Ticketmaster allegedly colluding with scalpers

Brunilde Fioravanti
Settembre 20, 2018

CBC counted more than 4,500 Bruno Mars resale tickets on Ticketmaster, meaning that if Ticketmaster sells every seat in the arena for Saturday's show, it would collect an initial $350,000 in service fees, plus $308,000 in fees on scalped tickets, for a double-dipped total of $658,000. An investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Toronto Star claims the box office giant is helping scalpers buy tickets and resell them with a secret program. After that, the scalpers resell them for higher rates through a web-based inventory management platform referred to as TradeDesk.

Ticketmaster says that as long as there is an imbalance between supply and demand in live event tickets, "there will inevitably be a secondary market". If then uploaded to TradeDesk for resale at $400, Ticketmaster would receive a further $76.

They said Ticketmaster pitched them TradeDesk and caught a company representative on camera explaining that the "buyer abuse" team will look the other way.

Any music fan knows scalping is a huge issue, and this new, explosive CBC article demonstrates the extent to which Ticketmaster is partnering with professional ticket resellers and not just helping concertgoers sell extra seats to performances they can not attend.

The program is called Trade Desk, it isn't advertised anywhere on Ticketmaster's website, and is invite-only.

"We don't spend any time looking at your Ticketmaster.com account". For Ticketmaster, this market is "particularly lucrative", CBC reported. They get a 3 percent discount on the 7 percent Ticketmaster selling fee, with additional percentage points taken off when they get to $500,000 and $1 million in sales respectively. According to reports, a Ticketmaster employee said 100 scalpers in North America are using TradeDesk: "I think our biggest broker right now has probably grabbed around 5 million", he said. Ticketmaster's highly-publicised Verified Fan program was supposedly brought into place to curb the affects of the secondary ticketing market, with big-name acts like Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift using it for their own concerts.

Ticketmaster has yet to issue a public statement on these allegations. Live Nation agreed to pay ticketing company Songkick $110 million and to buy some of its assets, including an anti-scalping algorithm.

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