do this? Because the credit card company and the fan club pay! It’s extra money. The acts say it’s for marketing, but the truth is it goes straight to their bottom lines.

So, if a gig is “oversubscribed,” if all the tickets are gonna sell instantly anyway, with Safetix shouldn’t we also go to randomized ticketing? As in everybody who says they want a ticket signs up and then the computer picks buyers at random?

Now in theory Safetix shuts out the secondary market. But it won’t be long before scalpers sell the smartphone the tickets are purchased on. Yup, a cheap smartphone for expensive tickets. It’s a war I tell you.

But now the act and ticketing company have a new weapon.


Responses from Bob’s Readers. Please note, these comments are not edited for grammar or content.

I wish everyone could be as informed as you are Bob. I work at Ticketmaster. The biggest irony of our business is exactly what you point – that nobody believes but is so true. We take it on the chin for our clients. Period. They designate fees, holds, etc…we just facilitate the sale of tickets with an incredibly powerful machine called HOST. The ridiculous load of data, activity, and scale this system supports is unmatched by any other ticketing system. This is why clients continuously come back to us even when they are convinced otherwise by our competitors. Nobody in ticketing can provide the support and infrastructure TM has built and continues to improve every single day. We are now in full transformation mode. By the end of 2020 – 50% of paper tickets will be eliminated. By 2025, 99% of paper tickets gone. This is the present & future. Safetix is here to stay and the FACT is that overall it has been very well received and well implemented. We are fixing some minor issues, but having rolled it out at all NFL stadiums and seeing the results first hand I can tell you majority (90%) of clients and fans are very happy with it. We will continue to improve it and get to 99.9% satisfaction soon.

Kevin Vahidi


My Wiltern/Black Keys experience:

I got to the Wiltern about 8:40pm and there were hundreds waiting. Many were frustrated and confused but somehow hopeful. I asked around and got the gist of what was happening.

Probably after 9pm, 3 guys had a talk on the curb of Western and Wiltern. One was with the Wiltern and the other two appeared to be with the Black Keys, previously going in and out escorting vips into the venue.

People were approaching them with questions, and the Wiltern guy nicely said, ‘just let us talk for a moment, we’re figuring this out.

Then shortly thereafter, the security guys started calling out, “whoever has Stubhub tix come this way.” Then once they cleared, “Citi tickets come this way,” then a few others I didn’t recognize. Everyone got in, the big crowd that I arrived to eventually got in.

I was one of the last to enter, into the third song of the Black Keys, I was told.

I’m sure the LA Times reporter talked to people who left. But since I got there, there was a sense that “we’ll all get in eventually.”

I’m not sure why a person would leave at 8pm, or before, if you spent hundreds on tickets. I mean you would have been there until 11pm watching the show anyway…

The floor General Admission was packed, people spilling into the aisles. The seats upstairs looked about 75% full.

Technology got in the way here, but what I saw were people working to solve it, and eventually did.

One security guard told me he had never seen anything like this at the Wiltern.

-Dan Gellert


Dan and Patrick got paid and forgot where they came from. It sure as hell isn’t Akron anymore

Tim Lydon


I’m glad to see Ticketmaster getting some blame for this. You wrote: “Acts hate the secondary market because they don’t get the uplift.” That is a very simplistic view of this issue. Ticket scalping is wrong and should be illegal – period.

The fact that Stub Hub is now a legitimate company doesn’t make it right. The scalper puts zero skin in the game. They don’t write the songs, perform the shows, take the financial risk that a promoter does or create a career like a manager does. The scalper is simply ripping off the fans, as long as we allow that to happen the fans suffer. Don’t give me this bs about “elastic pricing” blah, blah, blah. The artists and promoters price the tickets at a price that not only do they think they can get from the fans but also the fair price. When Dave Matthews says: “I want my fans to be able to see my show at $45” then that intention should be honored. Just because a scalper can get $100 doesn’t make it right. The conversation should be about how to make ticket scalping illegal, it is outrageous that it is allowed to go on and if the Black Keys had to piss off a few fans to make that point then good for them.

Joe Fletcher
Crescent Bay Entertainment


The only name that will remain synonymous with this incident is The Black Keys. I hope the band has a plan to make this right for the fans that didn’t get in.

Maria Hoppe


In the old days the best seats were always at the venue box office whether it was a theater or The Garden. This was true even when Ticketron came on the scene. If you were a real fan you were tuned in and looking for information for the on sale date and you lined up at the box office the night before. Sure there were box office employees taking tickets and selling them but not as many as scalpers get now and you also often had to fight to keep your spot in line as the scalper’s minions would try to cut and barge the line but in the end it was the longtime hardcore fans that got the best seats and that’s how it should be. If you want real fans to get the tickets then we should be going backward to sale at the box office not forward to some kind of randomized lottery.

