Minutes after tickets for Fiona Apple’s pair of March return shows at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg went on sale at noon today, they were gone. This after yesterday’s Brooklyn Vegan presale sold out instantly, to much consternation (over what was surely a very, very small number of tickets). And this on top of the Kraftwerk MoMa kerfuffle, which has already been memorialized forever in story and song. It’s like the world is out to get us!
But it’s all utterly predictable. Musical act with large fan base plays a space that can’t fit them all. Panicked ticket seekers get on the Internet as soon as tickets can be bought. All of them do this. Though not all of them can win, their earliest possible preparedness combined with subsequent failure makes them feel like the game is rigged. It’s simple math that people are going to get shut out, and while we might think that it sucks, the fault generally lies with the venues and artists for choosing to prize exclusivity and buzz (and specialness, and intimacy, to be fair) over satisfying the largest possible number of fans. You could laud the artists for taking less money than they could possibly be making, but that side of things is seldom transparent, so who knows.
But the one legitimate gripe remains the role of Stub Hub, and other online ticket brokers in all this…
Several hundred tickets for the two Apple shows are now listed as available on Stub Hub, and some were up well before general tickets went on sale. Some of that might be what’s known as “speculative scalping” in which ticket brokers advertise tickets before they actually have them, on the assumption that they’ll be able to procure them eventually. But surely that can’t cover all of these instances. So how are these brokers getting the mass majority of tickets, to subsequently price-gouge, when 99% of fans are shut out? (The LCD conundrum was never quite solved (and nobody gave much of a shit after that show.) As rickety as the ShoClix system was, it’s worth noting that there’s not a single Kraftwerk ticket available on Stub Hub currently. As always, it’s Ticketmaster (and the paper ticket throwback in general) that seems like the weak link in preventing out-of-control scalping.
Speculation remains rampant that Apple will turn out to be the “???? ????” on the Governor’s Ball lineup. (The mystery slot’s current billing placement seems a little low for that, but poster’s can definitely be changed.) But that hunch, like ticket hoarding conspiracy theories, is just a thought that’s not based any real concrete information.
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