Posted in industry | music on March 16, 2009

NIN @ the 2009 Virgin Fest (more by Bao Nguyen)
trent reznor

A letter from Trent below...

NIN @ Lollapalooza 2008 (more by Bao Nguyen)
NIN

As we approach on-sale dates for the upcoming tour, I've noticed lots of you are curious / concerned / outraged at the plethora of tickets that somehow appear on all these reseller sites at inflated prices - even before the pre-sale dates. I'll do my best to explain the situation as I see it, as well as clarify my organization's stance in the matter.

NIN decides to tour this summer. We arrive at the conclusion outdoor amphitheaters are the right venue for this outing, for a variety of reasons we've throughly considered*. In the past, NIN would sell the shows in each market to local promoters, who then "buy" the show from us to sell to you. Live Nation happens to own all the amphitheaters and bought most of the local promoters - so if you want to play those venues, you're being promoted by Live Nation. Live Nation has had an exclusive deal with TicketMaster that has just expired, so Live Nation launched their own ticketing service. Most of the dates on this tour are through Live Nation, some are through TicketMaster - this is determined by the promoter (Live Nation), not us.
Now we get into the issue of secondary markets for tickets, which is the hot issue here. The ticketing marketplace for rock concerts shows a real lack of sophistication, meaning this: the true market value of some tickets for some concerts is much higher than what the act wants to be perceived as charging. For example, there are some people who would be willing to pay $1,000 and up to be in the best seats for various shows, but MOST acts in the rock / pop world don't want to come off as greedy pricks asking that much, even though the market says its value is that high. The acts know this, the venue knows this, the promoters know this, the ticketing company knows this and the scalpers really know this. So...

The venue, the promoter, the ticketing agency and often the artist camp (artist, management and agent) take tickets from the pool of available seats and feed them directly to the re-seller (which from this point on will be referred to by their true name: SCALPER). I am not saying every one of the above entities all do this, nor am I saying they do it for all shows but this is a very common practice that happens more often than not. There is money to be made and they feel they should participate in it. There are a number of scams they employ to pull this off which is beyond the scope of this note.

StubHub.com is an example of a re-seller / scalper. So is TicketsNow.com.

Here's the rub: TicketMaster has essentially been a monopoly for many years - certainly up until Live Nation's exclusive deal ran out. They could have (and can right now) stop the secondary market dead in its tracks by doing the following: limit the amount of sales per customer, print names on the tickets and require ID / ticket matches at the venue. We know this works because we do it for our pre-sales. Why don't THEY do it? It's obvious - they make a lot of money fueling the secondary market. TicketMaster even bought a re-seller site and often bounces you over to that site to buy tickets (TicketsNow.com)!

NIN gets 10% of the available seats for our own pre-sale. We won a tough (and I mean TOUGH) battle to get the best seats. We require you to sign up at our site (for free) to get tickets. We limit the amount you can buy, we print your name on the tickets and we have our own person let you in a separate entrance where we check your ID to match the ticket. We charge you a surcharge that has been less than TicketMaster's or Live Nation's in all cases so far to pay for the costs of doing this - it's not a profit center for us. We have essentially stopped scalping by doing these things - because we want true fans to be able to get great seats and not get ripped off by these parasites.

I assure you nobody in the NIN camp supplies or supports the practice of supplying tickets to these re-sellers because it's not something we morally feel is the right thing to do. We are leaving money on the table here but it's not always about money.
Being completely honest, it IS something I've had to consider. If people are willing to pay a lot of money to sit up front AND ARE GOING TO ANYWAY thanks to the rigged system, why let that money go into the hands of the scalpers? I'm the one busting my ass up there every night. The conclusion really came down to it not feeling like the right thing to do - simple as that.

My guess as to what will eventually happen if / when Live Nation and TicketMaster merges is that they'll move to an auction or market-based pricing scheme - which will simply mean it will cost a lot more to get a good seat for a hot show. They will simply BECOME the scalper, eliminating them from the mix.

Nothing's going to change until the ticketing entity gets serious about stopping the problem - which of course they don't see as a problem. The ultimate way to hurt scalpers is to not support them. Leave them holding the merchandise. If this subject interests you, check out the following links. Don't buy from scalpers, and be suspect of artists singing the praises of the Live Nation / TicketMaster merger. What's in it for them?