Tag Gross


“. . . .and those left out just can’t wait to go the next time. As for those complaining today, do you think they’ll stop seeing concerts in the future? Of course not! They’ll become more informed, the same way they learned about Stubhub, et al, to begin with. . . ”

All interesting points Bob except — not all people who endure the ongoing abuse inherent in attending live music, (plus enduring the usual friction points historically just accepted as “part of it”) — no, “all” of these people are not lining up to go again. Plenty of people endure the nonsense for one or two cherished acts or icons and never go back. Can we blame them?

Deb Wilker


I like what the philadelphia eagles did, they put a warning on every mobile ticket that said screenshots won’t work…not sure if the black keys did this, if not I think it’s tough to expect people to change quickly without a good warning on every ticket

– tom


All I can is these acts should take a lesson from GDTS (Grateful Dead Ticket Sales). Steve Marcus perfected the mail order ticket sales, and now Phish does a similar thing. They have a lottery for mail order tickets before the street date. You might get one and you might not, but that’s the chance you take. I have no sympathy for people who don’t get in. It’s a club!

Rodney Rowland


The market always wins these fights bob. It is like trying to combat streaming with walled gardens. That did not work out too well did it?

Trying to eliminate secondary sales and workarounds is not ever going to work. Some clever person needs to create the secondary market with built in vig for the artists. And then become the killer app in the space.

Kenneth Freundlich


passed on seeing him this tour. The process was confusing but it looked like I was expected to select a price point and purchase in advance of my ticket assignment. This is evil genius. So the promoter now sits back and sees how far back the level-1 priced tickets go based on how may fans will pay top dollar. Then level-2 priced ticket seats are established and they work back from there. This is indeed evil genius. Knopfler will always have a place in my heart but he’s lost his edge now so I sat back to watch this ticket scam play out. Maybe some other act will cause me to relent in the future but really, will the days of picking your seat soon be over? Yikes.

Yours truly
Dan Prozinski


I rolled my eyes a little, too, when the Times chose to lead off with the whole melodrama of a 9-year-old crying to his mom that his favorite band let him down. But are we saying you can only be a fan worthy of seeing a big band like the Black Keys if you’re an expert on the latest ticketing trends? And you not only love all the songs you’ve heard on KROQ and streamed on Spotify, but also know what the fuck the “Lonely Boys and Girls Club” is? And you know to get tickets from there to be safe?

Sure, the act can dictate the ticketing specs, but you don’t warn anybody you’re doing this? You don’t make mention of it on your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook? And when this happens to a bunch of your fans—OK, maybe not super-cool in-the-know fan club fans, but big enough fans that some of them will totally cry in public (and report as such to the L.A. Times) if they get turned away from the show—you don’t apologize? Just issue a terse statement blaming everybody else but you? Pretty dickish IMO (and I dig the Keys)…

P.S. I haven’t bought tickets direct from Ticketmaster in years, so even though I feel like I have an above-average understanding of the ticketing industry (maybe not much above average, but still…) I’d never heard of Safetix before reading this post. Maybe because my No. 1 source for such information hasn’t ever talked about it in his often-multiple-posts-per-day newsletter!

This is all your fault, Bob!

Dean Moore


Here’s my 2c on the black key “fiasco”: Canceling “non transferable” tickets because they were transferred is just what you would expect the black keys / ticketmaster / live nation to do. But the next step is just as simple: Sell the canceled tickets to the fans who came to the venue with (or without) an invalid ticket. No fan has a problem with the fight against scalpers, but don’t put the fans in the line of fire of that fight. The promotor of Ed Sheeran here in Zurich did that last summer. They canceled the resold tickets, but then re-sold them to the fans affect of the cancellation. It worked very well for the fans, but not the scalpers….

Kind regards

Olivier Schonbeck

p.s. feel free to edit and correct my english as it’s not my native language 😉


“How big a Black Keys fan could these excluded buyers be if they didn’t know this was a non-transferable ticket show?” I’d say “big” enough to spend the extra money, effort and time to see the band.

“Oh, maybe Ticketmaster and the Black Keys didn’t make the message clear. But next time they will.” Sure would have been nice to see the band (and Ticketmaster) use this situation as a “teaching moment” instead of a punitive one.

