Wednesday 3 January 2007

supply and demand, supply and demand....

I’m sure you mostly know this already, but online ticketing can be an absolute bloody nightmare. In the unlikely event that you are able to squeeze past everyone else and actually get the damn website to load without crashing, then you will probably find that the tickets have all sold out in 10 seconds flat and are instantly on sale on ebay for about five times their face value.

Quite why the ticketing agencies insist on funneling huge demand onto tiny time windows on inadequately resourced websites is beyond me. What I do understand, however, is why they care to do so little about tickets being resold on ebay. Why the hell should they care? They get their money. And ebay makes everyone a tout, doesn’t it? You may only need two tickets to a gig, but if you’re allowed to buy four and you’re on the website already – hell, why not buy four and sell the spares at a profit? They’ll just shrug and say it’s market forces, that the tickets are worth what people are prepared to pay for them. Cobblers, is what I say. Greedy bastards. It’s not good enough that the ticketing agencies and ebay should just shrug their shoulders and just accept this state of affairs. When tickets for a high profile event like Live 8 wormed their way onto ebay, they couldn’t get them off sale fast enough. I was amused to read some of the concerned comments from people who had tried to buy tickets for the recently announced Princess Diana tribute concert. They seemed confused and a touch hurt that they had been trying for five minutes and hadn’t been able to get hold of the two tickets that they wanted. How could people be so callous as to snap up those tickets and sell them for an instant profit on ebay? It just wasn’t fair. They demanded action and they got action: ebay pulled the sale of any tickets for the event. The fact that this openly happens for every other sold-out concert every day of the week was apparently irrelevant: the Diana brigade had spoken and action was taken. Laughable.

They’ve just announced the details of the ticketing for Glastonbury 2007. When I first went to the festival in 1993, I had wandered into a record shop in Coventry a few weeks beforehand and picked up a ticket without any problems at all. What was so easy then has become something of a nightmare, and by 2004 I was spending most of the night on the internet and on the telephone trying desperately to get hold of tickets. It was an absolute shambles – apparently they had plenty of tickets, but just did not have the infrastructure to cope with the demand. To be fair to Glastonbury though, they have been actively taking steps to make things smoother since then. In 2005, in an attempt to deter touting, all ticket-holders had their names and addresses printed on their tickets and had to take photo ID to the festival in order to access the site. There was no Glastonbury in 2006, but this year, although tickets don’t go on sale until 1st April, apparently we are all going to have to troop off to the camping shop Millets to pick up a registration form. The form will have to be filled out and sent back to the Festival organisers with a self-addressed envelope and some passport photos and we will be sent in return a unique registration number. When tickets go on sale, this registration number will have to be used for each person who wants to buy a ticket. If you are buying two tickets (the maximum) then you will need two separate reference numbers. The tickets, when they arrive, will have your photo on them. It sounds like a pain in the arse, I know, but it’s a pain that I will be more than happy to go through and hopefully it will be enough to let the touts know that there isn’t any point even trying to buy tickets.

At least they’re trying to do something.


  1. Back in 2002 I worked at a music store that was a Tickemaster location. There was a ticket reseller located 2 blocks west of us. Every Saturday morning there would be at least a half-dozen people lined up waiting to buy tickets. They were always the same people. And they never cared where the seats were, they just wanted to buy the maximum allowed.

    What got me was that a couple of their employees would regularly come in to purchase tickets while on their cell phone. They'd tell me the event code, but ask that I not hit enter to start the search for tickets just yet. They'd say into their phone, "Ok, release them," which was my signal to hit enter. however many seats they'd ask me to search for would magically appear, where none were to be found before. They'd found them online and had been holding them until an employee could come to our location and purchase them in person. They were always cool about it, and would even sell their tickets at a loss if it was close to event time.

  2. But in 1993, at least half the people there climbed over the fence, and spent the entire time nicking other people's stuff.

    And ticket agencies are in no position to criticise touts. Their booking fees and other charges are unavoidable, the act of a monopolistic cartel.

  3. I love Glastonbury, and contrary to what a lot of people think, I'm not sure it's any worse for the absence of hard drug dealers who were very visible in 1993 and are now much more discreet - but they are still there. I do have to say though, Ian (and I may be tempting fate here) but I've never had any problems at the festival... either in the pre-fence days or now. Best not to generalise. Thieves can buy tickets too.

    Where I will agree with you wholeheartedly is that ticket agencies are thieves. I particularly loathe that they will charge a booking fee PER TICKET on an internet transaction that they will send out in a single envelope.


  4. .. the festival is noticeably less crowded since they put the fence up though. In 2002 - the first fence year - it was positively empty-looking and they've been raising the numbers of tickets sold ever since. It's up again for this year, I think.

  5. In the pre-fence days I had no end of things nicked, and several stitches. Spending the first night being sewn up can really put a damper on things. In the post-fence days, nothing at all. Now I've no proof that any of the ne'erdowells didn't have tickets. But it does seem an unlikely coincidence.

    However, this ticketing scheme has potentially disastrous fuckup written all over it. My predictions
    1. Milletts will run out of forms.
    2. The Forms Website will crash unpredictably.
    3. Several people will get forms, send them off, but not receive their codes back in time to buy tickets.

  6. I want to know the bill first...

  7. you *never* know the bill at Glastonbury before you buy the tickets!

    I really don't care - it'll be brilliant anyway, even if I don't see a single band.


  8. we used to know the bill, not anymore now the tickets sell out in 0.2 seconds.

  9. eee, I remember when you just bought tickets for t'gig at t'shop.
    By 'eck, the modern world!

  10. You may find this interesting - Queensland has recently passed laws to make it illegal to both sell and buy tickets sold at more than 10 per cent of their original price. You can see the media statement about it at

    The legislation itself is at if you're REALLY interested (it's the new Part 4A). :)