* I fully realize by playing those venues we are getting into bed with all these guys. I've learned to choose my fights and at this point in time it would be logistically too difficult to attempt to circumvent the venues / promoter / ticketing infrastructure already in place for this type of tour. For those of you about to snipe "it's your fault for playing there, etc... " - I know it is.
- [Trent Reznor]

Billy Corgan, Bono and others have made comments on the topic as well.

Tickets for PNC Bank Arts Center (June 6) and Jones Beach (June 7) go on sale Friday March 20th at noon. All NIN & Jane's Addiction tour dates HERE.

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Comments (49)

Who gives a shit

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 8:35 AM

What he talk about? My brain is too small...

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 8:57 AM

so if you purchase a ticket say for a gift, then the ticket has a name printed on it, how do you give it to somebody else? sorry trent, this just won't work out in the long run.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 9:13 AM

Trent seems like the coolest guy from the 90's alterna-bands.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 9:19 AM

you obviously buy the ticket with the name of the person you are giving it to duhrrrrr

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 9:22 AM

On Tom Waits' last 2 tours, he made all tickets will call and you had to show your ID/credit card at the door to get your tickets. This cut down on 95% of the ticket scalping. The only way you could resell a ticket was if you walked in with the person you scalped your ticket to. Not so easy in the age of eBay auctions. I was able to see 2 shows on the Orphans tour and 3 shows on the Glitter and Doom tour with excellent seats for each of them--all because he cut out the scalpers.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 9:36 AM

printed names on tickets. good idea in theory.

but how will the creepy guy who buys a pair of tickets to a sold-out show and offers a free ticket to any willing anonymous girl on craigslist still get laid?

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 9:41 AM

Marry me Trent.

Posted by Anys | March 16, 2009 9:43 AM

Two issues I kind of have with the whole print people's names and show id at the door thing:

1. Things come up. A lot of tours are announced weeks or even months before a band comes to your town. Last year, Radiohead put tickets onsale for their August tour back in April. Who knows what can happen in between then. So you are stuck with a ticket that you bought months ago and if you have a great seat that nobody can use.

2. Funny to think this but what if you don't have a credit card. I was going to see shows when i was 13 years old and often i would just go to an outlet with cash in my hand. It's crazy to think that but i am sure there are a decent amount of people who buy tickets that way.

You know who has a really good deal with tickets, LPR's ticketing system. If you buy a ticket online, you can purchase ticket insurance for like 2 or 3 bucks. Therefore if you can't make it, all you lose is your insurance and maybe the handling fees. I think that is one of the best systems going right now.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 9:48 AM

The first few commenters are obviously clueless. maybe you should pay attention to what's happening in the concert world and you'd understand. Trent really does seem like the coolest guy from those 90s bands. I'm happy he's still successful and making relevant music (though he may have peaked with Broken)

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 9:57 AM

i'd kill to see Tom Waits. why won't the man come north?

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 10:04 AM

It's his fault for playing there.

Posted by Sacred Absolute Hipster Cow | March 16, 2009 10:16 AM

sounds to me like 75 percent of people above are scalpers or scalper apologists.

And ticket insurance is a terrible thing because it enables scalpers to minimize their risk, therefore encourages them to buy more tickets.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 10:23 AM

printing names on the tickets would definitely do a lot more good than harm. some people might be left with tix but at the end of the day more people would benefit. i remember trying to get neon bible arcade fire tour tix for the dc show (4000 person venue). i was online exactly at the right time and refreshing and what not and could not even get shitty seats. like it sold out instantly. the next day on their fansite someone was saying how they calculated there were already over 1000 tickets for sale for this show on secondary sites.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 10:28 AM

trent reznor > billy corgan

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 11:01 AM

bottom pic "NIN @ Lollapalooza 2008" was shot by Zach Dilgard, not Bao.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 11:05 AM

10:28 - same thing is happening with Bowery Ballroom shows, all these shows are selling out yet if you look at secondary market you got the average of a 100 to 120 tickets per show listed on scalping sites, that's about a quarter of the capacity.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 11:12 AM

yeah i was wondering why that picture looked so shitty if bao shot it

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 11:14 AM

i'm not a NIN fan but i respect Trent for taking this on...it's definitely bullshit what the secondary ticket market does, and it's enabled by TM/LN...

i'm just glad i don't go to too many shows w/ a larger than ~2500 ppl capacity.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 11:18 AM

yeah I respect Trent a lot as well. Thing to keep in mind is how much money is changing hands under the table, so to speak. If the govt took a close look Im sure there'd be a lot of people sweating, what with unreported income...