Charles L. Freeman, Jr
Baldwin Hills, CA


The other impact of safetix is the flexibility it gives the artist

An artist can charge $50 or $150 for the same quality of seat …

Want it to be transferable and sellable? That’s $150

Want it for $50? Ok cool, you can’t transfer nor sell it

Patrick W. Ryan


This kinda bullshit has to be Reagan’s fault.

William Nelson


I still say go back to the old method.
A venue announces what day tickets for any act go on sale.
Then you go and get in line at the box office and buy them.
Only a true fan would do this. Or a scalper, but limit the amount of tickets that one person can buy. I forget what the limit was in the early 70s, pre ticketmaster.

Kevin Kiley


??Completely disagree here, Bob.

“How big a Black Keys fan could these excluded buyers be if they didn’t know this was a non-transferable ticket show?”

You think the people who paid $700 and traveled to this show are somehow less of a Black Keys fan than the person who bought the ticket for $25?

While I commend the band for attempting to block out scalpers, this is just another example of why restricting the transfer of tickets it not the solution. Not only does it cause confusion, but it punishes the early purchasers who have legitimate reasons why they can no longer attend. Those fans are left in the dust with no way to liquidate their ticket or pass in on to another true fan.

“shouldn’t we also go to randomized ticketing?”

The industry can do better than “random.” Brokers will still get caught up in the “random” selection.

If you want to do something special for your fans, then step one is making sure that the people you’re sell to are fans in the first place!

See: Jason Isbell’s 7 night run at the Ryman. I challenge you to find a ticket being resold in the front 5 rows.
Jason’s team didn’t restrict transferability. Instead, they just made sure the tickets were sold to known fans.

We need ticketing technology that creates a better experience for the fans, not a worse experience.

David McKay
CEO / Co-founder @ Seated


Maybe a better question is why does anyone want tickets? Centuries from now people will know Bach and Beethoven, the Beatles and Dylan. “The Black Keys”? Not so much.
Larry Brown
(the guitarist)


We put bar codes on tickets for Pearl Jam to prevent resale and counterfeiting. We canceled bar codes of seats being resold. This was the first nationwide use of bar codes on tickets, spring of 1995.
We have mobile scanners we took from city to city (blackberry). This tech is not new, the fact the bar code (or QR code) is now onscreen is merely old tech with new delivery.

We also released 100% of fan contact details to the band and 10 club (FanClub) to allow fans to get media and merch if they wanted before or after the show date. Both fans who got tickets and those who did not.
What happens to all those verified fans who do NOT get a ticket, how about a free piece of media for registering.

The problem is no band has the power to stop this and TicketMaster’s job is to sell tickets, truest thing is they want the service fee on the ticket sale, and if that ticket is sold more than once they want to be part of those sales (simple – more fees). TM clients are venues and promoters, they treat both artists and fans with callous disregard, I know I am one.

What blows my mind is they still sell only one product – Tickets. They hold the list of the fans most likely to purchase from the bands who all want to sell more products. After all these years they still have not delivered all the fans want.
Imagine selling hot dogs with out selling rolls or ketchup – it’s part of a the solution.

Unfortunately ticketing has not changed in years despite new technology. It’s damn near impossible for a fan to get a ticket with out some help or more cash for a secondary seat from a pro buyer. (Pro buyers are resellers who understand how to jump through the on-sale hoops)



This is one of the reasons I love Pearl Jam, I have zero issue with being chosen to purchase 10 Club tickets, I love that the band keeps the majority (or in some cases all) of the floor for their real fans. I was a little thrown off the first time I put it for tickets and it popped up that of you were chosen, your card would be charged immediately and you’d need a photo ID AND the card you purchased them with in order to get your tickets at Will Call (along with a note about if you get caught attempting to sell them for more than face value, they’ll void them). I’m sure it happens, but I’ve flown to LA from Houston to see them at The Forum and met a guy from New York, he didn’t have a ticket, just felt like he should go… then I met the guy from Los Angeles who heard his story, looked at his DL and plane ticket.. and gave him his extra Ten Club floor ticket.

But I’m a superfan, and see this stuff all the time at their shows. Now if we could just figure out how to Chapelle people’s cell phones so they’d watch the show. Funny aside to that, I bought (and was then chosen for 10C tix for Eddie at the Santa Barbara Bowl, I have the ones I bought to my best friend, got there early, gates open and we start walking through the little garden area when I look up at this mountain of a man, walks up and asks to see my tickets, takes them, smiles and says “Mr. Vedder would like you to sit in the front row tonight.. he only asks that at no point do you take a phone or camera out… enjoy the show”. Best night of my life, now I’d love to tell myself “he knows who I am” but let’s be real! I did behave though.. funny how actually watching a performance makes you remember it so much more fondly.

