We had a bit of a healthy debate last week on the scourge that is secondary ticket selling websites, and the reason they feel they can charge so much cash for a ticket, with such casual impunity.
As crazy as it sounds, the reason we came to was pretty damn simple. People still use them. They let themselves be conned out of a hefty chunk of cash so that they can get to the gigs and events they really must see… then they moan and grumble that the prices were so high, seemingly oblivious to the knowledge that the prices are so high in the first place because we enable them to be that high, just by buying the odd one. An odd over-inflated ticket here and there though, what harm does that do overall? Surely not a lot, right? Well, when loads of folk do it, it means they can justify keeping the prices inflated as there is a market for them. Essentially we make the market conditions that we then moan about online.
We enable them to con us.
If people took a stand together, and just stopped using the secondary ticket outlets, then they would cease to be, as no business model can survive without a regular supply of cash, no matter how shady it is.
This brings me onto the crux of this article. Shady promoters and venues who outright scam and con young, impressionable bands fresh out of college (or school!) into pre-buying tickets, forced ticket sales to play an event, and terrible ticket splits that hugely faours the promoter/venue over the hard working acts themselves. You know the type of 'ticket split' i'm talking about here, the old, 4 for me, 1 for you model.
The argument is pretty much the same with these guys as it is with secondary ticket sites. They exist because we enable them to exist by not standing up to them, but using them as it may suit you to do so at the time. They exist because some bands think to themselves;
Sure, they may not have scammed you yet, but that's because you have a great following and bring them quite a bit of cash in with your events. Plenty of big bands have a guaranteed pull after all, so why go to the trouble of mentioning forced ticket sales or a terrible ticket deal to a band who bring you in some big bucks anyway? Surely, it’s better not to piss them off, and treat them like the best mates you’ve never had, thus guaranteeing they play for you again? It’s a no-brainer really.
What you can be damn sure of though is that by enabling these guys, you’ve pretty much guaranteed they will continue to scam and exploit young, naive bands who are on the first steps in the local music scene. That’s who they scam to make sure you get treated well. It’s those young bands that are buying you your generous rider, it’s those young bands who are paying for the excellent, and surprising fair ticket deal you got from a known scammer.
It’s called enabling for a reason. You enable these crooks to exist by turning a blind eye to the shitty practices they use on others, so that you can make your own pockets bulge a little more. Because who cares about the little guy being fleeced? Especially when you are no longer the little guy anymore. It’s the old cash over morals thing again. There is nothing wrong with having cash in your pocket, but it should never be as part of a worn-out system that only benefits those on the top rungs on the ladder by using those on the bottom rungs to pay for it all.
Remember the days you were the little guy though? The days when you looked up to the bigger bands on the scene and hoped they would look out for you, help you get gigs with them, and help you avoid the pitfalls they they themselves stumbled into when they started out? Those times weren’t that long ago. So now is the real day of choice then, continue using the pond sucking con artists just because they make you a few quid more at the expense of others, or take a stand and say no more. Say you are better than that. Say it’s not all about the cash and that helping the little guy who damn well used to be you is the better route to take. Say the music scene can be a great place for everyone working within it, not just those at the top.
Choose fairness. Choose to feed the music, not the corporations. There is a better local music scene out there for everyone, and enough money to go around everyone fairly, but first we have to take that one stand together, and get rid of the scam artists for good. There are a lot of top bands who could help us make the music scene better for everyone in it. They need to want it though, unfortunatly it looks like some of the huge acts out there just don't
They need to remember what it was like at the start. The need to remember that the love of music once came before the love of money.
They need to remember the little guy, as the little guy really could use all the help he can get these days.