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 11:30 AM

Printing names on tickets is an excellent idea and any approval of a Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger by the government should require transparency on how tickets are sold and who is making the money.

Posted by anonymous | March 16, 2009 12:25 PM

Everyone needs to drop their sense of entitlement. Just because you REALLY like the band it does not entitle you to premium seats, or seats at all. The bands decide what venues they play and how many shows they do.

When the Raconteours did 3 shows at Terminal they met their demand. Would you prefer a show to be sold out 100% and there be zero way for you to get tickets? I'd much rather have the option.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 12:57 PM

'drop their sense of entitlement'?

i think the real issue here is that if the prime seats are truly not available for the MSRP, just say so...don't lead people on w/ the notion that they can be among the first to get in when tickets go on sale, and then find that their seats are 25 rows away...

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 2:12 PM

12:57: So it's entitlement versus opportunism? Obviously you've chosen a side.

The crux of this is that some people, shut-out fans and undervalued performers, think that this is unfair because a third party that contributes nothing to the concert has stepped in to profit on the speculative value of these tickets. Can you explain to me why a middleman is entitled to profit off of a concert? Because personally, I would have to side with the fans and the performers.

Posted by Aaron | March 16, 2009 2:17 PM

^ Read Reznor's letter again (or talk to people who work in the concert industry). This isn't just "middlemen" making money off scalping - often bands/band management themselves are funneling tickets to brokers and broker sites as a way of making more money off tickets while pretending to keep prices low.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 2:32 PM

i heard todd p is merging with livenation.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 3:11 PM

The NIN/JA presale has been moved back (from 4pm) to 5pm today.

Also, tickets are $105 each. No thanks.


Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 4:23 PM

I got 1st row in the 300 section at PNC for $65. Spendy, but it'll be worth it. Yay me.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 4:43 PM

Actually 4:23 know it all, the Janesaddiction.com presale went on at 4 as planned. Nin.com was pushed back to 5. A big thank you to BV for slipping on this info and not posting it and for you losers who did not think to check the JA presale. Allowed me to get 2 in the front row.

Oh and to 4:23, it is the original line up of Jane's Addiction, NIN and Tom Morello's new group for 105 dollars. In smaller places than shit houses like MSG where they usually play. And you are saying the price is too high?

You might be one of the biggest idiots making comments on this blog.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 4:46 PM

It would definitely be worth it if they were playing the "shithouse" MSG....

going out to bumblefuck NJ or LI.... borderline worth it. Since I just saw them in kinda-bumblefuck NJ last year, I think I'll pass. Maybe I'll pick up some lawn seats for PNC last minute...

Posted by wembley | March 16, 2009 5:02 PM

5th row Jones Beach. Bitches!

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 5:05 PM

wembley,
Why do you even bother going to live shows if location is more important to you than sound? And im not talking about a huge difference in distance. Dude, you can try to turn it any way you want but the fact is MSG has terrible sound. And yeah I saw NIN last year also. When was the last time you saw the original lineup of Jane's Addiction?

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 5:12 PM

Jones Beach sucks. I don't understand why people would opt for that if PNC were an option. It's about the same distance, and you have to drive to both. No beer at JB = no dice!
Glad fans got tix, though. Good on ya, Trent.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 5:13 PM

4:46 - Let me guess...you live in Williamsburg and are playing "grown up" with daddy's credit cards. That much hostility under the guise of happiness would be hard to explain otherwise. There's obviously some deep-seated issues & unresolved internal conflict going on over there.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 5:24 PM

5:24,
This is 4:46 and yeah no you are incorrect. Quite obviously you do not actually have a degree in psychology. Probably dropped out of high school as well. But good try idiot.