As for the Black Keys dopes who didn’t bother to read the ticket stipulations…they’re the same people the still require toasters to have a “don’t use this in a bathtub” sticker.

Be sound!
Don Jantzen


Hi Bob,IMHO All the secondary ticket markets are scalpers.Providing a service,Yes.J D LePera


Fuck yeah to the Black Keys! It sucks some of the fans were ripped of by bad actors. But irony is that all those fans won’t realize that what the Black Keys are trying to do here is protect that this won’t happen again. More acts need to be aggressive with this.

Sucks that an act tries to do a $25 show where anyone of their fans can afford get a great seat (admittedly only a few of them) and all those who could afford a $700 ticket got ripped off. Do you know who didn’t get ripped of? Anyone who couldn’t afford a $300 on a ticket!!!

The industry has to stop treating problems with secondary and pricing as an economic problem where if we “”ust priced right” you would maximize gross and eliminate secondary.

Stephen Chilton


Well you know I feel about the Black Keys since their published dissing of my partner in harmony, Mr. Miller after his induction into the RRHOF (because he didn’t even know who they were). Though I do appreciate their effort to be fair to their fans about ticket prices, I totally agree with them that the price of their show is worth exactly what they were trying to protect. Twenty five bucks!

Kenny Lee Lewis


But if the acts want to control who gains entry, isn’t this their right?

—not if the act has sold this right to the promoter!



Ticketmaster/ Live Nation/The Gambino Family/The Corleones etc etc etc. The legacy of bamboozlement from Michael Cohl and Irving Azoff, the co-Meyer Lansky’s of rock and roll, probably can’t be sorted out even by the Justice Department under the current criminal administration. But when the Dems get the steering wheel back in their hands, this house of bubble gum cards should come crashing down. Possibly sooner if the new tech gurus apply some integrity to their genius.
John Brower


Regardless, Ticketmaster/LiveNation is a blatant monopoly that anti-trust laws never addressed for some reason..

Why is this allowed when every other industry at the very least has an oligopoly with at least 2 competitors?? Streaming services, cable/satellite providers, Coke & Pepsi?

Rick Marino


Apparently Safetix is getting a bad rap as this blurb on the Black Keys show says:
“It is also another black eye for “Safetix,” which has received largely negative press based on consumer reactions to the new system where it has been rolled out.
Fans at Penn State University have complained about issues getting into games, and NFL stadiums have seen massive entry delays as well under the new digital-only system.
All in the name of “convenience” and in service of the fans, according to their marketing of the new system.” What about AXS and Ticketweb and Livenation and other ticket sellers? Are they using Safetix?
I almost had this problem recently with Carly Rae Jepsen tickets I bought from StubHub. They changed the delivery method the day of the concert.
Fortunately I had enough tech savvy to get the tickets otherwise my granddaughter would have been disappointed.
It makes me hesitant to buy tickets online any more. I prefer going to the Palladium box office.
At least I know that I am getting in to see Two Door Cinema Club. I have an actual physical ticket.
And…if you watched the 60 Minutes episode you now that if someone has your smartphone number, they can own your phone!
Larry Green


Wow! The only way to successfully do this is make it like an airline ticket that has your name attached to it. I’m sure Ticketmaster could implement this instead of having expensive code breaker bar codes.

They could also do transfers if people couldn’t make the show and needed to sell their ticket (with limits to the price).

Then no more scalping (until they steal your identity along with your ticket or pay someone under the table), probably longer ticket lines and less access for the public but this will end it…just not sure everyone wants this either?


Dave Poole


Gut reaction here is that there should be something in place on StubHub/Seat Geek/Vivid Seats/etc.’s end to not list tickets that were sold as non-transferable. If they do, I think there should be some accountability there.Yeah, the customer should be informed about what they’re buying, but if a show is sold out on Ticketmaster is there even a way for me, the customer, to find out that it was a non-transferable ticket situation? If that’s easily found, then it should be on the customer to know not to buy 3rd party tickets. But if that info isn’t easy to find I don’t know that I’d think twice about buying from a trusted 3rd party like StubHub, etc.

I don’t knock the venue or the band or Ticketmaster on this one. I think it was a fair deal. But there’s a problem when trusted 3rd party systems are allowed to list and sell non-transferable tickets.

Sarah Martin


Maybe it should be called SnubHub.

