No, this isn’t a new issue. That being said, the whole debacle on ridiculous ticket prices has picked up heat again with the now sold out Bruno Mars show here in KL. Only hours after the whole venue sold out, tickets started appearing on StubHub for prices easily triple of retail prices.
Same goes to other concerts preceding Bruno Mars; tickets for Coldplay in Singapore sold for a measly sum of RM20,000 on reseller websites, and Ed Sheeran here in Malaysia sold for approximately 500% of its normal price.
The wallet crippling prices leave heartbroken fans in their wake, with the potential suspects comprised of the usual: bad gateway payment designs, bots, and scalpers. Bots are algorithms that automate the ticket purchase on websites. What this means: the bots are able to snap up most of the good seats in seconds, hundred times faster than the time it takes for a normal person to go through the page and purchase their desired ticket, basically reducing the ticket pool to a select few who are extremely lucky to even land a ticket that seats miles away from the stage. That’s if the payment system doesn’t screw up under the immense load of other people attempting to purchase one. Most of the bots are usually deployed by scalpers: people who buy tickets early for the sole purpose of reselling it at a higher price.
So why do resellers like these exist? Is it just for them to make a quick buck out of other people’s misery? Or is there a deeper explanation to such practices that is veiled from the public?
In nearly all cases, it’s all a simple concept of Economics 101. There’s a limited supply of tickets, but a far greater demand, causing a shortage of available spaces. Adding to the trouble is the presence of capitalism; you have something that’s clearly valued highly by the people, why not sell it and earn triple the purchase price?
The question is however, will there ever be a silver lining to this? There are reports that prices on reseller websites like Ticketmaster and Stubhub are converging towards face value prices, but then again, this is still an unproven theory, and ‘till then, the best way to get tickets that you want is just to camp out in front of the computer, waiting for the booking system to open, and pray to god (or the flying spaghetti monster) that the payment gateway doesn’t collapse just after you’ve punched in your credit card number.