Oh and 5:13, Jones Beach is a beautiful sounding outdoor venue. As with wembley, why go to concerts if the main concern for you is being able to drink during the show and not sound? Try saving that money,you dope, for a good treatment program.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 5:49 PM

4:46, I have some Smashing Pumpkins tickets for sale if you're interested.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 6:16 PM

Man, 4:46, I was gonna leave you alone, but you really do sound like a fucking idiot. If you enjoy acoustics that vanish into the air and the swirl of wind muffling your listening experience, then you have chosen the right venue in Jones Beach. The gestapo cops and dry venue are just icing on the cake. Enjoy, ya douche!

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 6:17 PM

6:16pm-Smashing Pumpkins suck now so you can keep those tickets and you are an idiot for buying them in the first place

6:17pm-OOh you were gonna leave me alone and now you are attacking. Jeez i am really hurt now. Dude it is now even more evident you need to get yourself off the internet and into AA quick fast in a hurry. All this drinking is making what little of a brain you have mush. Acoustics vanishing in the air and swirl of wind muffling? AHAHAHAHAHAH. Let me guess dipshit, the venue of choice for you is Terminal 5 and MSG?

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 6:25 PM

5:13 -- Jones Beach is closer for people in Queens and Brooklyn, and on top of that, those people, plus Manhattanites, don't have to pay any tolls to get to Jones Beach (unlike PNC).

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 8:40 PM

Listen up: I actually appreciate the StubHub and TicketsNow services. I often need to entertain high-end clients and I can expense the cost of "scalped" tickets to my company. A few weeks ago, I bought 3rd row Kings of Leon at the Garden. Yes, they were very expensive but I was able to score them just two hours before the show. I work at AIG by the way.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 9:58 PM

lol

Posted by Anonymous | March 17, 2009 8:15 AM

Im not Webmley but I saw Janes Addiction original lineup I think it was 88 or 89 when they played MSG, and Im not going to this even if it was msg again.

as for Jones Beach I think you can take public transport there, train to a bus or something like that. I read about some people doing that last year.

Posted by Anonymous | March 17, 2009 8:53 AM

Hey Guys, lets all make love, not war. Listen to your heart, you know want peace and camaraderie.

I Saw Nine Inch Nails at Jones beach a few years ago, and it was a great time.

The live version of "Janes Says" has always been one of my favorite songs. Would be great seeing them.

Posted by Anonymous | March 17, 2009 9:04 AM

I am fucking pumped for this show! I dare you to listen to the first Jane's record and not be excited.

Next up: Broken!

Posted by Anonymous | March 17, 2009 9:38 AM

@ 5:12 - "When was the last time you saw the original lineup of Jane's Addiction?"

Back in 1991, when they were still relevant...and probably when you were still in the 2nd grade.

Posted by Anonymous | March 17, 2009 9:48 AM

@5:12.... I really don't care about seeing Janes Addiction... especially the parodies of themselves they have become.

And MSG is great for a "big" venue. I live in the city and it takes me 20 minutes to get there. No car. No hassle. I dig the way it looks inside and there's a lot of history in those walls.

The sound isn't spectacular... but really not bad for an arena. Would you say the sound is better at the IZOD center? I think not.

I've never been to PNC... but I hate Jones Beach. And it's really been my experience with amphitheaters that you go for the ambiance of seeing an outdoor show... not for great sound.

Posted by wembley | March 17, 2009 10:05 AM

yesterday I got row U in section 102 for only $65 each, really a steal if you ask me

Posted by Steve | March 17, 2009 4:40 PM

Playin a little catch up here.

"@ 5:12 - "When was the last time you saw the original lineup of Jane's Addiction?"

Back in 1991, when they were still relevant...and probably when you were still in the 2nd grade.

Posted by Anonymous | March 17, 2009 9:48 AM "

Another wrong guess but just for arguments sake I guess from what you are saying, they are not relevant anymore. I guess we can say the same thing about you, OLD MAN.


As for Wembley, funny a joke like yourself would call someone else a parody. Honestly you make some of the dumbest comments on here. And comparing MSG and IZOD is like comparing your comments to the usual moron anons; not much difference and all pretty fucking terrible. And a big pfft to your comment about how it looks inside and the history in the walls. Nice spinning of those wheels, dummy.

And that final comment about your experience of going to outdoor amphitheaters is about the same as all your other comments on this blog--RIDICULOUS.


Posted by Anonymous | March 18, 2009 2:39 AM

Islam is a religion of peace

Posted by منتديات | February 24, 2011 6:00 AM

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