Tom Quinn


3 thoughts:

1. Our industry (and the public) needs to recognize that a ticket is evidence of a revocable license to enter a venue and attend an event; it is not a property right.

If you host a party, your invitees can bring guests, but they don’t get to sell their invitations to the general public. Tickets, particularly for a fan club event, should be no different.

2. We don’t accuse those who spend thousands of dollars to sit court side at an NBA game of not being fans, but the person who attends despite having a seat in the upper deck is arguably a bigger fan than one who pays a premium to sit up front.

If the Black Keys, Ed Sheeran, or Eric Church want to underprice tickets or underplay the market, they have that right. If they want to throw a party or a concert and restrict transferability so that only “true fans” get tickets (as opposed to opportunistic ones who buy and sell for profit), they should have that right too.

3. We may find that restrictions on ticket transferability cause people to buy their tickets later, or we may learn something completely different.

Either way, I applaud the Black Keys for helping to move the conversation forward.

Jason Bernstein


“The concert was well-attended, with 97% of the 1,850-seat venue full.”

If “hundreds” of fans couldn’t get in with their valid static barcode (until the change 40 minutes before doors), how was it at 97% capacity? Simple math says that if 200 didn’t get in, that’s 89% of cap; 300 didn’t get in is 84% of cap…. still well attended, but “97%” says to me that they let in other people on those same tickets…

Alan Ralph


Thanks for this perspective. I love reading your thoughts on this stuff. Ticketing is a conundrum. We can’t go to randomized ticketing, because scalpers will still win. They’ll flood the entries. And you’ll also retain a certain level of fan who is not true to the music, the one who is rich, can afford the exorbitantly expensive front seats, entertains clients over too many beers, and yaps through all the songs. Ticketing is random and haphazard enough already, as you noted, there are presales before the presales and credit card perks and fan club dues on top of that, not to mention the surge pricing where all remaining seats seem to turn “platinum” after the initial onsale, suddenly making a $79 seat $350 out of the blue.

U2 has done a great job of taking care of fans by instituting a loyalty system. Longtime fans (who pay the fees yearly) get to purchase reasonably-priced tickets before casual fans (who sign up a few days before the presales) and before credit card holders. If it is a paperless show, you’re out of luck if you can’t attend, unless you send your driver’s license and credit card to the show with a lookalike fan! But that’s what the ticket insurance purchase option is for. The cost of the fan club, in U2’s case, is completely worth the peace of mind (and great seats, and included merch that comes with the membership, such as albums, books, and T-shirts). This type of fan system is not without its flaws, but it works well if one follows the directions exactly and loves the band enough to keep a fan club membership up-to-date.

The only way to give true fans what they deserve without the extra costs of fan clubs is to institute an additional layer on an existing system such as Verified Fan, an extra assurance which would give priority to fans who have fan club codes and live within a certain mile radius of the venue. Venues should also be allowed to reserve a certain number of tickets which can be purchased at the box office. The faithful local fans will drive to the box office no problem. I grew up in SC in the 1970s and 80s and we had to drive three hours to Atlanta for shows. But nowadays fans fly everywhere to see their favorite bands, and brokers buy online from all over the world, always at the expense of some locals who miss out on tickets or have to pay secondary market prices. (This was likely the case with the Black Keys show at the Wiltern).

Unfortunately there is no litmus test for being a fan these days. It’s more about money and clout and social media bragging than whether you know the lyrics or the songs have meaning to you. The years of waiting in line for hours or even days to secure a ticket are over. You can sign up for Verified Fan to see your favorite band’s tour and still get completely locked out of getting a ticket (it’s happened to me), only to discover that others who care much less about the music got lucky. If your browser is slow or the internet gods disfavor you the moment the onsale page refreshes at 10 AM, and all the tickets are sold out by 10:10, it sucks.

Democracy by algorithm is an oppressive principle. If people love music enough, they will prove it by doing or trying to do what the system requires. But a system that already leaves loyal (and non-wealthy) fans out in the cold will be a dead end if completely randomized. Demand does not equal desire. Demand is about money, desire is about love. If we take the love away from the music, it’s all over.

Kristi York Wooten
Music Journalist


Trevor and Madison?

My son is named Trevor and his girlfriend is named Madison.

Steve Lukather


How about this:

Tickets cost $15 each, and you can get them in small quantities if you subscribe to the band via RSS or email.


