Saturday, February 28, 2009

Beating the scalpers at their own game?

I'm making good on my concert-going promise, and adding No Doubt to my roster of shows in the coming months. To be honest, the original intention of the resolution was to see more inexpensive shows in the city and check out some new bands, but I can't resist the nostalgic allure of Gwen Stefani and company. 

I am intrigued by their ticket-selling model (and a little surprised by their $80 top ticket price). Instead of offering a standard mailing list pre-sale replete with password easily stolen by scalpers, ND's pre-sale is a bit more complex. Here's a direct quote from their website:

You can now validate your email address to be eligible to join the No Doubt Tour Club to get the best seats in the house for the upcoming 2009 Summer Tour featuring special guest Paramore. For a $15 per show membership fee (charged at the time of purchase), Tour Club members will receive the following...
  • GUARANTEED access to purchase up to 4 prime tickets (limited number of memberships per city!)
  • Tickets printed on custom designed commemorative No Doubt Tour Club ticket stock with club member name printed on each ticket
  • Exclusive No Doubt Logo Sticker
  • Exclusive No Doubt Tour Club Magnet
  • Exclusive No Doubt Tour Club Iron-On
  • Access to No Doubt Tour Club web page with exclusive photos and tour updates
The final scalper-beating measure requires that all Tour Club purchases be picked up at Will Call. In an article from the LA Times, No Doubt's tour manager admitted that he hatched the idea from hearing about how Bruce Springsteen held tickets for the first 10 rows at Will Call only - theoretically circumventing scalpers ability to keep the best tickets away from the biggest fans. Of course, Will Call or not, scalpers are still going to get their hands on these tickets, and such a model won't work for the entirety of a large venue (reportedly it's about 1,500 tickets per venue).  

It's an interesting idea, and any initiative to put the best tickets in the hands of the people who really want them is something I wholeheartedly support. If you're not interested in paying top dollar for what's sure to be a fun summer concert, there looks to be $10 lawn seats for sale at many venues as well, so it looks like everyone should end up happy. Except for the scalpers, of course. And that's exactly the goal.

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