Every time a ticket is transferred, half the price paid goes to the seller, half goes to the band. This is supereasy to do technically, because the registry of who owns the ticket is embedded into the ticket. In essence, the bands/promoters are using a trading-floor protocol that would be pretty easy to standardize and various stubhub type sites could use their API…

If the marketplace goes crazy, the original fans can go to the show or sell, the people who want to pay can pay, and the more the price goes up, the better the band does.

So the ticket is a tradable security for some (which subsidizes the price of the original ticket offering, making it so the devout fans can get in cheap, if they choose).

That might work.

Seth Godin


I should not even acknowledge this but what is wrong with people!!!

“Dan and Patrick got paid and forgot where they came from. It sure as hell isn’t Akron anymore. Tim Lydon”

This is just stupid!  $25 tickets to 1700 people.  $42K gross is retirement for Dan and Pat?  Take the money and run?  We did something great for the fans and you get hammered!   Give me a break. People just want to hate. They did a $25 ticket for fans to go to the Wiltern and see the first show in 4 years.    Dan Gellert below has got it right.  I was there, pretty sure Tim Lydon was not. The place was packed 3 songs in because the Wiltern people sorted it out and got folks in the building.  I have done 100 shows at the Wiltern and it was packed, hot & sweaty, and people were dancing their asses off. Felt like great Rock and Roll to me!

Warren Christensen


I will say I have NEVER seen a dime EVER in 43+ years of touring on all sales from any ticket master $$  ‘kick back’ or side deal nor have I ever made deal with them. I wonder why I have never been asked?
No one ever asked or offered We sell a bunch of tickets so..?
What IS this scam?

I wonder if an artists has to willfully DO this ?
I am truly baffled here.

Steve Lukather


This situation reminded me of the approach that Nine Inch Nails took with their Wave Goodbye tour back in 2009. Trent sold tickets only through the band’s web site, there was a max buy of two tickets for any buyer, and photo ID has to match the buyer’s name or no admittance. The tickets were wristbands and all wristbands were picked up at the Will Call window.

As a fan, I found it worked like a Swiss watch. The venue staffed it properly. Once you presented your ID and that name appeared in their database of purchasers, you and a guest were escorted into the hall.

So, Trent Reznor had this figured out a decade ago. Let me repeat: A decade ago. Sheesh.

Best regards,
—Brendan Hasentab


Why isn’t there just a system put in place where buying a concert ticket initially costs whatever the promoter/venue/act decides as sold from one vendor, and your name gets attached to the ticket and then your ID has to match at the door.  If you ever want to transfer your ticket because you can’t go any longer then there is a system in place from said vendor where you have to do a return into the system, you get your $ refunded straight away, minus whatever the service fee was (you don’t get that back), and then a new transaction for the same ticket price is made for the new person you are selling to, and now their name is attached to the ticket.  And this can all be with QR codes and apps or emails, doesn’t have to be a tangible ticket, so that you could theoretically sell your ticket even minutes before a show outside to someone who also has the app, or can access the web/email on their phone, and it would only take a minute or two to make the change.  The new re-sale gives the ticket vendor an opportunity to make another $5 or whatever for a new service fee so they are happy, and the fans attending shows would all be super happy.  Also it would then be impossible to ever sell tickets for more than they are supposed to cost.  If this were implemented it would 100% end scalping, and re-sellers like StubHub.  Whoever gets the contract to sell tickets for certain venues, or shows put on by certain promoters, then that is the only place the tickets can ever be sold or returned and re-sold/transferred for those shows.  Let the ticket vendors duke it out over who gets which accounts.  This can be a thing, right?  How can this not be a thing?

Gabe Lehner (9 Theory)


I love how when the secondary market is in the street it is considered scalping, but when they have a business license and website, they’re “secondary market,” or even more sickeningly- “Brokers.” Seems like the same difference between Bribery and “Lobbying” to me.

Brendan Smith


How many people, like me, wil say, “fuck it. it’s not worth it.”?

Joseph Barbarotta


It’s nice to see a robust live music scene!!  Greed will always prevail.

Mitchell Fox


Why would anyone buy a ticket to the Black Keys??? Just sayin….



If you need a title to all this…..I’ll take liberty with a Spinal Tap reference, and call it…..SMELL THE MONEY! The stain of greed.

$3.50/4.50/5.50 got me into Led Zeppelin, Delaney & Bonnie, and Woody Herman at the Fillmore E in ’69.

Gone are the days,

Steve Chrismar


Bob you should check out the system your buddy has for the Mission in Denver.whar a mess.I was really looking forward to shows there.But not with that ticketing system.Thanks Bob Stay. well Ted Keane


My philosophy is this:
(Not that anyone asked)

The day a club,theatre,arena,etc.
can sell tickets to look at an empty stage—that’s when venues and promoters control the tickets.
The reason people are buying the tickets should have a majority voice,certainly.
And not exclude partners like promoters and venues.
But be fair.

Lawrence Berra


“We take it on the chin for our clients. Period. They designate fees, holds, etc…we just facilitate the sale of tickets…”

It’s this attitude from Ticketmaster that drives me to do runs at the box office. I go to about 50 shows a year, and you’d think Ticketmaster would be my favorite app/service, but this constant victim-playing drives me up a wall.

Live Nation bought into the concert space to a degree that it’s nearly a monopoly. Instead of creating the ideal concert experience—clear fees and policies, customized recommendations, thoughtful add-ons—we get huge hidden fees, lazy marketing, and “VIP” sections that occupy some of the best seats in the house and stay empty for the whole show. We pay all these service fees and still get a bunch of spammy surveys and “ticket insurance” offers.

Either own the space and care about it, sell it to someone who does, or at least take ownership of the experience. Stop telling me fees are for the artist when the venue is selling me tickets at 1/2 the cost.

Cliff Seal


Hey, there, Bob:

This is long and not edited as well as I like because it pisses me off, so apologies, but I believe I provide a lot of good food for thought here.

As a fan and end user of a variety of ticketing methods going back to the first time I mailed ordered for Grateful Dead tickets in 1986 as a 16-year-old to when I camped out at a ticketron outlet for the Amnesty International tour in 1988 to when I realized that you could call the Texas ticketmaster number to get through on the phone right away for Springsteen’s indoor shows on the 1988 Tunnel of Love tour when he went from playing stadiums to playing 14,000 seat Worcester Centrum in Massachusetts (Calling the out-of-state numbers was the ultimate ticketmaster hack, seeking out “hotlines” in other markets for theatre only shows etc, yea you’d have to bluff sometimes with the ticketmaster agent once you got through, but usually during high volume onsales they couldn’t tell where the calls were coming from, this method STILL works even for Phish New Year’s Eve shows in this current day of internet bullshit, they say you can’t call anymore, but you can), I have written extremely long, run-on sentences….

But seriously, all kidding aside, I have been buying tickets to shows for face value for the last 34 years of my life, and often getting killer seats to the hottest show simply because I have put in more than the 10,000 hours thinking about this shit. To an average music fan who only loves the Black Keys the most, or another band the most I can see it seeming like the hardest thing in the world to get tickets. I do get that. And I also think that part of the problem here is that as much bands really do give all the shits and want it to be fair, it’s been awhile for a lot of them and their managers where THEY even had to buy a ticket for a show the “Regular’ way. I think they get bamboozled by ticketmaster’s “Services” and ticketmaster’s various platforms so a lot of good efforts turn into clusterfucks by ticketmaster’s intentional obfuscations.

How anyone would think that putting in a dynamically changing bar-code at the 11th hour was a good idea is beyond me. And while I get it can seem secure and prevent people from selling multiple barcodes/screenshots, why would the NFL use Safetix? If it’s to prevent multiple bar codes from being sold, I would imagine that the NFL lets their season ticketholders resell their tickets. Maybe the safetix in this case just mean a dynamic barcode for the resold ticket through their season subscription site which is probably backended by ticketmaster.

The thing is if the Black Keys really wanna do an underplay for $25, hooray for them. I don’t really get why they would charge LESS than they charge for an arena show, which is hardly overpriced, but whatever. However, if they don’t want these things to be retransfered, they should let people get refunds up until the day of the show. kids get sick, you can’t get a sitter. a million things can happen and with such a high-demand show all the tickets will  get used. Someone will get a miracle at the box office from a cancellation, whatever, but until you are putting the tickets on sale THE DAY OF THE EVENT, you can’t offer no resale and no refunds. That’s ridiculous. Not to mention, since the safetix tickets are attached to your ticketmaster account, if you wanted to resell the ticket, you could just give the person your ticketmaster account info and they can log into the app with your information and the actual dynamic ticket would be there. You could transfer any future tickets in the app to an alternate email address so your customer couldn’t also grab those tickets as well, and take off all the saved billing info. it would not be much different than using a temporary credit card like a lot of scalpers do to get around the ticket limit restrictions back when bots were more widely used.

This goes for all bands, yes. The tech is there to eliminate scalping (mostly) or give the appearance of it, but really, the Black Keys and other bands who do these underplays should make the entire shows general admission, make it a one ticket limit (too bad if you go by yourself, it’s once in-a-lifetime, make a new friend, and this would also probably cut down on conversations at the show, it’s fucking concert, once the band starts who cares if you are there by yourself?), do it by lottery via email, sure knock yourself out and use 3,000 different email addresses to enter, randomize, tell people they won. You need driver’s license or passport to pick up tickets at box office where will pay with cash or credit card. Enjoy. Or better, yet, attach all lottery entries to a credit card number (and provide folks for a cash only option at the box office if that is the only was they can pay). Then people could only enter 3-4 times max. And you need to have the physical card, no bullshit virtual cards.

Selling tickets for shows like these even remotely in advance is just silly in my opinion. At most 48-hours. When Springsteen would do his Holiday shows at Convention Hall in Asbury Park 15-20 years ago, he’d put ticket on sale on a Tuesday for shows happening on Thursday.

And finally, that person from ticketmaster who was tooting their own horn about how great their service is and about how they take the hit? Sure, only a fool would think that ticketmaster gets 100 percent of the service fees, but as far as ticketmaster yelling hooray, we have a giant computer that runs fast and collects data and we spend all this money on infrastructure? It’s a bunch of shit. The latest iteration of buying these tickets during on a onsale completely sucks.

There is usually NO WAY to pick best available tickets or even by a section. So like an asshole, you login in early for when a massive onsale is about to happen, you wait in the queue that says how long you have to wait, okay, that part is fine, but then when you finally get into to see what tickets are available, you have to cherry-pick the tickets you want while who knows how many other folks are also looking at these same tickets and get constantly retold that “another fan” beat you to the exact tickets that just picked, because no shit, they are showing the best available literal seats right down to row and seat number, and everyone’s screen only shows like the first 12 options or so.

Buying tickets online during a massive onsale is as fucked or more than it’s ever been. I can’t think of a single reason why you can’t choose best available like you used to be able to. It’s infuriating and if I was a promoter or band or venue who gave half a shit, I would demand ticketmaster get rid of it ASAP. The best available option existing in fucking 1998 when ticketmaster first put out an internet portal for ordering tickets. They can’t pull it off today? Bullshit. Who needs the convenience of picking your own exact seat during a massive onsale? The thing is so fucked that even at a GENERAL ADMISSION show during the initial onsale, you ask for 2 tickets, only to be told someone else got the tickets and then it offers you up TWO MORE GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS in the same fucking section. Their bullshit system is selling you specific GA tickets. I know each ticket gets assigned its own number for recordkeeping, so it’s the same as a reserved seats in that sense, but I have hard time believing ticketmaster can’t keep track of these things during a massive onsale or at least kick you down to the next two available GA tickets automatically rather than ask you to rechoose tickets that they are telling you are available. And if they can’t, they suck.

Also, for massive onsales ticketmaster should collect everyone’s order in advance and then do a random lottery like phish does and you get to tell ticketmaster the MOST you want to pay for a ticket based on the predetermined price levels and then you either get tickets or you don’t, but no one has to sit in front of a machine for an hour in a state of total futility, in fact, if they did this, they would need to brag about what nice big severs they had because the amount of volume they have to handle at once would go down by about 90 percent.

Madonna actually did this for her current theatre tour and for some reason the back-end was handled by musictoday, which could be a sub-front for ticketmaster, who the hell knows anymore.

So much of this shit gets so over-thought or, to be more blunt, intentionally over-obfuscated by the ticketing companies, when it really could be very simple. There is a front of constant innovation to impress the consumer so that the Man can keep getting reseller fee and tickets can get siphoned off to the secondary market, blah, blah blah.

Let’s face it, Ticketmaster is a company that has something called “verified fan” where they claimed to use all this social media mumbo jumbo to determine the email addresses of real fans so they can get priority and pre-register for major onsales. Never mind how fucking insulting it is to get waitlisted for the chance to maybe get tickets rather than the right to participate in what is a likely fucked onsale anyway. To call it “verified fan” basically implies that if you didn’t get a code you aren’t “verified” I have see Springsteen over 300 times and bought most of those tickets through the primary seller known as ticketmaster. I am also the only person in the country and maybe the world with my name. And when Springsteen on Broadway had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Different sets of shows to go on sale over 8 months, I NEVER GOT A CODE to TRY to get tickets for something that may get sold out anyway. My friends still give me shit for and I don’t blame them, but like yea, if you aren’t a verified fan, then who the hell is? It just shows you how tone-deaf ticketmaster is.

Hope you got a laugh or ten out of this screed. Good night.

Jeff Gorlechen

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